The Reunion

 

Coffee in the morningMy husband Gary and I were sitting at the kitchen counter, drinking coffee, when he brought up the same conversation about my college reunion that I thought we had finished discussing long ago.  “You just don’t want to go to the reunion, he said “because your best friend hurt your feelings.”  “Gary, I replied slowly, she didn’t just hurt my feelings, she  decimated them, there’s a big difference, don’t you think?”

“What I think, he said, is that you’re being too sensitive, after all, you were best friends for four years.”

I had never wanted to go to any type of college reunion, what was the point to seeing people twenty years older, heavier, thinner with more or less hair? This time my husband pushed me to go “Come on, he said to me “why not? Everyone should go to one class reunion. Think of it as a rite of passage,”

I sighed.

Then, the final blow, my husband shouted “you just don’t want to go because you think Caroline might be there, admit it.”

I paused, of course he was right, but how dare he say that?  Did he not know the rules of marriage? He was supposed to stick up for me no matter what. “Asshole” I replied,  “that has nothing to do with it.” “Oh come on, he said, she was your best friend in the world, you think she betrayed you and you have never forgiven her.” “Just grow up,” he said impatiently.

I paused on the stairs leading up to the bedroom, gave him a killer stare and in a slow, moderated voice I said “Fine, if it is that important to YOU let’s just go” I said airily as I climbed the stairs to our master bathroom to shower, condition my hair and shave my legs very carefully.

We drove up on a Saturday morning, we checked in at the front desk of the University as if we were registering for classes. I saw my ex -best friend, Caroline, from the corner of my eye, I turned quickly away before she could see me.

“Bitch” I muttered under my breath.

“What? Gary said? “Nothing,  I didn’t say anything.”

Then, as my worst fear became realized, Gary, spotted Caroline and they waved to each other wildly. He nudged me, “Look Caroline’s waving” At that moment all I wanted was a divorce attorney. I turned to look at her and put my arm up with the faintest crack of a fake smile plastered to my face.

During college, the infamous Caroline, had been my  roommate and best friend. I loved her, like a sister and she was the one who introduced me to Gary; we had all been good friends.

After college we each moved home, she lived in Massachusetts and I lived in NY. We assured each other that we would always be best friends and find an apartment together somewhere in the middle.

In the beginning we talked on the phone every day. After that it dwindled to once or twice a week. Soon, I stopped hearing from her, she wouldn’t even return my calls. I wrote her but she never wrote me back. I convinced myself that she was dying and called her parents in desperation but they assured me she was fine.

I lived with that pain and that rejection in my life for many years. I just wanted to understand but I couldn’t, she wouldn’t even talk to me. Eventually, with time, It became more of a mystery and a dull pain and less of a piercing betrayal.

Many years later, on a vacation to Boston, Gary and I ran into Caroline at an Ice cream store where we took our two children, Nicholas, 5 and Erika, 3 for a special treat.  We were happy, laughing, eating dripping ice cream cones with rainbow sprinkles and I froze as soon as I saw her walk in the door.

 

First Ice Cream Cone

I said ” hello” to her then, so did Gary and she commented on how cute the kids were. She was about to start playing with them and I felt the flush of heat go through my body. I tried hard not to say anything and then, suddenly, my temper flared and I pulled her aside. I demanded to know the truth: “Why did you stop the friendship? What happened? We were best friends!”

She looked at me blankly, she shrugged her shoulders and I will never forget the words she said: ” out of sight, out of mind.” I was speechless.

The next time I saw her was at the reunion, she came up to Gary and me and started chatting about neutral topics, the weather,  our jobs, and finally she asked about our children.

“Ben is applying to Medical school, I said and Sarah is finishing up college, with a degree in International Relations.” “What about you,” I asked somewhat sneakily. “How is your life?” She blinked and looked away for a split second and then said lightly “Oh you know me, I’m destined to live a life alone, I’m too much of a free bird to have a family,” she said  chuckling.

I nodded politely, “yes, I said, slowly, staring directly into her eyes, I think you made that clear many years ago.

I turned to Gary, who by now was grinning, he took my hand and we went into the seminar together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kellie Elmore, FWF

Growing Old Together

Growing Old Together (Photo credit: Jan Tik)Comfort, Same Background,  Excellent Manners. Beautiful hands. How he showed Love to his  grandmother. Sweet. Helpful. Consoling. “Don’t Worry Baby.”

Old Friends. The first tickle of interest was when his family invited mine to their house one Thanksgiving.  I must have already liked him deep down inside, because it was very cold outside and all I wanted to do was watch him fix up his old car. I hate old cars. I wanted to be near him, talk to him, effortlessly, like a jigsaw puzzle finding it’s partner without playing the game.

He drove my parents and me a long way to the railroad station which was far out of his way but he didn’t mind, really. I knew it was genuine.That was the person I fell in love with. He turned on the radio and we sang Beach Boys songs out loud together. I thought his voice was wonderful even though he apologized for his off-key singing.”Don’t Worry Baby” described our relationship, only he could comfort me.

He was on his way to Australia and New Zealand and the thrill of getting an unexpected postcard from him was the best surprise of my life. I felt hot, then cold, electrified, dizzy. I couldn’t sit still, I certainly couldn’t sleep or eat. I called my friend for her to come analyze the handwriting, the words. Did it say “Best, Warm Regards Love?”

After another postcard I deemed less warm, I decided he had met a woman, named Patty  size 2 with long glossy red hair curling down her back, the athletic, hiking kind of woman. I could barely walk straight on the sidewalk without breaking my ankle. It was over, I knew it. Patty stole him away from me, bitch.

Some weeks later I was sitting in my bedroom when the phone rang. He introduced himself again, asked if I remembered him. My voice must have risen three octaves. I still remember that feeling, ecstasy. My cheeks were burning red and bright, I couldn’t sit down.  My body felt like an internal fireplace, green eyes dancing.

I felt like I was sparkling. Like little silver shots of electricity coming from everywhere on my body shooting high into the sky like firecrackers without the noise, yes, I was sparkling.

He lived in Maryland but had plans to visit his brother in a few weeks in Boston and while he was there, would I like to go out? “Yes, I would”  my voice raising three octaves higher in just one sentence.

He picked me up at my apartment with a present. A present? From Australia, a wood cutting board for cheese. I had always been the one to buy boyfriends presents, never the other way around. I felt a certain part of ice, soften and detach from my body. We went to a Museum, where all I did was delight in holding his hand.

He took me to Bertucci’s where we had pizza and salad. I offered to pay half when we were finished. “Absolutely not” this young man said. I melted, a young man with European manners. I was in love, at long last, for the first time. He was the only person, I realized that I never wanted “my space” I never tired of being with him.

We’ve been married twenty-five years and still I think his voice is lovely, clear and in tune. I love it when he sings or when he whistles. We have had our bad times and our good but we have worked through them all, we have fought and made-up and worked and sometimes pouted and screamed our way through our commitment but we did not give up. We never gave up.

We have two children, now grown up, we are a family. Do we fight? Absolutely. Do my feelings get hurt? Sure? Is my husband romantic? No. He doesn’t know the meaning of the word. Are we everything to each other? Not possible, but more than enough. You age, you compromise, love is not a sweeping, quick ecstatic moment. It’s the comfort of silence, knowing what the other person will say at the same time. It’s trust, knowing someone in the world loves you no matter what. It’s friendship too.

At night, while we watch television together, him on his side, me on mine, we eat bowls of ice cream in bed, vanilla for me and chocolate for him, with whipped cream, mine with rainbow-colored sprinkled. I can feel before I see, him shaking his head.

Love is not one romantic date, it’s a series of little things, moments, based on seconds of time that go by so quickly. You close your eyes and look back, and dream of the days in the past when you were younger. Don’t ever take things for granted. That is the first thing you need to learn, appreciate what you have while you have it and yes, there will be sadness ahead but there will also be great happiness too. Different forms of happiness.

My only wish now? Is to be able to grow old with him.

Photo credit: Jan TIkEnhanced by Zemanta

Plinky Prompt: Baby Love

Young woman kissing baby in bassinet

Young woman kissing baby in bassinet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • 6:00AM: the best hour of the day, or too close to your 3:00AM bedtime? See all answers
    • Baby Love
    • NEITHER


    • During my college years (which I can remember vaguely but with fondness) I always needed SOME sleep. I never was one of those “all-nighter” students, I needed at least four hours of sleep. My main problem and yes, it has carried on still today is that I hate the taste of alcohol (hang my head in shame,) so I wasn’t the wild, party girl type. 6:00AM was right in the middle of my sleep.

      6:00AM was ONLY for the love of my two sweet young ones, 21 months apart. We called my son “the farmer” he was awake every morning at 5am toddling in his little one piece sleeper to wake me up because “he didn’t want to miss anything.” When I think about it, he’s still the same way now at 21.

      Our daughter, came screaming into the world and kept screaming. I was up with her many times a night so if it was 6:00 am or 3:00am it was just to pick up my sweet girl, hold her in my arms and feel her body immediately relax.

      That’s what it takes if you want to be a mom, like I did. I wanted to be a mom since I was six years old, I became one at 33, after two and a half years of painful and emotionally draining infertility treatments.
      So at 3am, 6am, sure I was tired. But holding a crying baby in my arms, was nothing short of a miracle to me and it never upset me or made me mad. I was able to hold my baby as I sat in the rocking chair, all my dreams having come true. Who was I to complain?

Halloween, Trading WAS The Best Part!

English: An Almond Joy bar, broken in half.

English: An Almond Joy bar, broken in half. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Almond Joy,

I MISS YOU.

Sigh. I’m usually not THAT sentimental about my kids being in college (ok, stop laughing) but it’s Halloween and we have a big candy bowl out filled with chocolate and I am not outside with my little ones, holding their hands and talking to the other moms. I’m not complaining about the weather or seeing the joy on their faces when they can barely pronounce “Trick or Treat.” I’m also not at the door for them to stop by with their friends and for them to say “Hi Mom” and sneak an extra pack of candy for their bags too and I can’t even trade with my kids from our leftover stash for things that I love and that they hate. It’s just not fair.

We are home waiting for the little children in the neighborhood to ring our bell, for our dog to go crazy and bark (we put her in her cage) but the thrill is gone. We have perched the old light- up plastic pumpkin on a high table for another year so that the trick or treaters can see the lit up pumpkin smile face from the street. SCORE!  They know at THIS house, there is definitely candy to be collected.

For us old folk? Depressing. Why does there have to be an age limit on trick or treating and for those who know me, I am not kidding. I am very “childlike” fine, childish and I am the same height as my daughter, 5’3 and a half so basically if I had a face mask on, how would they know I’m a mom and not a kid? I think the trouble would be that I wouldn’t have anyone to trick or treat with me. Also, the fact that I am ACTUALLY considering this is quite alarming. I know.

Every year I have bought (too much) candy for our family to give out and of course to enjoy the leftovers. Is it necessary to even ask what I buy? Our favorites. Chocolate. Not to tempt me this year, I asked my husband to buy the candy because he always lectures me and says just buy one thing, just one type of candy that we don’t like and it won’t tempt us. “Okay, I said, you do it.” A couple of weeks later he did. He went to the grocery store and I thought for sure he would come home with licorice, something he detests. Nope.  Peppermints? No. How about lollipops? That works for me but he wouldn’t eat them. However, if they were Tootsie Pops that would be great, not fattening and a fun thing to have in your home. I’m going to use this idea for guests. “Would like some coffee,or tea, ice water, Tootsie pop?  Strawberry or Orange? (I’m keeping the grape ones for myself) I LOVE this idea!

Hubby comes home quite happily from the grocery store and shows me how HE handled the Halloween dilemma as if telling me he could do it the right way. He pulls out two bags of…assorted candy?  No. CHOCOLATE. All chocolate, different brands in two bags and not a Mounds or Almonds Joy in one of them, no Whoppers either. “Hello, what happened to the let’s get only one thing that we don’t like rule?” You know the one you said you could handle?” He laughed heartily, “Oh that, I just couldn’t help it, you know, I saw the candy and besides, we like these.” My case in point.

So now, I don’t even have my three favorites to trade (anyone have Whoppers, Almond Joy or Mounds?) because I have a whole bunch of extra Mr. Goodbbar, Snickers, Twix, Peanut M & M’s, Krackerl, and Milky Way Bars. But, don’t worry, we like them too; they won’t be here alone, we’ll try to help as much as we can. They won’t go to waste. I promise.

Dear Dad. Sigh. I Have No Dad. (Father’s Day 2013)

Clouds

Clouds (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

Dear Dad,

I’m searching for you in the clouds as we drive along the highway, the sun-bright, the sky blue, the clouds bulbous but I don’t see a clue or a symbol or a sign. It’s hard to be without a father when father’s day is rapidly approaching, I’ve written about this for eleven years now. Do you know what? It doesn’t get easier and I thought for sure it would. All I find in the clouds are a wispy bouquet of flowers, like an all white wedding bouquet and it reminds me to be thankful that you were at my wedding. I need to look at things that way now.

I know, Mom would say “I am torturing myself for no reason” but I do need to put my feelings down on paper otherwise I just explode with sadness. It just hit me hard on the head, the other day, why I was feeling so anxious and unsettled, I had no idea why until I realized that Father’s Day was being advertised everywhere: on tv, the radio, ads, every store I walked into I was assaulted by the fact that other people had dad’s and I didn’t.

Daddy, Do you remember when you offered to pick me up from Brooklyn when mice ran across my feet and over the bed in my street level apartment?   I remember feeling so relieved, so safe, because you were always there when I needed you, you could always make things better.When I bounced my first check by accident, when I thought I had done something by mistake, you were the first one I called.

I remember that one of the first times I came to visit you and mom when I was first pregnant with your  grandson (and I had inherited your serious lack of direction,) you posed as a traffic guard with signs and all, in the middle of the street, telling me (and everyone else) where to go. I still remember my shock, surprise, amusement and  love. I will never forget that image, but I think I made up the detail that you wore an orange hard-hat.

You used to call my daughter, your granddaughter, Princepessa, and you let her cheat at games for way too long. I remember you laughing when she cheated and I  would tell you not to let her but of course you continued to do so. And, when my son slept over for the first time in your house, waking you up every hour on the hour, Mom growled and yelled but you were gentle and kind. That was your nature.

I’m watching over mom, she seems a little out of sorts, just a little down and bored, nothing serious. I had a nice lunch with her the other day and boy, she has taken over for you in the eating department! That woman can eat!!! You would be so proud. She used to eat like a bird and now, “mamma mia”, she eats a lot. While she used to complain that I was too chubby she is now complaining that I am too thin. Go figure. I can’t win. But, I know she loves me to pieces. She bought me a slice of rainbow cake for last night’s dessert, and it was yummy. I know she was trying to fatten me up.

My hubby is good to me, really, he is a great husband and father. He would do anything for me and the kids and while we are from two very different parenting styles, we’ve actually become more alike, it’s scary. We have blended together, but I guess after 24 and a half years of marriage you tend to do that.

I think about you all the time, Daddy, not just on Father’s Day but you know that, I know you do. There’s no doubt in my mind from the messages you send me. I smell the scent of your cologne, when there is no one else in the room, see the special numbers you show me, your initials…all the signs. They came much more often at the beginning and that was great, I needed that, but now I know for sure,  if I needed you,  you would be there with me. There is no doubt in my mind.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy

You may not be on this physical earth but in my heart and soul, you will always be very much alive.

Love, Me

Also see: Father’s Day Without Fathers hibernationnnow.wordpress.com 2012

In Memory of My Father

In Memory of Zach Sobieck, Clouds

Plinky Prompt: Escape!

  • English: Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C...

    English: Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. closeup view of vocalists Joan Baez and Bob Dylan., 08/28/1963 Español: Bob Dylan con Joan Baez en la Marcha por los Derechos Civiles en Washington, D.C. (1963) Italiano: Joan Baez e Bob Dylan durante la marcia per i diritti civili a Washington, 28 agosto 1963 Polski: Bob Dylan i Joan Baez w 1963 Deutsch: Joan Baez und Bob Dylan beim Marsch auf Washington am 28. August 1963 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Live at the Troubadour (Carole King and James ...

    Live at the Troubadour (Carole King and James Taylor) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Describe your ultimate escape plan (and tell us what you’re escaping from). See all answers

  • Escape!
  • I’m escaping from STRESS and I’m taking my husband with me. I can’t possibly hang on much longer with my twisted, achy stomach which might very well be an ulcer or worse, losing weight, and being tired and upset. I’m watching my husband feeling down and defeated and unhappy too. I’m taking my husband, my best friend, whose stress level I share and intensify, out of here.He needs a new, good job PRONTO, in the computer field (something about Software and Engineers and Project Management) where people are not mean but decent and NICE. It’s been too hard, waiting for the pink slip which is coming except they don’t even GIVE you a pink slip anymore. Now, they just take you into a room, avoid your eyes and mutter about lay-offs. The unemployment drill.
    Let’s sell the house, then tell our kids in college, take the nutty dog with us (she’s always up for an adventure) and rent a van, or small mobile home. We can become the baby boomer hippies we never were. Let’s go down to the basics, we don’t need all this “stuff” that you, okay WE cling to. Imagine, having no agenda, no plans, no watches. We’d be living on money from the things we sold. Our college kids might even have to work (Gasp, what’s that??) Let’s go cross-country (you never believed me but I meant it.) Maybe somewhere we can settle down and open a breakfast place or lunch, maybe ice cream?
    Let’s go now, before we change our minds. We won’t sell the CD’s, because the one thing we need, wherever we are, is music. Music makes us happy and we need to sing loudly out the windows with joy. Our dog, Lexi, hanging out the window having a blast. We will sing all the oldies, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Carole King, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez….just to name a few. No stress? Sounds like heaven to me.

Plinky: If You Could Delete A Memory, Would You?

  • Memory Erasure
  • Try And Delete Pain, You Can’t
    8560 – St Petersburg – Apartment If I could delete a memory from my past and all the pain that the memory caused, I would. However, I can’t change my history so even if I could erase the specific memory (sitting on the dirty steps of our old apartment building, sobbing in my nightgown, clutching two handkerchiefs, waiting for my older sister to come home one Christmas morning) I’m not sure it would do much good. There are bad times, bad memories and pain. Sometimes, there is not even a lesson to learn, not a single one. Many of us have had very bad experiences in our past, that leaves a trail of pain that follows you for years, or a lifetime. You can’t change what happened, all you can do is learn from other people’s mistakes. My sister and I were a team back then, united, against our parents, the enemies.

I Didn’t Need To Know Mrs. Brady Had Crabs

The Brady Bunch opening grid, season one

Image via Wikipedia

Really? Does everything in the media need to be mentioned and discussed? Couldn’t I have continued picturing Florence Henderson as the sweet mom on The Brady Bunch without her releasing this IMPORTANT info that she actually got crabs from sleeping with some political dude? I know she has a book to sell but does she really think that image is going to make me EVER go out and buy the book? I have no interest in it anyway but now I wouldn’t read if it was free. Even then, I wouldn’t read it because I don’t want to know and I don’t care and because I think it’s so distasteful, I wouldn’t read it out of spite.  Gross factor: Very High. Advertising technique? Epic Fail.

I want to remember Florence Henderson just like the picture to your right. The sweet, simple, home-maker making sure that all her children and hubby were happy, healthy and safe and NOT picture someone scratching their private parts. I could gag. I may gag. Easily. Hopefully.

It’s bad enough when you see those photos that TMZ puts on (and believe me I am not complaining) about “Where are they now” or “Before and After” because the shock value is fabulous but can’t we draw a line somewhere, anywhere like “crabs.” Yo Flo, major image disaster. I don’t even think I could watch reruns now even if I wanted to.

At least leave Alice alone. We all loved Alice and I don’t want to hear a word about her. I don’t want to see articles written about her or photos that she doesn’t approve of. Mrs. Brady, you have ruined your reputation for generations of people. Please, Alice, don’t do the same thing. We love you. Keep Alice clean.

Buying A Purple Shirt While Eating Jelly Beans

This is a picture i took for the Candy article.

Image via Wikipedia

This is the kind of post you want to read on a Monday afternoon when the clouds are all gray and gloomy and it is the start of a brand new week. The orange-green-red leaves on the trees are swaying and they look like they want to cry. I’m thinking about the future and living somewhere else where the sun stays out all day and you don’t have to wear a thick black jacket.  The only perk today is that our house is clean and it looks pretty. There are no cobwebs that I can see and the wood shines like a Pledge commercial. It smells lemony and the beds are made and the sheets are fresh and I am planning to take a hot bath tonight. It’s against house rules to put your dirty body into a brand new made-up bed with sheets and blankets that beckon you and smile.

It’s our friend Christina’s 16th birthday and she looked so sweet and innocent and happy like a shiny polished Macintosh apple. My son drives her to school and back every day along with his sister seated proudly in the front seat. Christina was wearing the soft beige scarf that my daughter gave her for her birthday. Her arms were packed with brownies and oatmeal cookies and chocolate cake that her school friends made for her birthday celebration. Oh to be young, filled with sweetness, innocence and incomparable joy. I see myself in young Christina, all eager and willing to please, her arms outstretched for a big, warm, hug.

I’m listening to music to quell the anxiety that has been plaguing me for the last week. It starts in the late afternoon and escalates until nighttime; my stomach clenches and my legs ache with unbearable pain. My aches and pains stem from stubborn, bossy, Fibromyalgia and sleep comes as a welcome relief.

I’ve taken down all the photographs of my children when they were very young and replaced them with an up-to-date picture of the two of them grinning, their eyes alive with mischief; my son’s arm casually draped around his sister’s shoulders. I had to beg and plead a lot for that one portrait. While I am extremely proud of my children’s independence I have had a few problems lately adjusting to it.  I can’t forget the moment last year when my son said patiently “Mom, High School is one big lie.” It is a message that has been burned into my brain and I think of it often.  I didn’t believe him then but I do now. Apparently, lies are commonplace but I need to force myself to look deeper, for honor, and not compare my past, unhappy and burdened youth to their present, over-indulged happy lives.

I am booking a massage at the local spa, a gift I received for my birthday, and I am looking forward to it. There, I will not think of the last year, tension pressed up against stress like two sweaty lovers: unemployment and illness together as one.  I will fantasize about traveling, seeing the tulips in Holland, a trip to Israel in the spring, perhaps the countryside of Spain. I will picture my loving husband’s face, his hand in mine, playing the punch buggy game in the car and competing in the “I love you more” contest. I will remember that when I asked him for a phrase, another definition for “empty nest” he threw his head back, howled loudly, with glee and in a snap of a second he shouted: “Freedom.” I love him so much in many ways but I especially love him for giving me that.

Dedicated to Danny

My Greatest Achievement

” There is night so we can appreciate day, sorrow so we can appreciate joy, evil so we can appreciate good, ‘YOU’ so I can appreciate ‘LOVE’ ! “

This is one post I hope my teenage children will skip. It’s totally sentimental and for lack of a better word, “shmaltzy.”(sappy?). I can honestly say, without a second’s hesitation, that my kids (sorry Dan, our kids) are my greatest achievement. I don’t have a Ph.d nor have I received the Nobel Peace Prize; Oprah hasn’t given me a free trip to Australia (or a new car) but I’m extremely blessed. I have a son who will be 18 in a few weeks and a 16-year-old daughter. I am incredibly proud of both my children. Of course I love and adore them but I also really like and enjoy them too. They are extremely different, as siblings can be, but they both possess qualities that make me incredibly proud. I have brought two young people into the world that are intelligent, polite, kind, charming, and most importantly, they care about other people. Both of them volunteer, work and are excellent students. Are they perfect? Of course not. Do I get frustrated and annoyed sometimes? You bet. However, there is no doubt in my mind that both of them will make this earth a better place in one way or another. These kids are my heart and my soul. I have a son and a daughter, a phrase from an old song comes to mind: “who could ask for anything more?”

I overcame infertility which, by itself, is a grueling and draining process, understood only by those people who have gone through it. Two and a half years of trying to get pregnant, 30 months of disappointment, tears and depression. I was meant to be a mother, it’s something I have always wanted and while not impressive to some, being a SAHM (stay at home mom,” Mr. L”)has given me more than just good kids; these kids are amazing. I’m honored to be their mom.

P.S. if they ever read this, I am so cooked, I will get an endless amount of grief!

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