The noise of a barking dog woke me up in the middle of the night. I checked the time, it was 12:15am. Usually I will ignore the barking of dogs in the area. They never seem to go away. At every point in the night a certain dog will bark. Some times the sound may come from very far away. You can hear it faintly from a distance only because you’re having a sleepless night. The sound that woke me up that night wasn’t coming from yonder. It was close and very vociferous. It couldn’t have been from a dog who was barking at nothing or a shadow.
I woke up, pulled the curtains slightly, and looked outside. There was nothing there. Just an empty street and a neighbor’s dog barking and jumping around viciously as though it had seen an enemy. I said in my head, “Crazy old fool. How could you disturb the peace of the night for nothing. But come to think of it, how would Hayford decide to keep a dog in an area like this?”
My sleep was interrupted and found it very hard to sleep again. I laid on my back with my eyes fixed on the ceiling and thought of how a crazy dog could interrupt my beautiful sleep. For the rest of the night, I laid awake thinking about nothing. Just when I was dozing off, the dog began barking again. this was even more fierce than the first. It continued for about a minute or so. I grudgingly opened my eyes, pulled the curtain again, watched outside and there was nothing. Just an empty street and Hayford’s dog barking fiercely and jumping around. I checked the time and it was some minutes after 4am.
When I woke up in the morning, there was no sign of Hayford. I went to the office with this angry face looking for Hayford. I wanted to warn him to teach his dog how to keep quiet when humans are sleeping. I asked a colleague and he said, “Hayford is on an outstation project so he had traveled.”
Hayford is a colleague at work. Where we live is an estate for the workers in the company. Hayford’s flat is directly opposite to mine with only a street separating us. My bedroom window is directly opposite to his so when in the night I lift my curtains and put the light on, Hayford will see what is going on in my room from his room. We also worked from the same office. He had been married for over a year and live there with his wife. So the night when the dog was fiercely barking, his wife might have been disturbed too.
Two days later, it happened again. The dog was up and barking fiercely. I didn’t even bother to look outside. It’s a just crazy dog who takes delight in disturbing the neighborhood. I fell asleep again and later in the night, the dog started barking again. I pushed aside my curtain to see what was happening. I saw nothing except for the fact that the front light of Hayford’s house was off. I watched closely, thinking I might see someone lurking in the shadows. Again, nothing.
Some days later, Hayford came to the office. I told him, “Your dog, suddenly it has taken delight in disturbing my sleep. You better find a way of dealing with it or I will deal with it myself.” Of course, I was blowing hot air but he got the point. He said, “If it barked, then it saw a threat. Dogs don’t suddenly bark for nothing.”
For all the days Hayford was home, the dog never made a single noise to disrupt my sleep. It didn’t even occur to me that there was a dog who once made noise to disturb my sleep. And then Hayford traveled again to supervise another project. That same night, the dog barked at dawn to wake me from sleep.
I looked outside, again the front light was off. I started suspecting a foul play. The dog usually barked twice so I stayed awake waiting for the second one. It was exactly 4am when the dog started barking again. I pushed my curtains slightly and I saw a male figure dashing out from Hayford’s room. He didn’t use the main road separating the two buildings. He dashed into the shrouds next to Hayford’s wall. Then I saw a silhouette of a female figure going back into Hayford’s room.
The dots began to connect backward.
Someone, a man have been sneaking into Hayford’s house while he was away, and that female figure that went back inside was Hayford’s wife.
I stayed up for the rest of the night thinking about how and where it all went wrong. I started asking questions; “Who could that be? A new lover who doesn’t know she’s married? Could that person be someone living inside the estate? But why would a marriage less than two years suffer this kind of infidelity?”
When the mind perceives questions, the heart starts a journey to look for answers. Luckily, I didn’t have to travel to see an oracle to get answers. The answers were right behind my window. I only had to follow the dog’s cue and I shall find. Yeah, I was going to lose some sleep trying to see who that person was but that was ok. It was better than suffering sleepless nights thinking about who could that be.
So the following nights, I slept with one eye opened. I became a monitoring spirit hovering around for answers. Around 11pm the following night, the front light went off. I kept my guard on. My eyes were fixed on Hayford’s front door just like Christians have their eyes fixed on the old rugged cross. Minutes later the dog began barking. The male figure hurriedly rushed inside. I didn’t see him that well. Hours later, The dog barked again and he dashed into the shrouds. Again, I didn’t see who it was.
It continued every other night until Hayford returned.
I stopped trying. No matter how hard I tried, it became very hard for me to see who that was. I thought of informing Hayford but I was only a thirty-four year old who wasn’t married. I knew how hard it was to find a husband but I didn’t know how hard it was to keep a marriage without infidelity because I hadn’t been married before. I kept quiet and watched Hayford every day as he roamed around the office happily and innocently. Innocence is indeed bliss.
This went on for several months until one day I got tired of not knowing. The sad thing is, the dog stopped barking. Dogs don’t bark at a person forever. At some point, they grow used to seeing you around and somehow come to believe you’re no longer a danger to their owner. The person came in freely and went out freely without any resistance from the dog. But there was one more dog he hadn’t been able to tame and that dog was me.
One night when the male figure entered Hayford’s house, I got out of my house and started walking around the estate. Later that night, I saw Obed entering his room at exactly the time that intruder leaves Hayford’s house. I said it loudly in my head, “That’s him! There’s no iota of doubt.”
Obed works under Hayford in the engineering department. How could that be?
It became a rhythmic thing; Hayford’s front light would go off around 11pm, Obed would walk in and later walk out around 4am. And that happened every time Hayford was away.
One early morning, while Hayford was yet to report to work, I anonymously slipped a note under his computer keyboard detailing everything I had seen over the months. I ended it by saying, “You don’t have to believe me. You only have to find out for yourself.”
The whole day he was restless. He kept asking me and other colleagues if we saw someone dropping a note under his keyboard. He was clearly disturbed and didn’t know what to do. A week later, he traveled again. I smiled in my head when he told us he would be traveling to supervise one of his works. I knew what he was up to and couldn’t wait to witness the showdown.
That night when the front light went off, I did a sign of the cross but I asked myself, “What if he kills them?” That was when I started getting scared but there was nothing I could do. I pushed my curtains aside slightly to observe what was going to happen. Not long after the shadow dashed in. I sat on my bed waiting to see where Hayford was going to come from. Not too long afterward, I saw him tiptoeing towards his door.
I didn’t know what to expect but I trusted Hayford’s humility to come through. He opened the main door that leads to the hall and entered. Some few seconds later, I saw the bedroom light switched on. I could only see the movement of their shadows. Their voices were muffled but you could see the struggle and you could hear the screams and cries. You could hear the sound of beatings and clothes being torn apart. The wife’s crying voice was louder…Obed’s voice didn’t come out loud but it was clear he was in distress.
About thirty minutes later, I saw Obed running out of the room, almost naked with clothes in his hands. He didn’t use the shrouds, he ran through the main road so I could see him clearly under the night light.
Hayford didn’t come to work the next morning and Obed too didn’t come.
I put a call through to Hayford but he didn’t pick. When I came home from work that evening, I went to knock on his door and he came out to see me. He was alone so I went inside. You could see he had been crying. I told him, “I slipped the note under your keyboard. I’m the witness.” He broke down and started crying out loud; “Mercy, why didn’t you tell me all this while? How could you hide something of this nature from me all this while? My wife is three months pregnant. Who is responsible, me, or Obed?”
I tried to calm him down. Nothing I said made sense to him. He kept crying. He kept asking why. I told him to speak to someone before it was too late. That someone he spoke to was our human resources manager. weeks later, Obed’s appointment was terminated and Hayford was given some weeks off to sort out his family issues.
I haven’t seen the wife around since that night. Maybe there would be divorce but from the way I see it if the paternity test of the baby proves Hayford as the father, maybe he would forgive the wife and live with her again. Anything is possible in love and in war. I’m only hoping for the healing of hearts and total forgiveness deep down from the hearts involved.