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   b l a c k    i c e

--- H A R A M B E E   G R E Y -S U N

Tripping over the threshold, just through the door when I hear the first ring; canít turn back; already late for another engagement; have to let the machine record what it can.

Out to correct the arranger's error; I ordered red chrysanthemums, not yellow. During the ride, I'm almost blindsided by someone whose excuse to the law would surely be something about a baby on fire.

Errands unending, tearing into the time set aside to surprise Susan at her office. Lunch will have to wait; clock, punched to a later date. Hitting home, finally, I press play on the machine:

Pick up. I know you're there. I just passed and saw your car parked out in front.

Problem: dipping out too early...Ö or slipping in too late? I dial her back for no answer. Leaving again so soon, I drive to her apartment. Alternating knocks and rings gets nothing in response. So I throw up my hands and drive back, pondering just where Susan might really be. At a bar with the girls, for a midweek happy hour? Or, possibly checking who's picked what on the registry?

"She'll ring when she's ready," I decide as I close my garage door for the final time that night, I swear. Inside, I glance at the machine and see nothing flashing as I swing through the kitchen to grab a banana and into the family room to find, taped onto the television screen, a note, reading:

Selfish, donít forget to let that date at the altar slip from your mind. Yes, Iíve discovered what youíve been up to. Youíll find your dirty diamond on the mantelshelf, or maybe someplace underneath.

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