Kleinpiet doesn’t know whether he must feel guilty or proud. Sure, he did leave in a rush; but he thought she was sleeping soundly. Then again: if she worries about him that means she does care. It’s a comforting thought.
“I’m sorry. I really thought you were sleeping and didn’t want to disturb you…”
“That’s why you blew away half your ammunition to scare the living daylights out of me and poor Jock? That’s clever, Kleinpiet. Real clever.”
Some people react like that if they get a fright. The scare triggers an Angry Button somewhere in the brain and unleashes the pent-up emotions. It’s a healthy reaction to the scaree, but hugely uncomfortable for the scarer. Kleinpiet shuffles his feet and mumbles he’s sorry. He cuts such a pathetic figure that the Angry Button flips to ‘off’ and the Laughing Circuit activates.
“But I did appreciate Jock’s presense, I can tell you. He’s really a lovable dog – saw that I was scared and upset and simply kept me company. Sometimes that’s all a girl needs. That, and a good lock on the front door. This open-house situation doesn’t work for me.”
Ten minutes later Kleinpiet makes a piece of wood fit into the hooks he screwed into the door. “See: a real old-fashioned bolt. Now nobody can come in.”
Precilla isn’t impressed. “So how do you lock – or unlock – it from the outside? Say you’re going to town or something. This contraption only works from the inside; that’s not good enough.”
Kleinpiet sighs. That door hasn’t been locked since the house was built by his grandfather.
“The times have changed, Kleinpiet,” using a softer tone, she tries to make him understand. “In your grandfather’s time crime was rare. They still hanged rapists and murderers – and let’s not debate that one, either. Nowadays about 10% of criminals get caught, and only a fraction of them end up in jail. Dockets get lost, lawyers probe into the cracks of the fine detail of laws, and some laws are even so badly written, it’s a joke. Not so long ago they found a child molester guilty of abuse, but then the court suddenly realised that the law was well written – but there was no punishment stipulated. The message to the masses is clear: go ahead and plunder. Even if you get caught, the chances are that the prosecuting authority will slip up somewhere and you’ll go free.
“And then there were reports that the average investigator has to deal with between 90 and 150 murder dockets, in person! Now, how on earth can one man investigate 100 murder dockets at a time?
“No, Kleinpiet, farmers like you have to be more careful. Get proper security, please?” She’s pleading now. “A gun, an old dog and a radio isn’t going to help much if you get targeted. Farmers are an easy target; like in Zimbabwe people tend to view land-grabs and farm attacks differently to, say, an attack on the Libyan embassy. The world turns a blind eye.
Precilla’s plea is much more than a request to make the home safe. Bolting it from the inside is only part of the solution – of course. It’s got to be opened from the outside as well. Maybe it’s a subconscious wish, or maybe she’s just being practical – but she actually gave him the recipe for success for their relationship. Try to lock it in, isn’t the answer. Making it safe – and accessible – is. It’s a delicate balance few people manage to get right… Some people deserve the right to enter into the safe environment of the friendship (or love); while others have no right to violate that harmony.
Kleinpiet’s easiest task will be his front door. How to manage the rest, will be his biggest challenge. Times have changed: the threat to relationships is much bigger (and more intense) than when Grandpa Piet built that house. Then you got married and lived happily ever after. Nowadays you have to be able to lock the door…from both sides. On the inside the bolt is made from trust. The outer latch works with respect…