Caroline managed about ten-minutes of shut-eye to feel refreshed again. She unpacked her clothes and situated all her belongings neatly within the dresser and closet. A quick brush through the bedhead mess her short nap gave her, Caroline then quickly bounded down the steps, eagerly looking forward to wrapping her lips around a hearty German Frühstück. The smell of strong coffee met her nose as she descended the staircase. Breathing it in deep just made her more excited for her breakfast. Ah, she had missed this!
“I see you are looking a bit more relaxed now,” Klaus smiled in her direction as he watched Caroline come into the large living space sitting with Elsa on the oversized leather couch she remembered from her youth. Many afternoons were spent on that couch, loudly chattering or playing board games. She could still hear the giggles they elicited from one another. Those were such good times. Having these three as friends at that time meant the world to her, especially when things got bad at the end before she moved to the US permanently.
The dining area was off to the side of the room, adorned with all the goodies she expected – delicious fruit-sweetened quark, soft-boiled eggs, hearty German bread, as well as Brötchen, jams, and an assortment of local lunchmeats. Her mouth immediately started drooling as her eyes got bigger and bigger. She was ravenous after that long international flight.
Katja, bringing in the coffee pot, motioned for Caroline to sit down. “Komm, you too, Klaus und Elsa.” Obediently, everyone sat down at Katja’s direction. She always was the one who gave orders, like it was her place to do so. Being the oldest, maybe she felt she’d earned that position. Or perhaps she was just a natural-born leader, and they all just fell in line. Regardless, they all accepted the hierarchy as it was.
“I will do my best to stay up as long as I can, but you know the jet-lag will hit me soon enough. Probably right after I eat my fill from this magnificent spread,” Caroline said to her friends. “Oh, how I’ve missed all this! You can’t get the types of lunchmeat in the states like you can here. It’s so fresh and tasty! And quark doesn’t even exist there!” They all looked at her, surprised.
Elsa piped up, “They don’t have quark?” She honestly looked shocked to hear that. Everyone always thought America would be more progressive than that, apparently not.
“No, the closest thing I’ve found is greek yogurt. It’s good but not the same. It’s usually too sweet or too creamy and doesn’t have that tangy taste. Hopefully, we’ll see it in the future, or maybe I just haven’t found it yet.” Caroline dipped her spoon in the quark, then savored its taste in her mouth. “In the meantime, I will get my fill while I’m here.” They all laughed heartily.
Hours passed as they reminisced about their youth. Klaus dabbed his mouth with his napkin and pushed back his chair as he turned to hear Caroline’s first deep yawn.
“Tja, it might be time for our guest to take a break now.” Klaus held Caroline’s chair and encouraged her to go to her room to take it easy. “We’ll be here when you are feeling a little more awake.”
Katja put her arms around Caroline. “By the way, you remember Thomas Martin, right?”
TO BE CONTINUED ON WEDNESDAY…