She squinted involuntarily, wondering what the room would look like with fresh paint, new flooring.

I wonder—I hope I’m not being forward, but are you sure you want to sell? Now, I mean? It’ll be worth more if you hang on to it, but selling—well, that’s pretty final.


Anne Ross stepped from the rain drenched landing into the foyer of her parents’ old row house in South Philly. The entryway stood silent, its stale air encased by the terrazzo floor and plaster walls, the staircase ascending to the second floor. She had come to dispose of the place, sign it over to the new owners and be rid of it.

“Don’t worry, it will pay for itself one day,” her father said when she saw him for the last time.

He had been right about that at least. With both parents gone now, she needed to pay off the accumulated debt, though the real estate agent had a different idea.

“Why sell when you could rent,” he kept telling her.

“I’m not the landlord type,” she kept answering. “Can’t afford the headaches.”

She went into the living room to open the fro…

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