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Romance Drama

There is a peace at sunrise that surpasses all understanding. A renewal. A feeling that anything is possible. I’d like to say I drag myself from the comfort of my bed every day to enjoy the sunrise’s splendor, but you wouldn’t believe me and I would be lying. What is true is I was there that day and so was she. There is a connection between sunrisers just because they are sunrisers, but Delilah would have drawn me in no matter the time of day.  


I was sitting there, at my favorite secret spot, overlooking Lake Quinault. It’s a hidden gem in Washington State owned by the Quinault Indian Nation, and if I had my way, no one would ever sit and admire its beauty other than me. Oh and Delilah. Definitely Delilah.  


The lake, a destination point for fishermen, swimmers, and sight seers, is proof that God exists and is located deep in the Olympic National forest. In an era where more people have flat screen TV’s than tents, Lake Quinault is a reminder of the reasons for taking vacations as the sunrise over the lake is the very definition of must-see.  

It was early summer, and to catch the sun as it appeared over the mountain, I had to be in place just after 5:00 a.m. Summer is the best time to watch the sunrise because no one in his or her right mind, other than me, would be up early enough nor be hardy enough to make the journey to my secret spot.


“Is this seat taken?”


Not many people can remember the first words spoken by or to the love of their life, but I absolutely can. As I turned to see from where the voice was coming, the first light of dawn revealed the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. Not all men might have said the same thing. Delilah wore no makeup, ripped jeans, and a faded brown hoodie. Her hair, perfectly light red, looked as if it hadn’t been touched since she rolled out of bed that morning, yet her smile and her inner spark couldn’t be hidden by tattered jeans or a faded hoodie or even the disinterest she showed in her hair. She was beautiful. At that moment, surprisingly, unexpectedly, delightfully, I wanted nothing more than to share my sunrise with her.


That being said and also being undeniably true, I was still a guy so I responded welcomingly: “It’s a free country.” With that, she invaded my secret spot, both on the lake and in my heart. 


The silence that followed was both loud and revealing. Delilah wasn’t there for small talk or to meet me; she was there to admire the beauty of sunrise. We sat in silence and watched as the sun peaked its warming light over the horizon, we carried on a conversation in perfect silence. She wordlessly told me she understood the moment, and I responded in kind that the moment was made all the more special because she was there to share it.  


It was the most beautiful conversation, and at that moment I realized that my being alone was only important until the one person with whom I was destined to be with found her way into my life. 


Perfection is a goal impossible to realize in this mortal realm, but that morning came as close as is humanly possible. So many thoughts ran through my mind as the sun revealed itself completely. Then just as quickly and quietly as she had come, Delilah rose to her feet, wiped some residual dirt from the seat of her ripped jeans, and headed down the trail and out of my sight.  


Eight words verbalized, an infinite number of combinations of events contemplated. Thirty minutes passed, a lifetime imagined. I was sure I would never see her again, and I was impossibly sad at the thought.  


Five years, five long years since that day at the lake. First dates, first kisses, words “I love you” spoken, yet every time fate or intention would reach down and sabotage promise. I became determined to find peace in my solitude.   

There was a reason or an excuse for my ending every potential relationship, but at its core was a sunrise and a conversation that didn’t happen.  


I went to our spot from time to time, to see the sunrise, not for her. At least, that’s what I told myself. Five years of disappointing sunrises. Five years of disenchanting beauty. I had given up without realizing I was hoping. Hoping to see her again. Hoping to feel what I felt that day. And then hoping she would be there.


“Is this seat taken?”


“It’s a free country.”


The same eight words. Just as five years earlier.  


At the time, I didn’t know that she, too, had often made the trip back to our secret spot. 


Seeing her, I knew I wouldn’t let the opportunity slip from my grasp, not a second time. When the sun had accomplished its part in our play and when she rose to her feet and started to wipe the dirt from her jeans the same way she had done five years earlier, I stood as well and said the first original words between us.  


“My name is Peter. I don’t like coffee, but I’d really like to have a cup with you.”  


“My name is Delilah, and I would be glad to share a cup of Joe.”


She called it Joe? It’s funny the things that confirm that a love is real. I couldn’t tell her that day, for fear of losing her, but at that moment, I was sure. I had said “I love you” to others before, but it was obvious to me that I had lied. For in that moment, I was finally sure what love felt like.  


Lifetimes are only lifetimes when viewed from the end. A cup of coffee became a dinner date. A dinner date became a commitment. A commitment became a proposal, and a proposal became forever. There were kids and dogs and vacations, but more than anything, there were trips to Lake Quinault. Always at sunrise. Always just the two of us. Never any words.  


You never know the last time is the last time until it’s too late. The last trip we took to Lake Quinault was like all the rest. It took a little longer for tired, old bones to make the trek, but we found our spot, sat together, and conversed in silence. The sun, unaffected by time, rose as perfectly as always, but Delilah rose only with my help.  

“Would you like to share a cup of Joe?”


She knew I did. She knew sitting next to her pretending to like coffee was my greatest pleasure. She knew it was the last time even though I was too stubborn to see it.  

That day in the café, we told stories of family and friends, living and lost, as we sipped on what had eventually become my favorite beverage. We made a mental scorecard of our life without admitting what we were doing, and we realized we had won.  


Two days later I lost her. Just like that first day at the lake, I watched her as she left me alone, this time without even the hope of return. The sadness I felt from years back flooded over me like a tidal wave.  


I’ll save a seat for you. Those were her last words to me.


True to myself, and being a guy, I replied: “It’s a free country.” Then, she was gone.

  

One day, hopefully soon, I will watch the sunrise with my Delilah again from a far better secret place, but until then, I only go to our place at night.  


I’m never alone when I go there. I make my way to our spot and sit down just as I did all those years ago. As the moon reflects off the lake, I feel her comforting hand reach down for me and in the silence only we understand I hear her very clearly. 



November 17, 2020 16:38

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96 comments

Bianka Nova
17:53 Nov 17, 2020

First of all, that line: "fate or intention would reach down and sabotage promise" 👏👏👏 And the story itself was really well done. You've actually concentrated only on the beginning and the end, fleeted briefly through their entire lives, and filled the gaps with meaningful silence. I think it works perfectly, and manages to evoke deep emotions. Being among the first ones here lets me throw in some suggestions: - "As we sat in silence and watched as the sun" - try to get rid of one of the "as" (you choose which one) - "until the one p...

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I.B. Dunn
18:14 Nov 17, 2020

If I look up super hero in the dictionary there is a picture of you right there next to it. I have started to edit based on your suggestions and some others. My story will be better as a result. Thank you so much for your time. It is really appreciated. Reply

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Bianka Nova
18:17 Nov 17, 2020

You're welcome. And also, thank YOU. No other stories posted today from anyone I follow, so you're lucky I was hungry for something new to read, as well as to distract me from my work 😊

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Zilla Babbitt
13:38 Nov 21, 2020

I like the new profile pic!

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I.B. Dunn
13:43 Nov 21, 2020

It’s my favorite picture of Mosby. He would sit at the end of our driveway and just watch the world. We lost him two weeks ago and this picture makes me think he’s looking back and telling me it’s going to be ok.

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Zilla Babbitt
15:37 Nov 21, 2020

I love that name. My condolences.

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N. N.
10:48 Nov 21, 2020

"I’ll save a seat for you. Those were her last words to me." I don't know why, or how, but that line struck a deep chord. This is an incredible piece, and I loved reading it, loved feeling all those emotions, and most of all, the ending. A whole timeline of the character Peter is portrayed through those last two paras, his hope, his agony, his eagerness, etc. and the words couldn't have been better phrased. Looking forward to more of your works!

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Zilla Babbitt
23:10 Nov 18, 2020

Ah-h-h. This story should be told in a whisper, while sitting outside in a warm sunrise, in slightly chilly wind. This is one of the most beautiful stories I've ever read. Really. I'm not kidding. It's incredible how much you've grown as a writer. So, here are some things that I love. The title is Silence and there's minimal dialogue. That's what gives this a light, whispery, chilly-yet-warm feel to it. I love that they had five years apart, and a total of three (?) days together. Then they part. I love that. If they had gotten ma...

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I.B. Dunn
23:56 Nov 18, 2020

Zilla!!!! I’m so happy you liked it. I tried to clean up the sentence you were talking about. If you have a chance take a look and see if it’s better. I’m just glad to have you reading my stories again. You were the first person I read in Reedsy and the first person I begged to read me and I still crave your feedback. Thanks so much. You are a super hero.

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Zilla Babbitt
00:57 Nov 19, 2020

Always. I read through it again and it works even better. Yay!

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Deidra Lovegren
23:24 Nov 18, 2020

Thanks, Zilla.

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Deidra Lovegren
18:26 Nov 17, 2020

Glad to see you back on the boards -- it's been a minute. I would usually suggest more dialogue, but in this particular story, less is more. As usual, you put the ineffable in clear prose. Always a pleasure to read.

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Julie Ward
00:37 Nov 22, 2020

This story is breathtakingly beautiful. I had to take a few minutes to just let it sit with me after I read it. Of course, I had to wipe away a tear as well, but that's one of the best things about your writing, Thom. Full throttle emotion. The first paragraph is one of the best I've read. You paint this love story, this life, with a broad brush, but you give us these lovely, intimate, jewel-box moments that make it so personal and so real. Reading it feels like flipping through the pages of a treasured photo album. I just loved this st...

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I.B. Dunn
00:56 Nov 22, 2020

Once again you leave me speechless with your feedback. I know there is a difference between someone reading my stories and being read by someone. You don’t he latter and your words always encourage me. Thanks for being my writing and reading buddy.

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Julie Ward
02:11 Nov 22, 2020

I just love your writing! It always gets me right in the feels. It's a true pleasure to be reading and writing buddies with you.

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Julie Ward
14:31 Nov 30, 2020

Now that the leftovers are gone and the turkey soup is bubbling on the stove, I've got something to go with that last slice of pie - a story! Stop by when you have a second...and thanks for the nudge! : )

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I.B. Dunn
18:28 Nov 30, 2020

I will be sure to give it my full attention this evening. I’m so glad to finally be able to read you again. 😀

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Julie Ward
17:46 Jan 09, 2021

Thom...Thom...Thom? Where are you? I've missed you! Come back!!

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Waverley Stark
20:03 Nov 21, 2020

This is beautiful. I love the first paragraph, where it's made clear something is starting, and I love how you talked about what the main character felt when he first met her. It reminded me a little bit of How I Met Your Mother-- it's this really good American sitcom you should watch sometime. The ending is lovely too, her hand holding his. This story was like a warm cup of tea, comforting and romantic and easy. I also liked the repetition of 'It's a free country,' throughout. Very adorable! Only thing I'd recommend: go into a little ...

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I.B. Dunn
20:15 Nov 21, 2020

Thanks so much for the positive feedback and suggestions. I am still finding my legs as a writer and getting help from someone with your talent is invaluable. You are the best!!!

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Dorian Gray 📖
19:16 Dec 14, 2020

I love how you guys say "American sitcom"!!!! How I met your Mother is amazing shamazing amazing!!!

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Gale Hardey
02:53 Nov 21, 2020

Sometimes while reading, one finds a perfect sentence, a riveting paragraph, or a heartrending climax. These are rare, and usually, the author has spent a tedious time crafting the ground for such a perfect moment. Thom, you had me transfixed. I felt like an honored guest stumbling into this world and witnessing the bond between the narrator and Delilah. Not false or surfacey, this story is beautiful, raw, and incredibly deep. It has been a long time since I read something that moved me to tears, but this... This story touched my very soul. ...

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I.B. Dunn
02:59 Nov 21, 2020

I am speechless. You have given me an invaluable gift. I love to write but there is an anxiety that comes when you share with others. Writers give a part of their soul and as such can be devastated by the criticism of others. However we can also be spurred on when someone really sees us and gives words of affirmation. Thank you for being someone who has encouraged me on my journey.

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Gale Hardey
15:30 Nov 21, 2020

You're most welcome! As a writer, I know exactly what you mean when you say we give a part of our soul to our writing. I also know the anxiety that comes with sharing a story! Your work is beautiful. Keep writing, for you have a true gift! I look forward to reading more of your work... ~Gale

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Aww. Your not a terrible edittor! Great job makin' it to the top 100! LUCKyyyy Hope ya' keep climbn' to the topppp

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I.B. Dunn
14:42 Nov 19, 2020

Thank you so much. Your feedback made me smile. :-)

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22:11 Nov 18, 2020

Oh. My. Gosh. Thom. This was absolutely, completely, positively, beautiful. You have such a way of words, and it touches my heart. There was such magnificent insight in this story, and it was seriously like...Um...Gosh, I can't think of anything to say anymore. Is that enough? Do you get my emotion? Because I really hope you do. Never stop writing.

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I.B. Dunn
22:25 Nov 18, 2020

Thank you so much. You have to understand your words carry extra weight with me because I am such a fan of your writing. There is no greater compliment than to have a great writer say nice things about your work. Again thank you.

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22:35 Nov 18, 2020

You're welcome. You definitely deserve it. And thank you for the compliment on my writing, because just like you said, there isn't a greater compliment than that.

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Jonathan Blaauw
07:51 Nov 18, 2020

Really powerful, Thom! I thought at first it maybe needed a bit more emotion – the MC fearing never seeing Delilah again after the first meeting, for example, might have been emphasized more. But, as I read, I realized exactly what you were doing. You convey emotion by focussing on the small things and just like the bond that forms in the silence between your characters, you say what you mean by not saying it. And that is perfect because sometimes, experiences like in your story can’t be described, and trying to put them into words only dimi...

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I.B. Dunn
15:31 Nov 18, 2020

I’ve missed our interactions. You have a gift for writing and analysis. I’m thrilled to get your analysis now I’ll wait patiently for your writing.

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A.R. Eakle
18:28 Dec 10, 2020

This is the first story I've read of yours, Thom. It was really good and has some really interesting aspects to it. I would love to write a small review of your story, if you wouldn't mind!

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I.B. Dunn
19:20 Dec 10, 2020

I would be honored. I appreciate your time and feedback.

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A.R. Eakle
20:08 Dec 10, 2020

Awesome, thank you so much! If you wouldn't mind, if you have an Instagram, follow me @EakleReviews. I would really appreciate it. There's some more information on there as well.

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I.B. Dunn
20:39 Dec 10, 2020

I don’t currently have Instagram but my wife does. I’ll see if she will follow you so I can check your stuff out.

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A.R. Eakle
20:43 Dec 10, 2020

I would appreciate it! You will also be able to go to the link where your review will be posted. Although nothing is on there right now haha.

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A.R. Eakle
13:24 Dec 11, 2020

Hi, Thom! Your review is posted!

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Salom :)
18:33 Nov 24, 2020

This is an amazing story, very well done! Such a sad ending, though! I love it -Sal

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I.B. Dunn
18:55 Nov 24, 2020

Thank you for your read and kind words. They definitely motivate me.

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Valerie June
22:18 Feb 19, 2021

Oh my goodness gracious. This piece flowed so smoothly and it was such a heart wrenching story, so very well done. Words unspoken, yet so much was meant with each sentence. Thom, you painted such a lovely picture here and it was like I was a quiet observer watching Peter and Delilah's life flash before me. So much emotion was wrought here and it truly touched me. The title pretty much sums up your story so beautifully. I especially liked how now Peter only visits Lake Quinault during the night time which ends the story so bittersweetly (in ...

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I.B. Dunn
22:45 Feb 19, 2021

Thank you so much. This was one of my favorites to write. It was simple and complex at the same time. It means a lot that you took the time to read and comment.

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Tiffany Arnett
19:00 Dec 10, 2020

This story was amazing! I hope to see more of this from you!

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I.B. Dunn
19:22 Dec 10, 2020

Thank you so much. If you have time I’d love your feedback on any of my other stories as well.

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Zea Bowman
16:29 Dec 03, 2020

Hey Thom! Zea again. Just stopped by to say I made yet another story...sort of like "Zombies Sound Safer Than My Family." Might be one of the last ones, so if you come to check it out and let me know what you think, that'd be super cool. If not, it's all good. Just letting ya know :)

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Maggie Deese
20:59 Dec 02, 2020

Wow. This...wow. Thom, you have written an utterly beautiful story here and I am in awe with your words. This perfectly showcased your storytelling abilities. You had vivid descriptions and metaphors that gave this a very poetic feel. I loved the repetition in the dialogue as it gave it made me feel as if I were included in a very intimate moment between your two characters. I've read only a few stories from you and that was more than a few weeks ago. Already I can tell that you've grown in your writing skills. Amazing job and I will be l...

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Karen Mc Dermott
14:40 Nov 26, 2020

I'm finally here, and now brokenhearted for this pair. I loved the description of a conversation spoken in silence; it made me nostalgic for such. I certainly wouldn't have their dedication for getting up to watch sunrises but kudos to them, and to you for penning this sweet response to the theme.

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I.B. Dunn
23:16 Nov 26, 2020

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your time and feedback. I seek out the opinions of those admire and I do you.

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02:19 Nov 21, 2020

Thom this was a remarkably beautiful piece. There are so many things I enjoyed while reading through. First, I found it lovely that that the title is "Silence" and that your writing further supports this by omitting auditory descriptions. Beautiful nuance. There are also several golden lines in here. One of my favorites is "The silence that followed was both loud and revealing". I felt chills when I read that line. The style of writing was also magnificent. I love how this was a rumination piece. The narrator was thinking to himself, but...

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I.B. Dunn
02:34 Nov 21, 2020

There aren’t words to thank you for your wonderful feedback. I want nothing more than to be read and you really read me. Your tweaks are spot on and always appreciated. I am not a technical writer and I miss things like this easily. I will most assuredly come back to your stories because I am drawn to talent and I will continue to ask for feedback because you do it with care and concern and that makes all the difference.

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Kristin Neubauer
05:31 Nov 20, 2020

This is beautiful, Thom. It stirred up so many emotions in me. Your stories usually do, but this one was different. This one, I felt like I could identify with very personally in almost every sentence. You captured the essence of pure love so exquisitely and brought back some lovely memories of someone very special in my life who passed on in my early 20s. Interestingly, I was trying to tackle this same prompt....but my story was about a drug lord and a corrupt cop (or maybe not corrupt?) who helped him escape from jail through a tunnel ...

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I.B. Dunn
04:15 Nov 21, 2020

Your feedback is why I write. It’s so complementary and inspiring. I got choked up when you shared about your loss. It made me understand how as a community of writers we support each other and care for each other. Thank you so very much.

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Kristin Neubauer
15:29 Dec 05, 2020

Hi Thom - I didn't know if you'd seen A.dot Ram's latest story, "Sometimes it's the Beans." If you have a moment, you might want to take a look at it. It reminded me a little of your writing - a study of relationships and the nuances that can affect them in different ways. All told with some very lovely writing that has that reflective and gentle voice that also reminds me of your writing. Also, I just saw your comment about losing your dog Mosby and I'm so sorry to hear that. It is the most heartbreaking part of pet ownership. But whil...

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I.B. Dunn
20:33 Dec 05, 2020

You have no idea how nice this note was to read. First that you took the time to point out a story I might enjoy was so thoughtful and your well wishes about Mosby are so kind. He was truly man's best friend and I miss him but you are right how in his physical absence he fills a different yet significant space in my heart. On a side note we got a new puppy named Milo. He is doing his part to bring the laughter back, that's for sure. :-)

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Kristin Neubauer
12:37 Dec 06, 2020

Congrats on Milo! Maybe we will see some puppyness in some of your stories. After our elderly dog, Charlotte, passed in 2014, I never thought I could have another dog. But a series of strange circumstances led us to almost feeling forced into adopting Sally barely one month later. And I'm so glad we did. I think that perhaps Charlotte moved on in order to make way for Sally. Have fun with Milo!

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