A giant watermelon appeared.
Now, the appearance of this icebox watermelon, out of nowhere, seemed of no particular importance. On the contrary, since Asha moved into Piney Shadow, a 19th century working-class neighborhood—tucked, naturally, in a piney shadow of the Atlanta skyline—she’d received a regular stream of welcoming gifts. And being in the South, each gift came with no short supply of welcoming dirt.
First, a cornbread & collard plate with a side of If you want the whole skreet to know your business, just tell it to Hattie Mae Hightower. If you want the whole world to know, tell her: It’s a secret.
A flowerpot filled with I’m a Christian and I love all God’s chillun’, but He ain’t say nothin’ ‘bout lovin’ da Hoodoo ones. Like Tony, but now he call hisself Babu.
A sweet potato pie topped with If you got a man, keep him away from Sweet Willie. Dey say his p*ssy is more potent than the ones we was born with.
Though Asha had barely been in her humble blue-shuttered home a month—towers of unpacked boxes still forming a small city in her living room—she’d already transferred her rituals from her previous residence into her new home. Asha could not begin a day without first consulting her horoscope, which she read each morning in the Atlanta Constitution delivered to her front porch.
What was initially odd about this particular gift—this fat, icebox watermelon—is that it, unlike its predecessors, had not arrived accompanied by a Neighborhood Welcome Committee Member: no tapping on the screendoor, no ringing of the doorbell.
The sun rose, the cicadas sang, and it simply appeared.
So, though she saw this watermelon, her first action of the new day was to read her horoscope:
You may feel like you are being tested in some way, dear Pisces. Your intuition about that is probably...