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I hadn’t seen him for twenty-eight years.

The patches of fescue that encircle occasional bare, black spots of soil wiggle in the light prairie wind. Within this swath a sidewalk with joints every pace guides me to the familiar stoop that was the pedestal and backdrop for games with the neighbor kids and occasional family pictures. Now the five lonely stairs leading to the front door are dusted with earth that was carried in the breeze from the many days since the stoop was last swept. Gray painted aluminum handrails ascend the stairs with spindles that are now to far apart to meet the residential code. On the landing, more dirt waits to be carried back through the wind, and the rails dead-end into the building’s clapboard walls with a half-hearted French flourish, held in place with two button-headed Phillipshead screws each. These frame a white creeking screen door that does it’s job obscuring a cobalt blue painted door with a muntined head-sized, head-height window with white trim.

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