It was time. The anticipation building up to this moment had been growing as the weeks, then days, then hours had slowly ticked by.
He hooked up the antique laptop to the power supply and prayed it would work. It seemed to take an age running through the start up process. It was definitely getting slower, but finally the password screen appeared.
He entered his details and panicked when a dialogue box popped up and told him he had got the password wrong. He typed it again, carefully, and was rewarded with the satisfying ‘bing’ as the software desktop appeared.
He clicked the icon. Now he just had to wait and hope.
A minute passed. Then five. Ten. Had something happened? What could have gone wrong? Had they lost power? Had they run out of food? He had no way of finding out.
Fifteen minutes. He didn’t have enough power to keep the computer running for much longer.
Then the screen sprang to life. Incoming call. He answered it. There was that face. Like him, thinner, older by another year, but still smiling.
‘Hello, Dad. Happy Birthday. Have you had a good year?’
He started to answer, he could feel the tears welling in his eyes.
The screen went blank and the computer shut off. The power reserves were used up.
But they were still alive. Out there, somewhere on the earth, his family were still surviving.
Only another year to wait until they would try to talk again.