The House of Rumor.

1. Lexi and Amy, Age 34

It starts with polite knocking. As always, the neighbors stay quiet. I lie perfectly still, listening. It goes on for an hour and forty-seven minutes, and by the end it’s pounding. I keep the bedroom clock six minutes fast, so in actual fact the sobbing begins at precisely 2:43 a.m.

I chew at a thumbnail. Since I quit smoking, all the chewing has made the surface of this one nail go wavy. I chew and chew, sometimes running my tongue over the wavy nail surface, until finally I get up and tiptoe to the door, pressing chest and ear against it. My twin sister cries on the other side. I can tell that she’s leaning against the door, facing the opposite wall. I hold my breath.