WHAT THE NEIGHBORS SAW

Mark Johnson
3 min readJul 12, 2023

The evening was slowly approaching on another day. This day happened to be Friday, and Myrtle consistently watered her plants on Friday evening in the yard of her suburb home with her husband, William. The two were a long-time elderly married couple with grandchildren who had their own children. Myrtle and William were retired, living out their lives in peace.

Yet the mundane retired life had its perks and nagging cons, one of which was its lack of excitement. Every day could seem like every other day when you got into a routine. Myrtle was a retired nurse who now took to being the nosy neighbor, always eyeing other neighbors in their driveways, wondering what they were up to.

Other than the plants she’d water were her neighbors directly beside her, and William perked her curiosity. Myrtle’s attention toward them was a bit more than the neighbors across the street or the other side of their home as they were also an elderly retired couple. Yet the intrigue went even more profound as these neighbors were new to the neighborhood and were an interracial couple with a black man and an Asian woman.

A slight breeze cooled the Friday evening as Myrtle watered her plants. She was still having reservations about her neighbors. They weren’t loud or messy; when they got mail for the Howards, Myrtle, and William Howard, they’d politely drop it by. Myrtle didn’t know what to think, and soon, with the desire growing to search out something, it won. As she finished watering the last of her plants out front, Myrtle took the sideway around her house to the backyard. Which was closest to the neighbor’s house, separated by a cedar fence. She walked, hearing some playful banter and giggling with a splashing of water.

Reaching her backyard and starting to water the plants there, she listened to the conversation next door. It grabbed her attention further as she tried to be respectful, but it was too late and tantalizing. What she was hearing sounded like words from one of her romance novels. She dropped her pitcher and walked inside to her husband William, who, at this time of the evening, was smoking his cigar and sipping something smooth and dark as he listened to his favorite records. Myrtle explained to him that the moment she had expected was currently happening. William begrudgingly went with her to look or listen. He didn’t know what, but Myrtle was quiet, so he was too and just listened.

The talk they could hear over the fence was a bit more romantic and, at that time, more explicit, which drew Myrtle up to the cedar wood fence peering through the gaps with her best eye in hopes of catching something, then she saw it. She watched the interracial neighbors having sex in their hot tub, splishing and splashing. Her sight grew more prominent as her heart raced. She said nothing to William, who was on his own cloud, till Myrtle compelled him to look at all the commotion.

--

--

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a University of Chico graduate, a lover of the creative arts, avid photographer, with an undying entrepreneurial spirit.