"Together on the sunny island" - Sofia Kaspari

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"Together on the sunny island" - Sofia Kaspari
"Together on the sunny island" - Sofia Kaspari

Unexpectedly, Sandra receives an invitation from her best friend from school with a proposal to gather the old gang - and not anywhere, but in a luxurious villa on the sunny Croatian island of Lošin, dotted with fragrant flowers. There is also another cause for excitement - there she will see her great school crush for the first time in years.

None of the friends lead the successful life they imagined. Everyone hides secrets of which they are ashamed. But thanks to their time together, spent exploring an amazing corner of paradise, many secrets will come to light. And the breathtaking beauty of the island, long walks in the forest and scenic boat trips seem to rekindle the fire between Sandra and Nils.

Together on the sunny island” is a charming story full of adventure, surprises, sea breeze and sunshine.

Sofia Caspari likes to travel and has lived in Argentina, Ireland and France. She currently lives in the countryside with her husband and two young sons.



Chapter Eleven

– Nicholas! Sandra! Daniela! God, you haven't changed at all! – shouted Nils as soon as he came out on the terrace, accompanied by Daniela and at the same time with Sandra.

Danny had told them she would arrive today, but she didn't know exactly when. In any case, he didn't call her to go meet him. He must have hitchhiked and then walked. On the way back from shopping, Danny spotted him on the road and put him in his car. They stood in front of the table, where Nikolai was already waiting for them. Sandra watched as Nils set an expensive leather duffel bag on the floor and then threw away his old backpack. The combination didn't surprise her – she used to love that kind of thing.

– I wanted to surprise you, said Nils cheerfully.

– And then Mr. K. turned pale – quotes Nikolay.

– What do you mean?

– The story of Mr. K. by Brecht, Sandra reminded him. –

Mr. K. meets an old acquaintance, he tells him that he hasn't changed at all, and Mr. K. turns pale.

– Are you serious?

– Were we in the special German language class or weren't we?

Sandra felt Nils looking at her. She had secretly dreaded this moment, meeting him. She was afraid that they would stand face to face, because this meeting would convince her once and for all of the changes that had taken place. In any case, she recognized his voice immediately and knew that Nils wanted to be the center of attention. He spoke too loudly. Seeing him again was the hardest thing for her, because they were once very close and even imagined how they would spend their lives together. He noticed how old he was and imagined how old she looked in his eyes. What did he see her as? They looked at each other in silence. Nils isn't bad looking, but he's different, was her first thought. Yesterday, she and Daniela had discussed his marriage - it was hard for her to imagine him married, on top of that the father of a boy and a girl who would arrive in a week. He worked, of course, as a journalist - she knew that. At the time, she had seen pictures of his wedding in newspapers and magazines. Until a few years ago, his name appeared in various publications. He revealed scandals, his reports were rewarded. His name was familiar. Then he lost sight of it. Too much work, family…or something. She stopped caring what her ex-boyfriend was doing. He had to act like a grown man.” Sandra sighed, Nils grinned, and his charm came over her again. Just like once, in the twelfth grade, when they became a couple. He looked at the baseball cap, which was backwards, and told himself that it was not very appropriate for a man of his age. And then he walked up to her and opened his arms.

– Sandra! So good to have you here! I missed you! Did you miss me? - He made a short pause. – I should have remembered that you remember everything about Mr. K. She was the most diligent student.

Strange, but his words hurt her. Nicolai quotes Brecht's story, not hers. Sandra opened her mouth to protest, but Nils hugged her warmly. Apparently he had spoken without thinking. His hug felt strange. Well known but unusual. The two separated from each other and looked at each other as if they didn't know what to say to each other. Nils sat across from Daniela and turned aside to make room for his long legs. Sandra also sat down, took some bread and fruit. Nikolai had finished his breakfast. He ate as much as a sparrow and always quickly. He drank a glass of cola, but refused sweets. They remembered the time after graduation, then listened to Nils' stories. He was talking all the time. Sandra said something about her school and Nils immediately followed it up with an appropriate anecdote. He spoke well, but a little too much. Why is he so loud, why are these exaggerated gestures? Sandra asked herself. Has he been like this before? He felt it more alien than others.

They went to bed late in the evening. When Nils entered his room, he was so stiff that his jaws hurt. He smelled like sweat. Scary sweat. Fear-induced sweat had a specific smell, and he knew why he was sweating: he was afraid of being discovered. He was afraid he would have to explain how his life had gone wrong. How will he tell them that he was once a big journalist with big stories, but now they call him only for trifles: rabbits, local football clubs, village festivals, kindergartens… These news must have been important to many people in the world, but not for him. He stretched out on the bed as he was dressed and stared up at the white ceiling with plaster ornaments. The villa had made a strong impression on him. Daniela took her friends everywhere. They climbed the magnificent wooden staircase, walked through the corridors, examined the kitchen with a large stove and a huge work table. Nils remembered that he would have a few days to himself before the children arrived and laughed. Six days off before it's back to normal. He was actually pleased. They were his children, he loved them…

He put his hands behind his head and tried to relax. The skin on his head was trembling, a sure sign of a migraine. He could only hope he didn't have a seizure. How long had it been since the last migraine? He sat up in bed and listened to himself. He rubbed his hands (during migraines they often went numb and hurt) and went to the bathroom. He splashed cold water on his face. He was probably just tired. The journey was long, the conversation with old friends continued endlessly. All the while he was careful not to say anything that would give him away. It was the same at work and at home.

Looked in the mirror: awesome Nils, cheerful Nils, confident Nils…

Did you do well tonight? Or did it betray itself? At times he could feel Sandra's gaze - almost accusing - and he wanted to shout at her: Don't do that! I'm the same, really!

She got the impression that his behavior confused her, but it was better than everyone learning the truth about him. About his failure… Or maybe he really had failed? Perhaps he longed for the old days simply because he had nothing to offer in the present. Would he remain forever tied to the past because it was better then and because he was afraid of the future? What future actually awaited him? A local newspaper reporter until retirement? Journalist who writes about everything but nothing big? Well, maybe that was the truth, and he was just imagining some nonsense. He stood by the bed for a while, then decided to check his phone. Call from Carolyn. Message from Carolyn. His ex wanted to know if he had arrived and if everything was okay. She was asking him this question to make him feel like she was in control and he wasn't. Well, yes, that's how it's done, even though they're no longer together. After all, they were family until recently. It's good to ask how the ex-partner is feeling, to report how the kids are (well, of course) and that they're getting along with Jens (the new one). Nils felt a knot in his stomach. Carolyn always sent the Christmas cards on time. Cards from the summer holidays inevitably touched the recipient, and for the closest friends and family there were always wonderful surprises for Easter and Nicholas Day. She knew how to behave because she had received the best upbringing. She felt safe and always protected. She had attended an expensive boarding school, then spent a year at a private school in England. Carolyn was the perfect embodiment of family investment. Only once had he taken her to his single mother's cramped quarters, and she, of course, behaved in an exemplary manner. He was the one who couldn't handle it. After the breakup, Carolyn told him it was good to stay friends. People should part not ugly, but with a sense of responsibility - these were her words. After all, their relationship had started as a friendship that grew into love. And then…Maybe she only loved his success? And when that success passed… Without his success, he felt like nobody. The fact that Caroline was the daughter of his publisher only complicated the situation - despite her claims that she didn't care. Nils never doubted for a moment who her father owed his loy alty to.

The two broke up, but not because she had found a replacement for him. Jens came into her life after a long time. He was younger than her, the two met at a party thrown by the fancy boarding school. What a cliché! Jens' family sold real estate. The kids… He actually got to spend this weekend with them.

Caroline expressed willingness to cancel it.

– Go of course, it's nice to have a few days to yourself – she told him. – No problem at all.

Nils apologized to his children.

– It's okay, dad – they answered him in their mother's tone.

Strange, but when he imagined them hugging their grandfather (his father-in-law), he felt like screaming. He didn't take them to his mother, even though she kept asking him about them, and they loved her too.

Her apartment was so cramped, so guild-like… They had better do something together. He was happy to pay to visit a zoo or a museum.

Nils decided to take his luggage out of the bag. Leather travel bag, one of the most expensive. I wouldn't buy such a thing today. If he continues to work at the local paper, he will probably have to sell it. He always thought he had a talent for writing stories, but maybe he just married the right woman. He stopped taking out his things. What are such reflections called? Ah yes, the "imposter syndrome". All his life he had feared that one day the mask would be taken from his face. That someone will come along and bring it back to the middle level where it belongs.

She arranged the clothes in the small closet and looked around the room again. Beautiful, with a sea view. The whole house was nice. The once aristocratic villa must have hidden interesting stories:

The Austro-Hungarian Empire, families who spent their holidays here, children cured by the sea air, forbidden love, the First and then the Second World War… It almost sounded like the plot of a novel. To fill all the clichés, he had dreamed of writing a book, until he found out that he was a big cracker and too cowardly. He ran his fingers along the wooden frame of the window, opened it and stared out into the night. I heard guitar sounds.

Did Nikolai play? His old friend looked pensive and somewhat sad - very uncharacteristic of the former Nikolai. He also sat motionless. Young Nicholas was constantly on the move; he never remained still for a minute. Nils loved his music. He didn't bring the guitar tonight. And no one asked him if he would whistle for them.

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