It was two years ago that I had come to this apartment. I had liked my flat at the first sight itself. I preferred peace and quiet and the flat provided just that. I was exuberant. Excited to start my new career and new life in this new place, I instantly got settled in. Anticipating the first day at work, I decided to turn in early that night. I got all comfortable, tucked in my blankets. It was then that I heard that sound.
A bark. Followed by a series of barks. And yet another. I was infuriated. I slipped further into my covers in a vain attempt to cut off the sound. I failed. The barks went on. I crushed my head with the pillows. It was to no avail. The barking continued.
I marched to the window. I stood there. A lonely figure, white body, black patches, the dirty slender body clear even in the moonlit night, a mark of its street life. It was a street dog.
The barking stopped when it saw me. It stared at me. I stared at it. It barked. I groaned. Its mouth fell open, displaying its sharp canines, as if in a grin, challenging me, mocking me. The intense eyes locked in mine. It looked fierce. I cowered to my bed. The barking continued. I never got any sleep that night. Or the next night. Or the next. Or the next…
The barking continued night after night. Relentlessly. Few weeks passed. I took to my new surroundings as a fish takes to water. The dog continued its barking. I continued my life. The barking became a part of my life. I hated the barking. I hated the dog.
Months passed. It was yet another night. I tucked in my blankets, waiting for the usual barking to start. It never did! Exulted, I drifted into a peaceful sleep. Enjoying the temporary relief. The next night was the same. Quiet. No barks. I never heard the barks again. Soon, I fell into the pattern of the barkless nights. Only rarely, if ever, I remembered the barking dog.
One day I heard the apartment guards talking. About a dog. Run over by a car. With a jolt I realized, it was the same dog. It was…my dog. I felt a sudden pang of unknown emotion. What was it? Sadness? Grief? Some rational part of me decided to feel relieved.
I could not. Was this mixed emotions? I knew not.
Some part of me still wishes to hear that sound. That bark. To look at those fierce eyes, the mocking grin. But the bark would never return.
My sleep was never disturbed again.