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The idea of tossing this place out like an empty shoebox seemed a betrayal of Poppy and Aunt Ruth, whose breath inhabited the fading pink house even now that the contents had been sold, the porches swept, the leftover junk piled on the curb. There was nothing more to do here, but hang out a sign and let go. Yet the reality remained impossible to face. Standing in the drive, I expected that the front door would creak open, and Poppy would hobble out in his bow-legged shuffle. He’d smile, and wave, and tell me to come in for coffee. The last six months would be nothing but a bad dream, a nightmare from which we’d awaken all at once.