Mike was upstairs on his computer (listening to music/doing god knows what.) which is why I was surprised when I heard the front door open and shut.
My first reaction was to think that Mike has slipped out to the car or garage to grab something.
But I knew in my gut that he was still upstairs. And the door had definitely open and shut.
Even the cat, who was sleeping on the kitchen chair next to me had perked her ears up and was looking in the direction of the front door.
The next minute was a really strange one. I looked quickly around the corner to see a strange middle aged man wearing sun glasses standing in the front hallway. He didn't seem startled by my appearance. Here's what my view of the front hall looks like when you are standing in the kitchen:
I scooped the cat up and was clutching her in my arms (priorities right?), when I yelled loudly upstairs
At which point the man looked at me, (having drawn attention to myself).
It was when he kept moving towards me that I panicked. It was his non-response to my having called for Mike and the fact that he kept coming into our house I think that set off alarm bells in my head.
First I thought "Maybe he's mentally handicapped and has lost his way." then I thought "We're totally being robbed right now."
I was standing next to the screen door in the kitchen so I was about to flee, cat in hands when I yelled at him,
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN HERE."
At which point he finally registers (seemingly) what's going on says, "OH, I'm sorry I'm in the wrong house." and then he turns quickly on his heel and leaves out the front door.
See where the stairs are in the picture above? That's how far he got into the house.
It had only been less then a minute from the point the front door opened and shut but I'm shaking like a leaf when Mike comes down the stairs... having no clue what just happened. (I'm still
holding clinging to the cat by the way.)
After I quickly explain that there was a strange man in the house who says he made a mistake, Mike runs out the front door (dukes up).
Mystery quickly solved: it's our two-door-down neighbor's brother. Honest mistake. He was probably mortified. Maybe it was the sun glasses, maybe someone in that household's name is Mike, I dunno why but for whatever reason it took him a good minute to put all the pieces together.
But such a weird, weird thing to have someone strange in your house. Even a few hours after it happened I had a case of the heebie jeebies. And it was totally an innocent intrusion. I think it's just primal instinct that when a stranger enters your territory your flight or fright instincts go into over-drive.
And now we've learned two things from this story:
1) The urban legend of the man who returns to his house in the suburbs late one night and end's up in another woman's bed? It probably did happen. (In this case honest mistake or moron, the jury's still out).
2) I will always always lock my doors from now on. This isn't the dirt road I grew up on, or the small town where my parents live. That's maybe a bit sad, but maybe also a good lesson to learn early on.