A woman had a passion for gardening, and despite living on the top floor of an apartment, she found plenty of opportunities to put her green fingers to work. She never imagined that gardening could be controversial, yet her plants would soon be causing one of the biggest dramas of her life.
The woman lived on the top floor of her building, and below her was a 50-year-old man named “J”. The flats both shared a garden, but it was currently overgrown, wild, and in a state of neglect.
The woman had a passion for gardening and desperately wanted to transform the garden into a beautiful space that both she and J could enjoy. She obtained permission from her landlord and J to take on the garden’s makeover.
Investing Time and Money
For weeks the woman dedicated time and invested £1,000 into making the garden splendid. She planted flowers, established a vegetable patch, and added a few small trees. The vegetables from her garden were plentiful, and she gladly shared them with J, who would occasionally show his appreciation by buying her a case of beer.
These neighborly relations began to extend beyond the garden. Both the woman and J started inviting each other and their friends over for barbecues and social gatherings. The atmosphere was relaxed, and they enjoyed each other’s company.
A Change in Relationship Dynamics
However, things began to change when the woman introduced her girlfriend, named “S”. J didn’t seem to click with S right from the start, yet the more serious the couple became, the more they saw of each other.
The woman couldn’t put her finger on why J didn’t seem to like S. “Initially, I put it down to jealousy, but neither of us really cared”, she stated. “We got even more serious, and we decided it was time to move in together.”
The Breaking Point
Things changed significantly now that S had moved in. One day, S was alone in the woman’s flat and went to pick some vegetables from the garden. “When J saw her picking from the veg, he accused her of stealing and disrespecting me and him as it was OUR (tenants only) garden”, the woman recounted.
A Disturbing Discovery
Things were getting progressively darker. The next day, S discovered a homophobic slur scratched into her car. The implication was clear: J was homophobic. There was no way of proving it was him, but the woman and her girlfriend believed it was clear.
Escalating the Move
The woman and her girlfriend decided to escalate their plans to rent their own new place together. The tensions with J had reached an intolerable point, and they both felt it was time to leave. One day, the woman transplanted her entire garden to S’s place while J was at work, keen to keep the fruits of her labor.
Consequences and Legal Action
Following this move, the woman’s phone exploded with angry messages from J and the landlord. They accused her of ruining the property and threatened to withhold her deposit and take legal action.
Was She in the Wrong?
The woman knew she was entitled to keep her garden, but the legal threats and aggression she received made her second guess herself. She posted her story on the internet, seeking a second opinion. Firstly, sympathy arrived. “I’m glad you moved out of that space in which you felt uncomfortable and unsafe”, comforted one person. “Best wishes moving forward.”
The woman was relieved to find dozens of comments just like this. However, she also began to receive legal support: “As long as you returned the garden to its previous state, you’ve done nothing wrong”, someone stated.
Inform the Landlord About J
With her moral and legal compass cleared, the woman felt a lot better about the situation. However, there was one last thing to take care of, which was suggested by another reader: “Make sure the landlord knows that you moved because someone (i.e. J) keyed your GF’s car with a homophobic message”.
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