We made our way down the South Coast to Southbroom to spend a week in Rig and Sue’s cottage. It had been a long time since we had seen the ocean. We were going to drive straight back to Johannesburg from there.
We settled in and read the “Rules of the House.” It was fine until we got to the “night routine”. The security system had to be switched on (very complicated for Indians) and the security gate between the bedrooms and the living area had to be locked. Before that, we had to put glasses on curtains, on the windowsills. If a burglar put his hand in he would push the curtain and the glasses would shatter and wake us up. The whole thing freaked us out. We weren’t used to it and really didn’t sleep well.
We couldn’t wait to see the light of day. The days were relaxing. There was a lady to help us with cooking and cleaning. We felt so spoilt. Different friends came from Durban to spend time with us and that was special. Terry and Linda Fouche visited the day before we left. They came in the afternoon and stayed for dinner. Tony and I felt so uneasy that whole evening. We had a feeling someone was watching us from outside.
Terry and Linda left late and we did some last minute packing. Tony was going to pack the car so we could leave early the next day, but changed his mind. We quickly did the security routine and climbed into bed. The girls were in their own room, oblivious and dreaming sweet dreams. We lay there for quite a while feeling really spooked out. We prayed for protection and tried to sleep. A few minutes later we heard a sound like ice cracking. We had turned the fridge off to defrost it and agreed it was ice melting in the freezer. There was no way either of us was going to check.
When we were kids we were taught about burglars. “If you hear anything in the night, or see anyone in your room, pretend you’re sleeping and let them take whatever they want. Don’t move, don’t scream, and don’t try to take them on.” When we lived in Johannesburg we got used to the “Driving at Night” safety rules. “Don’t stop at red lights in an isolated area, keep your doors locked, don’t look into the face of your attackers, give them the keys and anything else you have and don’t try to take them on.” Those things were clear. Something deep inside, told me that if I was ever under attack, there was no way I would stick to those rules. Adrenalin makes one do strange things.
It was pitch dark and we lay there dead still, waiting for something horrible to happen. When it didn’t, we managed to get a few hours of fitful sleep. We couldn’t wait to see the sun.
It was really early when Tony unlocked the security gate and went to the living room to turn the alarm off. He looked out at the carport and our car was gone. Terry and Leonie’s car was gone. Lying just to the right, on the ground, was shattered glass from the car window. There were tyre marks down the driveway.
Tony came into the room as white as a sheet and with tears in his eyes. When he told me, I started crying. We didn’t know what to do. Southbroom wasn’t just down the road. It was down the coast. Our friend’s car had been stolen. One thing we were thankful for was that we hadn’t chosen to use their BMW. We weren’t sure how that would have been worse, but it made us feel just a little bit better.
We pulled ourselves together and called Terry. When he heard how upset Tony was, he laughed. It was as if that kind of thing happened to him every day. He was amazing. Wilf and Val came to pick us up to take us back to Durban. In the meantime we filled in police reports. The conclusion was that the car had been towed out. It was unbelievable to us that they had managed to steal a car with all the alarms, monkey grip and everything in place.
What a way to go to bed. What a way to wake up. A car had been stolen along with a box of Tony’s newly released “Colours” cassettes, a nice big tent we were going to take to Mussoorie with us and Tony’s favourite handmade shoes.
Fear had made it’s presence known, but we were safe. We did go bed and we did wake up. That was something to be very happy about.