Someone’s on the roof – Part 1… By Melissa Gardner

by Susannah Grant posted on 21 April 2015

I think we can all relate to this post of Melissa’s! But these incidences become a little more problematic when we’re in a different country and learning a new language.

This is one of those incidences that happens only when our spouses are travelling—know what I mean? The moment my husband leaves for business, the TV suddenly stops working or a shelf falls down or the electricity cuts out. But this one out-does them all for me.

It was Saturday October 14th 2014 in Madrid, my husband was in China for the next 7 days. My dog Chester and I were settling into bed at around 11:45 when Chester suddenly began barking and growling at the front door — this was not normal for him.

We live in a small building in El Viso, and we are the only apartment on the top floor. From our door, stairs go to the roof. It was 11:45 on a Saturday night, raining and chilly and there was no reason for anyone to go up there. I became nervous but thought to myself, it’s probably those two young girls who just moved in downstairs doing something stupid. And I let it go and went back to bed.

Then, at around 3:30am, suddenly Chester began barking at the front door again. This was weird. I tried to call him back to the bedroom, but he just stayed at the door barking. Worried, I tiptoed out to the front door and looked through the peephole. There was a strange man’s back to me, standing at the elevator outside our door. I jumped back and listened to the sound of tools or something heavy in his hands. It was pitch dark and raining outside at 3:30 in the morning and some stranger is in the hallway, coming from the roof. And I am in the atico apartment with a terrace one could leap to from the roof. Oh no.

My first thought was, should I call the police? But my Spanish just isn’t that good. No matter that I went to classes and intercambio, it just isn’t that good. So I knew that, on the phone, the police wouldn’t understand me and then they would say something and I wouldn’t understand them. A mess. Okay—I could set the alarm. The alarm is for just such a time as this, when my husband is away and I want to feel safe.

So I set the alarm and tiptoed back in to bed. I could hear movement on the roof. Then I thought I heard something on our terrace. So I crept out of the bedroom to check the terrace—and I set off the alarm.

The alarm company came on the dedicated speakerphone, speaking to me in English, thankfully. They asked if everything was ok. I told them someone was on our roof. The guy on the phone suddenly sounded nervous and suggested he could call the police. I agreed he could do that.

Now—waiting for the police. I texted my husband that the police were coming because someone was on the roof. He texted back: keep the door shut. Thanks hubby, good advice — what would I do without him?

4 am, someone rings my doorbell from the street. I look down out of the window to see two unfamiliar faces in dark, plain clothes, looking up at me. What’s going on, was one of them the guy in the hallway? Why are they ringing me?

Then I saw the squad cars pull up…

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of Melissa’s post.