*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
When I was growing up my family was close to our next-door neighbors, the Mercers. The Mercers were the bane of my neighborhood’s existence after they painted their house black to show off their lawn flamingos, but the Mercers were great to us and we loved their company. We would often have picnics with them in the summer, exchange gifts on holidays and birthdays, and of course, I got free use of their pool any time I wanted.
I was rather devastated when the Mercers decided to sell their house and move closer to their kids out of state. Most of the neighbors, on the other hand, were thrilled when they moved out and the new neighbors came in, promptly repainting the house a more reasonable sage green.
No more lawn flamingos, no more wind chimes, and no more use of the pool that I had loved spending so much time in during the summer.
The new neighbors were not friendly. They were a young, newlywed couple with no children. The word around the neighborhood was that the husband worked from home doing something for the banking industry and the wife didn’t work at all, and the women on the street automatically didn’t like her for that.
Over time though, we got to know the new neighbors, the Roys. When my dad had a knee injury, and Adam Roy, the neighbor, saw him struggling to get out of his car after work one day, he came over to chat. Adam offered to mow the lawn for my dad and take care of any other yard work necessary while he recovered. A while later, my mom found herself sitting next to a stranger in her book club and through a nice chat realized that it was her neighbor, Haley Roy. They became friends and started spending time together, and I got use of the pool back.
Unfortunately, the neighbors on the other side of the Roys were not as friendly, and the woman who lived there, Mrs. Logan, showed up at one of the Home Owner’s Association meetings and tried to humiliate Mr. Roy.
When it was her turn to speak, Mrs. Logan stood up and started accusing Adam of peeping into her windows at night.
“He swims in his pool at night, and you know, when my lights are on at night, he can see right into my bedroom from outside! He’s a peeping tom!” She accused him.
Adam was not there to defend himself, but downright strangers came to his defense against Mrs. Logan’s wild accusations.
“You could consider getting some blinds,” one man said.
“Why don’t you shut your curtains?”
“You can’t tell people when they can or can’t exercise on their own property!”
In the end, Mrs. Logan was shot down by the HOA to make Adam stop swimming at night, just as the other neighbors had not been able to stop the Mercers from painting their house black.
What do you think of Mrs. Logan’s accusation?