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The car’s engine rumbled to a stop.

“Stay put,” he said. “I'll come around and get you.” Paul’s Velcro tennis shoes barely made a sound on the asphalt as he walked around and opened her door. “Hop out,” he told her.

She grasped his skinny wrist and hoisted herself up, knocking her head only twice on the car’s door frame. A hint of regret made its way back into her thoughts. She wished she’d been able to pick out the house with him, but Paul had been so excited that he'd gone to Lincoln without her, found the place, and bought it. All she had done was wire him money from her account for the down payment.

The cloth around Shirley’s eyes slipped down slightly, revealing a cloudless blue sky. Perfect. It was a beautiful day to see her new beautiful home. Shuffling blindly up the front steps was no easy task. Stairs always reminded her of the weight she needed to lose. A door creaked opened and she tilted her head. Why would the door make a sound like that?

Paul led her inside, and at last she felt his fingers behind her head working lose the knot. He pulled the blindfold from her face, taking a few strands of her wiry red hair with it, and droped it on the floor. Instinctively Shirley reached down to pick it up.

“Oh!” she said, noticing the filthy wooden planks beneath her feet.

Paul chuckled. She stood up, mouth wide open.

“Amazing isn't it?” He left her side and walked toward a wall adorned with peeling, stained floral wallpaper. His arms were wide open as he turned around several times, like a wanna-be-ballerina.

Shirley wrapped her arms around her middle, and stood perfectly still. In every direction all she saw was dirt, grime, and dust.


“I was pretty lucky to find it,” said Paul, who continued to roam what appeared to be the living room. “The realtor said it'd only been on the market for a little while, and that if I didn't take it someone else would snatch it up.”

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