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now.” They passed through the decaying center of Bentonville and out the other side. As in so many small towns, time had stopped in the 1970s, the last era when there had been enough loose cash around to fi nd its way out of the cities. Back in the countryside, the bare oaks and dead grasses muted the perpetual green of the pines. Michael recognized the route from his father’s descriptions, and a felt a mixture of hope, dread, and longing rise through him. So he was not surprised when they pulled up in front of a decaying shingled house, alone at the side of the road. “You’re expected,” Harriman said. “Knock and go on in.” As he walked up the gravel path, Michael’s body felt like an uncomfortable suit of clothes. He hardly knew how to move it around. He knocked twice on the thick plank of the door and pushed it open. “Is that you?” a woman’s voice said. “Yes, Mother,” Michael said. “It’s me.” She was still beautiful. She looked ten years younger than her actual mid-sixties, her hair falling in curls past her
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