2020 FINALIST for the SIR WALTER RALEIGH AWARD for FICTION
Rowen crept into the hall and listened. With his forefinger, he pushed Eden’s door open. She lay on top of her covers with her mouth open and one pale leg hanging off her Pepto-Bismol bed.
They weren’t cousins. It was his mother’s skill to look someone straight in the eye and tell the most outrageous lies. Every summer their neighbor, Belinda, brought over a bushel of tomatoes, crawling with mealybugs and his mama would stand right there and sing their praises to the woman’s face.
But watching Eden, splayed out in her bed, it didn’t matter anymore whether she was kin or not. He couldn’t get the image out of his mind: Eden on the witness stand, the thrust of her chin before that sea of people. Eden would tell it like it was. Eden would tell someone if they had mealybugs in their tomatoes…