Every day I pass that yard those scrawny dogs rush out at me.
I’m not sure they remembered our first encounter, only that we had had one, and in their minds, that scene had to be replayed each time our paths crossed.
This was no doubt a game for them, one which they relished.
I had to pass these animals to visit my new girlfriend, Kay. She lived next door to the yard which housed those malnourished mongrels. They say that a man will climb any mountain to see the girl of his dreams, but this was beginning to prove more than I could handle.
Today, I came armed with a big stick in my right hand and a few choice stones in my back pocket. I had picked them up by the river that I once thought would be the only obstacle that stood between me and my sweet darling, Kay.
Every day, I had to formulate a new defensive strategy, because those dogs seem to have their attacks planned. They executed it with pin-point accuracy, so I had to come prepared. In addition, I came half an hour earlier to throw them off.
We lived deep in the hills of St Catherine. My house is in a place called Darling Spring, just over the river, and Kay lived in the district called Crawl, which was about two miles away, up the hill. A main road linked the two communities. This road was paved, but it added distance to my journey, so I would cut across the river, then use a narrow, rugged path that led directly up the hill through the bushes. This was no walk in the park, but it would cut my journey in half.
The trip was usually a relaxing one, that is, until I got near to Kay’s house. At this point, I would anticipate an attack. Somehow, it never quite came the way I expected. I had already lost a pair of pants to them and had come close to being bitten. I did not want to lose another one today.
My heart pounded a familiar rhythm. I felt a surge of adrenalin rush through my body. I thought the dogs would appear anytime now. There was no sound, except the pounding of my heart and the crackle of the leaves as I walked slowly under the big mango tree at the corner of the road. I turned around swiftly in response to a thump and a crackle behind me. I was just in time to see a mango roll to a stop. I was relieved, but I suspected it was not over.
The next three minutes felt like three hours. That was how long it took me to get out of the danger zone. Had my strategy worked? Did the half an hour early do the trick today? Surely, the dogs weren’t smart enough to figure that one out, I thought.
I was about to celebrate my victory when I saw two figures standing at the border of the two properties in the distance. They were close. I froze. There were no other houses in the immediate vicinity. The female figure looked like Kay, but who was the other? I had never seen the next-door neighbour, but I knew it was a male. That much I knew, because Kay mentioned it.
“Kay?” My voice creaked.
They separated quickly, then the man disappeared to the next-door property. Kay turned toward me and smiled, nervously.
“Junior, you’re early.”
I was now speechless.
“It’s not what it looks like,” She continued.
I did not know what I was feeling. The next few moments were excruciating. I managed to gain control of my legs and took two steps back, turned and ran in the opposite direction. I had forgotten about the dogs and if they attacked, I didn’t remember. The pain I felt was worse than a dog bite.
I never saw Kay again, but I still wonder about her relationship with her neighbour and those scrawny dogs. Were those dogs deliberately set there to warn them of my approach? I guess I’ll never know, but it still hurts.
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