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Widlow goes out bald and alone on a muggy evening, green shorts on pale legs and socks under sandals, and when his racket swats the ball toward the green back wall of the empty court it is the saddest thing.

Down the street a couple stop eating and talking, their mouths full of unspoken regret. Dogs lie down and sigh; children pause in their pretending, struck by the dread of a summer soon gone.

Widlow isn’t crying. Crying would imply catharsis. He shuffles over to where the ball has stopped and leans down for it, and drops it the first time.