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A high-pitched beep signaled, the sound of Susie’s pager. “That’s my photographer Bob. He says there’s action on the street. In fact, I can hear it,” she said, excitement growing in her voice. “It’s some kind of protest. Oh look, and they’ve just started burning the American flag. What fun!”

“Susie! Be careful.”

“I am being very careful,” she answered in her best, pathetic French accent.

“Susie, I’m serious.”

“Don’t worry so much.”

Her pager sounded again. “Gotta run. Call me tomorrow.” “I love you.”

“I love you too,” she said, and she was gone, the line went silent, hollow and crackly with distance. Then it disconnected. I waited until it beeped loudly before I finally replaced the receiver. It seemed most of our life was conducted over telephone lines now, with Susie always calling from someplace far away. I had gotten used to reading all the tones and silences of her voice, in the way that I would have read her expressions if she was close and I could see her. She had learned to stay close, no matter how distant her travels.

[Excerpt Landslide, Page 44]

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