She used to be Constance Kimber Addelade, who used to be my cousin.
Constance was her great-grandmother’s name. Addelade, she inherited
from her father. Kimber came from God only knows, which is where she
went to become Some Other Woman.
“Where are you going?” I remember asking her.
Constance wore black clothes over red clothes that day. She appeared
“God only knows,” she said. “Why don’t you come with me?”
That scared me because I knew she meant it. I followed her outside
and watched her walk up the road and over the hill. For nearly an
hour I sat there on the dry and dusty shoulder, waiting for her to
return. When she did, her black clothes were gone and she had red
clothes over yellow clothes. She also had an odd smile on her face.
“Cousin,” I said.
“I never was,” she told me.
Then she walked past me, through the gate, across the yard and into the house.
At dinner, I told Mama that Constance wasn’t Constance anymore.
“Aren’t you?” Mama asked her.
“I clearly am not,” she said.
Mama studied her for a moment and said, “No, I guess she’s not.”
“I don’t think so, either,” Papa said.
And that was that.
On days that I believe it, I miss my Constance dearly; at other times,
however, when I think they might be lying, I wonder why and hate them
all and wish I had gone over the hill with her and never come back, as
myself or anyone else.