He can see her, but he can barely hear her. Even with the listening device, the window doesn't allow sound through all that well. She's extraordinarily beautiful - to him, at least - and he'd be hard-pressed to dream of a woman more attractive.
They met in Cozumel, Mexico. She was traveling the world, fresh from secondary school. With no desire to immediately attend college, she packed her bags and left everything behind. He was a sophomore at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, on Spring break. Not much of a traveler - he likes to keep to himself - his friends talked him into accompanying them to yet another tourist trap.
Sublimely unaware of his eyes gazing upon her, she goes about her business, dusting shelves and preparing her evening meal. She's speaking, but he's since put away the device out of frustration. Besides, he's far more interested in staring at the movement of her lips than the words. Pity she's not a bit closer. Of course, proximity runs the risk of giving his devious intentions away. He licks his upper lip in anticipation.
He was glad he went. An inopportune bar brawl between French and American partiers led to him taking a broken bottle on his left shoulder - a bottle that would have hit her had he not got in the way. There wasn't any chivalry involved in the decision, it's just that he had stared at her for most of the night and didn't want his evening obsession left scarred in any way. The blood and protruding glass in his shoulder led to sympathetic conversation, which led to sympathetic dinner, which led to romance. Only lasting three days, it was the best three days of his life. She enjoyed them, herself, but they failed to resonate with her as strongly as they did with him.
The notion of voyeurism creeps into his mind, but he doesn't care. She's worth looking at; she's worth listening to, and he's aware of the possibility that he'll never touch her again. Something distracts her and he moves away, pretending not to notice. She doesn't need his piercing eyes to add to the distraction. And he doesn't want this moment to end. The perfect body in the perfect frame.
They exchanged contact information, but as she circumnavigated the globe for nearly three years, her information soon proved useless. Caught up in the grand adventure that is the world, the excitement of Cozumel quickly hid itself beneath the excitement of seeing and experiencing things she'd only dreamed of while growing up in Glasgow, Montana.
She reacts to the distraction - clearly, she heard some sort of noise. Out of reflex, he checks his surroundings. Did he..? No, he knows better. He's been sitting here for the better part of two hours and he's done nothing save whisper a few longing words. There are dogs barking, but they are in neighbors' yards and not aimed at him. Still, the excitement arouses him.
Finding himself oblivious to any other women, he succumbed to depression, dropped out of college in his final semester, and joined the US Army. A mental breakdown - related to her, no doubt - forced an early discharge. Though not in in love, he nevertheless renewed a relationship with an old high school girlfriend and got his life together, at least partially. Subsistence was his only recourse.
She screams at something and his curiosity overcomes him. He leans in so closely, trying to get a better view, that his breath fogs up her image. He's been breathing hard, conscious of his own caress, and backs off. The vapors need wiping clean, but he decides that might be too conspicuous. They dissipate just when a cat appears in the window. He hears her scream at it again. Damn... it's blocking her. His hand swipes at the air in a useless gesture.
When an old friend became a private investigator and the Internet afforded the capability, he managed to track her to South Africa. Search engines devoid of contact information, he spent nearly all of his savings and hired his PI friend to go to there. She married a businessman in Johannesburg and took a job with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee. Now divorced, she had kept her married name.
Her hands grab the cat and he gets a good look at her fingers. Oh, those sensual fingers. He's not been this close to them since Mexico. He must be careful... showing up like this is probably odd to her, but so far she seems to have paid no mind. She moves away, out of the room, and returns a few minutes later wearing a robe. He curses his limited visibility, tracing her body with a finger and imagining the lines underneath.
Leaving his girlfriend, he tried to relocate himself overseas, but life and money kept getting in the way. He often wondered if it would have been better had he gone to South Africa himself, but knows he probably wouldn't have found her. So he watched from a distance, trying to summon the courage to reenter her life. One time he built up the nerve to call her, only to fail in building up the nerve to actually speak. But hearing her voice renewed his sense of purpose. She would be his. One way or another.
"Sorry," she says. "Just wanted to get comfortable."
"It's okay," he replies, having plugged the headset and microphone back into the computer. There's some frustration that she's so pixelated, but her memory is as clear as day, and that's all his eyes require.
"When are you coming to visit me?"
He smiles. Though she's careful not to be obvious, she clearly harbors affection. It's too bad there's an ocean between them. He considers sending the inventor of the web camera a thank you note.
"As soon as I can."