“Oh, Miss. Hello, Miss! MISS! HELLO?!?!” said the impatient man at the counter. The last few bellows from him shocked her back into reality quite harshly.
“I’m so sorry, Sir. I was somewhere else for a moment,” Caroline told the customer, feeling hot with embarrassment. She quickly rushed to the counter to attend to his needs.
“A moment?” he asked rather angrily. “More like a lifetime; that’s why I had to get so loud with you! Completely spaced out, is what you were!”
Geez, suck it, male Karen. “I know, my apologies, again. Don’t worry. I’m all here now, ready to focus on my job. Plus, I’ll end up in tears if I continue to think about it, Caroline thought to herself. “Thanks for bringing me back to the here and now,” she said with a weak smile.
The customer calmed down a bit but still radiated disdain for Caroline as he was giving her his order. She filled out the ticket with his specifications, picked up the menu with an exaggerated thank you and over-the-top friendliness hoping to appease him. And watch, he’ll leave me a $1 tip for kissing his ass. Caroline turned towards the kitchen, rolling her eyes hard towards the ceiling. I cannot WAIT for this shift to be over!
Her workday ended without any other distractions, and thankfully, no more angry customers. Caroline was happy to punch her time card, looking forward to putting up her feet and relaxing at home.
“Hey, sweetie,” her eyes lit up as she walked into her apartment communicating affectionately with her furry black and white friend. He countered with enthusiastic mewing and snuggling up against her, walking gingerly between her legs. She bent down to pick him up, then quickly sat on the couch to give him her fullest attention. He never failed to bring a smile to her face, his warmth and affection always gave her comfort.
Caressing her friend, Caroline allowed herself to go back to the past again now that she was home, where she could easily, and without interruption, let herself daydream. And cry.
The memories of that summer took over again, vivid as always. Caroline relived those passionate, fun-filled, and carefree three months of her life. It was one of the happiest times of her life. Going to Germany had been the best decision, but so hard to leave once the summer was over. No one could have predicted that Caroline and Thomas would find true love. They were all sad her visit had to end, especially the new couple. Regardless, they were determined to make this long-distance relationship work somehow; excitedly, they made plans for their future.
And then, just a month later, she received a devastating letter from Thomas. It shook her to her core. In it, he wrote her that he had been diagnosed with cancer. He said he was so thankful they had the summer together as it turned out they wouldn’t have a future. He hadn’t the strength to tell her this over a call. By the time she got this letter, he had told her he would be dead. It was a rare, very aggressive, and terminal form of cancer. Her love story was over and a phone call from Katja confirmed it.
“I love you, Tomcat,” Caroline said through heavily flowing tears. The sobs tore through her body as she pulled him closer.
Thanks so much for your support of this series! See you next month!