On my way home I pass by a donut shop. It is dark but I can see a few people inside. I am a little surprised that it is open even on Christmas. I want to stop and get a donut, but at that moment, my cell phone rings.
It is my niece: “You took my key, bring it back.”
“I didn’t mean to, but let me pull over and check my bag to see if I accidentally took it.”
I park the car, look in my purse and my pocket. There is no key. “Well, I didn’t take the key. Maybe you misplaced it. I will turn around and come back to help you look for it.”
I drive back to my niece’s apartment and she opens the door for me.
“Give me back my key, or I will call the police.”
“If you call the police, it will waste a lot of time and you will be late for your date. Let me help you find it. By the way, let me try the spare key I have to your room.”
“It will not work. I installed a deadbolt,” she says.
I ignore her and try the key. But like she said, it doesn’t work.
“Call your evil husband, he can probably help.”
“If you ask people for help, you need to be nice. If you yell, no one will come.”
“Then I will call the police and say he assaulted me sexually.” I am shocked, my niece’s illness is getting worse.
I decide to call my husband and ask if there is anything he can do if there is a deadbolt on the door. He says he doesn’t want to be involved.
At this moment, my niece finds the key. I watch her open the door, get her handbag and prepare to go out for the evening. I feel relieved and start walking towards the front and tell her I am going home.
“You must have just put the key back in.”
I feel frustrated. I think of going back in the house to talk some sense into her, but she has already closed the door from the inside and will not let me in. So I turn around and leave.
I call my husband and tell him I am on my way home. I tell him, “if my niece calls, do not pick up the phone. She found the key.”
**This is a true story about a mental health consumer and her aunt, a caregiver.**