The hole in my front door was not there when I moved in here two years ago. It was my idea. I got tired and so I asked for it. I got tired of wondering who was at the other side of the door whenever I heard a knock. Just that, really. So one morning, few weeks ago, I went over to the carpenter’s workshop across the street and asked for it. But I couldn’t have imagined the things it had in store for me.
I discovered the first, second use for the hole in my front door one evening, about a month after the carpenter planted it there and filled it with lens and dressed it with a knob with which visitors could knock. It was late that day and I was returning from work, tired. I had seen my neighbour, Roseline, standing at the back door of her flat in the main building, directly facing mine with only the yard separating us. I had dropped my things and undressed even, before I began to wonder what she was doing standing alone at the back of her flat. The only way I could find out without drawing any attention was through the hole in my front door. And so I tip-toed to my door as though someone could see me and then peeped. I looked away abruptly from the sheer shock of what I had seen. Was that Rose? With the landlord’s son? Were they really kissing and smooching, right there in the open? Didn’t they know I could see them?
Then it struck me; they didn’t. In fact, they couldn’t have imagined that the guy in the boys quarters would be getting such high definition view of them. After all, they were at the back of the building and no one could possibly see them. But I could see, and clearly too.
It is true that people hardly came to the back of the building for any reason. The only person who used the lines in the yard to dry her clothes was Rose herself, and the only other person who could possibly come out of his apartment to see them was me, and I had only just returned.
I peeped again. This time, I didn’t look away. They were locked in this passionate embrace for God knows how long. My eyes fell on her buttocks which the landlord’s son was holding all so aggressively, as though he didn’t know when next the opportunity would present itself. But why were they doing this right there, instead of simply moving into her flat? After all, we all knew that Rose’s elder sister never came home until we were all asleep because she worked at a bank.
And so from that day, I began to see a lot of things through the hole in my front door. No. The right way to say it would be that I began to look out for things through the hole in my front door. What I saw mostly, was Rose, through her kitchen window, washing dishes, scantily clad in the privacy of her flat, or out in the yard, bending to pick up clothes from her bucket to spread on the lines right in front of the BQ. Needless to say what it was I saw each time. I began to look forward to it.
Sometimes I would see other things. One time I saw Mr Richard, the neighbour who lives in the second flat upstairs in the main building and drives a Toyota Corolla, smoking. It was evening and he was pacing the yard and puffing into the air. Just like Rose and the landlord’s son, he must have also assumed nobody could see him, since it was late and he was at the back of the building. Or maybe he didn’t really care if anyone saw him or not. Seeing Mr. Richard smoke should not have been a big deal, except that he is one of those people who don’t joke with church and Jesus and anything like that. So that was the real shock.
But it was Rose I looked forward to seeing. And I never saw her with the landlord’s son again. An eerie desire began to grow from the seed of that first day. I had watered this desire so many times with view after view of her and it had begun to yield fruit. I could almost imagine her naked at times. I had done so a few times even – that I was the one standing in front of her back door with her, kissing her passionately and holding on to her buttocks like it was a winning lottery ticket.
One day, I heard a knock on my door. Initially, I hesitated, because I wasn’t really expecting anyone. I waited a bit to hear another knock before I went to the door and peeped through the hole. And there she was. Rose, standing right in front of my door.
I had to be dreaming.
Not that we had never been up close before or even had random chatter mostly during environmental sanitation and stuff. In fact, only a few days before then, I had gone to her flat to inform her that it was about to rain and she needed to come remove her clothes from the line. But this had never happened before – knocking my door for whatever reason.
“Hi,” I managed to say after opening the door.
“You are the last person I expected to see in front of my door this…”
“Why? Aren’t we neighbours?”
“Wanna come in?”
“No, not really. I was just wondering about something.”
“Oh, ” I shut the door behind me and leaned on the wall outside.
“Yeah. Some days ago, I came out to spread some clothes, right? You remember that day? Can’t remember if it was Tuesday or…”
“I think I remember.”
“It rained, I need you to remember.”
“Oh, that was Wednesday.”
“Cool. I was just wondering, right? I came out to spread my clothes and I didn’t see you anywhere. Then almost immediately after, it began to rain and you came to call me to take the clothes.” She paused.
My heart began to beat; I knew where this was leading so I began to prepare my answer.
She continued. “How did you know I came out to spread my clothes?”
I was quiet for a while as the answer was not quite formed yet. This was the least of the possible reasons I had thought of for Rose to be at my door. Was I about to be caught or something? Certainly not.
“Yeah, I came back just as you walked into your flat,” I lied.
“Oh really, because I remember hearing music coming from your apartment while I was spreading the clothes.”
“Yeah, I left it on. In fact, I just ran into the house, dropped what I went to buy and came to call you.”
“Okay then. Thanks so much again. I hope I didn’t embarrass you with my questions.”
I smiled. “Nah.” You almost did.
As she walked away and I shut the door, I watched her roll her buttocks back to her flat as if she knew I would still be watching her. She walked into her flat, went to her kitchen window and pulled off her blouse. Then she turned off the light.
I smiled like a child who had just been presented with an unusual toy. I was certain she had not bought my story at all. She knew.
The following day, I got the carpenter to remove the hole in my front door, because I was sure Rose was going to come back knocking my door and I would no longer need the hole in my front door.
‘Seun Salami’s books are available on Amazon and on the Bookvine website. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram