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  • The beach was empty, at 9:45 in the morning, and the wind was blowing crazy, like ozone static I was taking into my body, right through my ears.

    I called my husband on my mobile, to let him hear, back north in cold Toronto, the sound of the warm Atlantic Ocean wind on north Miami Beach. I held the phone out to the wind, like I was taking a picture of the sound.

    "I can't hear you, honey," he said. "Is there an explosion? Is there an explosion, honey, are you all right?"

    I had reported war, and he was right to worry.

    I was walking down the flat soft sand, a nice sea grey, laughing, the ozone was making me high. The strong wind was making my cheeks like giddy G-forces. I could feel that wind in my throat.

    "Honey, tell me you're okay, Susie what is happening? It sounds like something blew up, did something collapse, where are you? Was there an earthquake? Are you underwater?"

    I was laughing with the wind in my ears and my mouth, delighted at the shapes of the empty hotel chaises all lined up in orange and blue, the sun umbrellas set up as the sky threatened and opened and clouded and tore holes to let sun through, the shapes of the beach huts, like old-fashioned scenes from some Fellini movie, where the clowns and old men and starlets will soon appear, and the long lenses and notepads come out.

    "Honey, what is going on? I can't hear you. Is that shrapnel?"

    The wind on the 31st of January was so strong, it sounded like war down the phone lines.
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