His gaunt grizzly face took a ghastly hue lit solely by the computer monitor in Captain_Raptor’s cramped dorm room. It was 4 AM and he still had some homework to finish before his class at 11 but the familiar ringing of his voice chat system instilled in him an optimistic sort of vigor.
“Good morning my darling Nathan!”, he heard Sabrina’s voice before her smiling visage translated across her webcam to his screen. “Good evening my little one!”, he greeted the young woman that he had been in a relationship with now a little over a year. The first woman he had ever told he loved, had shared his deepest darkest secrets with and now the woman who seemed the farthest person in the world from him.
“How was your day?”, he asked.
She paused to think and appeared to move her nose and mouth towards opposite sides of her face in what Raptor perceived to be an act of unparalleled cuteness. “Not bad. I was only called “Baka” about five times. Got Roger to finally finish all the math pages in his workbook and I didn’t have lunch duty with that creepy teacher that transferred from the west campus.”
They had only been officially dating for about 2 months when Sabrina had confronted him with her plan to go teach English in Japan. They had been taking things slow at first but after spending all their free time together and getting to know each other better Nathan couldn’t really imagine going a month let alone a year without seeing her. He knew he had no right to tell his girlfriend what she could and couldn’t do but it didn’t make supporting her decision to abandon him any easier.
She was graduating early and he still had another year and a half to finish his degree. So when she explained that it was the best way to keep herself busy while she waited for him to graduate from college he understood. The admission that Sabrina wanted to be with him after they’d both graduated was more than evidence that their relationship was serious, to Nathan it meant that she loved him enough to include him in her future. He’d spent the time apart to sort through his thoughts and figure out exactly what that meant.
“’Baka’ means ‘idiot’,right? Man, if I ever meet those kids . . . ”, he threatened.
“Yep. You know what else we did in class today?”, Sabrina didn’t wait for an answer before continuing “the kids made a paper chain to practice counting to twenty but I made one for myself with some slight alterations.”
Loops of primary colored paper emerged from below the webcam’s range of vision. There were forty five strips of paper glued into a linked form and Sabrina rattled them up and down as her eyebrows arched with anticipation for his response.
“Just forty-five days until you’re back in my arms”, Nathan sighed longingly. Chin dipping out of view of the camera he watched as her eyes lost their excited wideness, melting into an amorous stare that penetrated that aching place in his chest and made the barrier of the microphone all so evident to his trembling lips.
“I miss you.”, she whispered.
“And I you . . . Have you thought about what I asked you last week?”, Despite how comfortable he had grown just talking to Sabrina there was a hint of nervousness in Nathan’s question.
She nodded silently and a puff could be heard in the audio as the microphone picked up her intake of breath before answering, ”Yes, I think living with you would be perfect.”
Relief evolved to elation as Nathan brought his laptop over to his bed so he could lie down comfortably and continue their conversation. Softly they cooed into their microphones plans for their new apartment laced with sentiments of affection. Eventually there were only intermittent murmurs coming from her end and Nathan hugged his pillow to his chest only to become acutely aware of how unlike his little one it was. The lumps were poor substitute for curvy hips and the coarse seams only a vague representation of her prominent ribs.
Eventually the comforting rhythm of her breathing meant that she had finally fallen asleep. “I love you. Sleep well my little one.”, he paused over the red ‘end call’ button as he waited for the ardent sentiments to reach her precious form.