by Erin L. Nappe
(published in Journal of the Blue Planet, April 2003)
Eric picked up the phone and dialed, fueled by the courage of too many beers. He examined the ceiling of the common room while it rang.
â€œHello?â€Â she croaked.
Ericâ€™s gut wrenched at the sound of Sarahâ€™s voice. He ran one hand over his crew-cut head.
â€œHey, did I wake you?â€
â€œEric?Â What time is it?”
He glanced at the clock.Â Oh shit, he thought.
â€œIn the morning?â€
â€œYeah.Â Did you get my letter?â€
The letter.Â The letter had said everything.
â€œEricâ€¦I really like you.Â I do.â€
â€œSarah,Â I told you Iâ€™m in love with you.”
She breathed, a thousand miles away.
â€œOh, Eric, no youâ€™re not.â€
He stared at his feet, twisted the phone cord around his finger.
â€œHow can you say that?â€
â€œBecause we hardly know each other.â€
Theyâ€™d spent his entire leave together.Â Theyâ€™d been writing every day since.Â How could she say…
â€œWhat is it?Â What donâ€™t you like about me?Â Just tell me.â€
â€œBesides you being in Georgia?â€Â She laughed.Â â€œNothing.â€
â€œI have class in the morning.Â Iâ€™ll talk to you tomorrow?â€
â€œSure, tomorrow,â€ Eric said.
He pressed the receiver against his head, listened for the click, then replaced it.