I awake in the night to the sound of the office door opening. I have been working in there, possibly painting and have left a ladder leaned up against the wall next to the door. I know that the door could not have opened from the force of the gentle wind that is blowing outside, so it must have been moved by a person. I am frightened. I realize that I have left the overhead light on above my bed on the lowest setting so there is an eery green light in the room coming from the energy efficient bulb. I call out from my bed, Hello? No one answers. I have left my phone on the bed in the place where my husband usually sleeps because he is out of town. I reach for the phone and frantically dial 911, missing the buttons several times before I get the number right. While it is still ringing. I get up and start charging toward the office yelling, I will fuck you up if I catch you, just in case there is a person there. As I get to the hallway two young men are running out of the office into the living room and out the front door. A man answers my call as I chase the teenagers out into the yard. I am running after them and describing their clothing to the man. Maroon sweatshirt, jeans, dark brown hair, 5'10, male, teenager. Green shirt, jeans, brown hair, 6', male, teenager. I get to the corner of the house near the garden and catch the one in the dark red sweatshirt pissing on my tomatoes. He quickly gathers himself and runs to catch up with his accomplice. They jump into a white late model sedan and drive off. I shout to them that they had better not come back because I keep a weapon in my bed stand. I go back inside and take the largest knife out of the woodblock and bring it back to bed with me.
I wake up in my room. It is daylight out now. I lift the curtain to look out the window. There is some sort of event happening for which more parking is needed. There is a tall woman with short blonde hair and a safety vest on selling parking spaces in our front yard the way they do in college towns on football game days at houses near the stadium. Cars are driving over the rain garden we put in last spring and the tires are mangling its form. I signal to the woman and she nods knowingly and stops selling parking spaces. When I turn around my parents are in my room along with a large group of strangers, though they do not look like my parents. My mother is now a stout woman with light frizzy hair, not the tall slender dark-haired beauty I know. I can't quite make out the form of my father. They have been divorced for nearly 15 years but they are here together now. The bed is gone to make room for all of the people. I begin to tell them the story of the intruders and when I get to the part where I say, Hello? My mother cackles with laughter. She asks what good I thought would come of greeting them politely. I try to explain that I was just calling out to see if anyone was there at all and that I wake up in the night nearly every night thinking that I hear someone in the house and that it bothers my husband when I do this because he wakes up too and then has trouble returning to sleep and though he never says any of this to me I know it is true. But everyone is laughing still at the absurdity of my greeting so they miss my explanation.