“How could I forget him? We lived right next door for four years!” The vivid memories of her childhood crush flooded her brain quickly. Caroline grabbed the railing to steady herself. She began to feel slightly flushed as well. Oh, grow up, Caroline, she thought to herself.
“Well, I ran into him recently. We chatted about our lives for a bit. He was a cab driver for a while, now works at a lab as a chemist. Eventually, I shared with him that you were coming for a visit with us. It seems he was quite excited to hear that you would be in town!” Katja gave her friend a knowing nudge as they walked up the staircase. “So much so that he asked if he could come to say hi. He’ll be coming here tomorrow night for dinner,” Katja said with a wide grin.
“What?” Caroline could barely contain herself. Trying to be calm, she casually said, “Well, that will be interesting and fun to talk to him now as an adult. Do you think he ever noticed how starry-eyed I used to get around him?”
“He may not, but I remember! You would positively drool every time he came around when we used to play out in front of your house.”
“Yeah, I remember too. Gosh, we were such kids to him back then, I’m sure. Wasn’t he like four years older than us?”
“Ja, it seemed like we were irritants to him, especially when his friends were around.” Katja looked around the room to make sure everything that Caroline would need was there. “So, I’ll leave you to get some rest. Can I get you anything else while I’m up here?”
“No, thank you, Katja. I’m good. I just need a little downtime. Thank you for everything!” They exchanged heartfelt hugs, both beaming with joy to be back in each other’s company. Katja turned and shut the door behind her quietly.
Caroline sighed deeply, looking forward to resting her head and her body. The jetlag was hitting hard; all she wanted was to wrap up in a warm blanket. Caroline quickly shed her clothes and lay down on the bed. She pulled the familiar down-filled German Bettdecke up around her neck and nuzzled herself in as if it was her cocoon. It wasn’t long before she had drifted off to sleep with slow rhythmic breaths.
The room was getting chilly as the night air had gone down a few degrees. Caroline began to stir under her blanket; the crispness in the room brought her out of her haze.
It didn’t surprise Caroline that she awoke to dreams of Thomas, scenes she could easily imagine coming true. Smiling to herself, she was hopeful and full of expectations for the next day.
TO BE CONTINUED ON THURSDAY…