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Staring at the handset failed to make it any easier. But this time… surely she would realise that what she’d said was a bluff – a good one, mind – and that really she did feel for me in the same way as I her.

Thinking, indeed promising myself that this would be the last, definite, final time that I phoned that day, and actually believing once again that I would get a positive response from my advances, I dialled the number. The belief was so strong, so certain.

After the rotations finished and the line could be heard crackling with its connection, I awaited with a fast beating heart the ringing to begin, and the promise of a new start to be fulfilled. It would be so marvellous.

The phone rang, harshly, at the other end of the line, and the handset slipped in my hand, my heart racing faster, and as I looked in the mirror and saw that my face was paling, I heard the phone being picked up at the other end.

Amended 1 May 2005

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