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I waved good morning to Mr Darlow on my way past the cemetery. He didn’t reciprocate, of course.

Knowing that he’d been an avid reader, the next time I was passing I fetched him a novel. I went back a few days later to pick up the soggy wads of unread pages.

Before long I was visiting every day. I varied my offerings, but he showed no interest in smoking cigars, eating jam rolls, playing the flute, or kicking footballs.

When he finally passed away, I watched Mr Darlow hop gratefully into the grave, relieved to be back by her side.

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