I’ve told this story before, but I’ll tell it again. I’ve had guns pointed at me multiple times. I’ve been in fights. I’ve done some weird shit that was dumb and dangerous. None of that made much of an impression on my psyche because I was fairly certain each time that I wasn’t going to die. The one thing that sticks with me is one sound: the jiggling of a locked doorknob as someone tried to open the door to the bedroom I was in. No one else was supposed to be in the apartment of my then-partner. But at around 3 in the morning, from the bed, I heard the screen door open and then some prying at the front door and then footsteps and then a pause and then the metal knob being turned. This was before cell phones, and the only landline in the joint was in the living room, so calling the cops was out of the question. I yelled, “Whoever you are, I’ve got a gun” as, yes, I held in my hand the pistol that my partner kept under her bed, ready to shoot anyone who came through the door. It didn’t come to that. They ran away and we discovered the only thing missing was the large knife that we had left on the counter in the mess we intended to clean in the morning. Whoever was there didn’t intend to rob. They could have grabbed the TV and a couple of items and had a decent haul. They were there to kill or rape. Ever since that day, I have never felt entirely safe wherever I’m staying. It really is more a feeling. I don’t really do that much differently, but I always double-check locks now since the fact that I happened to lock the door that night was potentially the difference between life and death. Or life and me shooting someone.