I adjust the webcam on the top of my laptop and check the lighting in my room one last time. Desk light on, check. Fairy lights above the balcony door and heater, check. I clear my throat one last time and peer at the computer screen, noting that MSN messenger is still loading the camera feed. I turn away, looking at the candle glowing softly on my coffee table.

"Hey sweetie."

My ears perk up at the sound of his voice, like a sunrise on a cool autumn morning. I turn around and see his face, distorted slightly by pixels, on the messenger window. A warm smile blooms on my face as I see his cheeky grin.

"Na schatz, it's so good to see you," I smile some more, enjoying the thought of finally being able to talk to him. "I've missed you the past few days. Sorry I've been so busy."

"It's okay; at least we have the chance now to catch up." His eyes glint with more smiles waiting to be bestowed upon me.

"How are classes going?"

"Same as usual. You'd think that professors would give up trying to teach morning classes."

"Ha, I wish the same could be said over here. I still think it's so crazy that, for an eight o'clock class, German students will be dressed in their best. The females all have their hair and make up done nicely and are wearing nice jeans and blouses while the males have their hair styled in the latest fashion and wear nice jeans and shirts. I feel like a slob next to them. If they ever saw the students back home wearing pajama pants and hoodies, I think they'd go ballistic."

Laughter is heard on both ends. He, laughing at the idea of students actually dressing up for class, and me, laughing at the image of those students actually wearing pajama pants and hoodies. We look at each other, longing in our eyes as we remember then that we're over an ocean away and can't be together for another three months.

"You should come out here and give me cuddles," my voice is tinged with a hint of sadness.

"If I could Hiro Nakamura it out there, I would. You know I would," his voice is the same.

The sadness is brief, but after living separated for six months we know how to hide it and keep it away, focusing more on being able to talk to each other. Our conversation continues as before, intermingled with the "I love you" sign in ASL. We've been doing that as long as we could remember.

All too soon it is time to say good bye as I am six hours ahead of him and need to go to bed. I smile sadly again and touch his face on the computer screen briefly with my finger. I wish with all of my heart that he was here.

"Alrighty babes, you should head to bed. You've been about to fall asleep for the past fifteen minutes," he says softly.

"Ugh, fine, I'll go to my stupid bed and sleep," I grumble, not wanting to see him go.

"I love you very much."

"I love you, too."

"Good night."


I turn the webcam off and shut down my computer. Walking over to my calendar on the door, I cross another day off. Only two months and eight days before I see him again for a brief visit. I crawl in bed and hold onto my stuffed donkey, closing my eyes. I can smell him, his cologne sprayed on a bandana which I placed on my nightstand. With my eyes closed, it feels like he's there with me. Gute Nacht, schatz. Ich liebe dich.

Schatz is a term of endearment in German. It can mean treasure, darling, sweetie, honey, or luv. Gute Nacht means good night. Ich liebe dich (which you all should know) means I love you. I don't own MSN messenger.