It’s simple really.
We had only been dating for about 8 months and it was my girfriend’s birthday. When you’re first dating, birthdays become a way not only to celebrate the person you are with, but also a way for the boyfriend to showcase his spontaneity, thoughtfulness, and apparently, his disregard for laws about breaking and entering.
So Penny, was away with her family back in Ohio and would be returning the evening of her birthday. I can’t remember when it hit me, but some time over that weekend, I had the perfect idea. I would get in to their house, decorate it with balloons and streamers and presents. I would then leave, and wait for the phone call to listen to her scream with joy. Boys (at any age) will do some of stupidest things imaginable for the love of a girl. My stupidity was telling me to break in to a house and throw a party.
I arrived at her house with my box of supplies and presents. It was midday….no need to hide my love under the cover of darkness like a common criminal.
Now Penny’s parents used to leave their front door unlocked all the time. This stems from growing up in a rural (and honest) part of Ohio. I fully expected to turn the knob and walk right in….it was locked….I started to sweat. My mind racing, I decided to walk around the house (that sat in the middle of a subdivision) and try all of the windows. I moved to the back of the house, and lifted on Penny’s bedroom window….it slid open. (Editor’s note: That window being unlocked had nothing to do with Penny and I….just so we’re clear)
Now the window was over my head and since I hadn’t planned on needing a ladder, and nothing was going to stand in the way of high school love, I lifted the window as much as I could and dropped my supplies inside. I then jumped up, grabbed hold of the window sill, and struggled with my little arms to lift myself inside. I can only imagine what this looked like to the neighbor who might step into her backyard to see my legs flailing out the window. I dropped into Penny’s room, grabbed my box, and started walking toward the living room to begin the birthday version of shock and awe.
That’s when I heard it.
Voices. Two people talking in another room. It sounded like a muffled argument. I dropped to the floor and listened. There was definitely someone in the house. I crawled on my stomach into the living room. Why would there be someone here? Were they being robbed? Breaking into a house out of greed? I broke into this house out of love for a woman! I crawled a little closer….it was quiet. Then I heard voices again coming from her Parent’s bedroom. My heart was pounding, I felt like Bruce Willis in every Die Hard movie I had ever seen.
Inching closer to the door, I could feel the adrenaline coursing through my puny body. The voices went quiet again….I strained to hear what was going on. That’s when I heard, “Are you tired of hard-water stains, or toilet bowls that won’t come clean no matter how hard you scrub?” Why was this group of thugs talking about CLR??
I cracked the door to find the TV was left on in her parent’s bedroom. After stopping in the bathroom to throw up, I got to work hanging streamers and balloons and setting out Penny’s presents.
The reason I broke into your house that day, 18 years ago, is because I tried so hard to do on that day what I now realize cannot be done in one day or in a single party….to express all that you mean or how much I love you. There is no card, there aren’t enough streamers, and I could never find the perfect gift that expresses the gratitude I feel for you.
That is why I am thankful God has given me a lifetime to begin to express my appreciation for the gift that you are to me and to our children.
And if any boy tries to break in to our house out of “love for a girl” I will toss his butt in jail.