“We have to be careful.” Lisa asked that her last name be omitted. Lisa asked that her exact location be withheld. She asked that the ordeal be stricken from the record, from her memoRY, itself still haunted by the image of a stranger who had snuck up behind her, unannounced. “We have to be careful,” Lisa said. “The garage door was open, maybe, 30 seconds.”
Thirty seconds between the moment that her car pulled into the garage, recently cleaned and organized, the boxes stacked high, freshly labeled and color coded. Thirty seconds between the moment that she turned the key in the ignition, pulled it out, opened the door. She was two feet from the door that lead to her home, the garage door opener button was within reach. The garage door was open for thirty seconds. Long enough for an intruder to enter her garage and stand silently, waiting, hoping she would go inside without noticing his presence, leaving him alone with all of her belongings.
But Lisa turned her head. She had sensed the strange man before she saw him. It’s probably nothing, she was reassuring herself as she turned, the thought passing through her mind even as her eyes took in his looming frame, his unmoving silhouette. “I turn around and there is a 6-foot, 2-inch guy standing there and it scared me,” she later told police. In the moment, she froze, her posture mirroring his. They both stood still as statues, staring at each other, until the man turned and ran away. Lisa watched him as he jogged to the end of her driveway without particular urgency, as casually as a neighbor who had just stopped by. At the end of her driveway, he disappeared into the darkness. Lisa shook herself. She closed the garage door.