I was smiling in the shower. My lips were turned up in a smile as I got dressed I was smiling as I walked down the street to my local coffee shop. I smiled as I ordered my strawberry smoothie. I was smiling all morning. I honestly hadn't smiled this much since I had been with Louis, and it made me feel great. I felt happier. I felt lighter. I didn't give a damn in the world about anybody else, I just felt relieved to be happy in my new self.
But as I exited the coffee shop I bumped into someone. I nearly dropped my smoothie, "I'm sorry," I murmured. When I looked up they were staring back at me.
"Oh no, it's okay. I wasn't looking where I was going. I'm so sorry." As I looked over their facial features I felt sad when they hadn't recognized me. I had nearly forgotten that I looked like an entirely different person since I left my hometown. I smiled, happy and overwhelmed that I had ran into this particular person. I never thought I'd talk to them again when I had left. But as it turned out, it was just the person I wanted to see. Just the person I needed to talk to.
"Penny?" I asked, my smile not hiding my excitement.
"I-I'm sorry . . . who are you?" My heart nearly shattered at her words, although I remembered that this was what I had wanted. I never wanted anyone to recognize me.
"It's me, Caycia." All she did was stare at me, eyes wide, shaking her head. "Shit, oh sorry. It's me . . . Tarin."
And with that she looked back at my eyes. "Tarin?" She asked, shock washing over her features. "Is that really you?"
"Yeah, I uh . . . it's really good to see you," I said softly.
"You look so different. I'm sorry I didn't recognize you."
"That's okay," I said.
"Do you want to sit down? Maybe catch up?" She asked, and I smiled realizing just how much I never noticed that I'd missed her. She was my other half, and though I'd been okay with things for a while now, I knew that a piece of me was missing, and that piece was Penny.
"Do you maybe want to go sit on the beach? I was going to go read on the beach anyways. I have a towel in my bag and everything . . ." I trailed off.
She smiled at me, "yeah of course, just let me order and we'll be out of here!" She leaned in towards me, hugging my small frame. "I've missed you," she said softly in my ear.
"I've missed you too," I said as I hugged her back, holding back the tears, "more than you could've imagined."
When we arrived at the beach, I laid a towel down, allowing us to sit and talk. We talked endlessly, for hours. We'd been apart for so long and so much had happened in both of our lives. There just didn't seem to be enough time in the afternoon to share everything we had wanted to, everything we'd missed, everything we hadn't told each other.
I had told her everything about my spiral downwards. I told her about my failing grades, my skipping class, my lonely birthday spent drinking cheap whiskey and blacking out. I told her about how Louis broke my heart, how I fell into a deep depression. I even showed her the scars which still adorned my stomach and thighs from my darkest moments. I told Penny about Marissa, and how we'd become such good friends in such a short amount of time. I told her about how I dropped out of college and moved to LA, and the few jobs I'd had since I'd moved here. We talked about how happy I'd been since I moved. I showed her the tattoos which adorned my wrist and my lower stomach. I pointed out the piercings which I'd gotten since my move. And when I told her the story about my daisy tattoo she knew exactly why I'd gotten it, a reminder of the love I'd always have for Louis. A reminder that I was better without him, that I was stronger now, without him. She knew me better than anyone, and our conversations flowed better than they had with anyone else. I even told her about my fling with Zayn. I was surprised when she believed me, being that I barely believed it happened myself. I even told her about how I'd changed my name, cut my hair and completely changed my wardrobe to run from my old life.
Then she told me about her life. She told me about how she'd also fallen into a depression when I left without a trace. She told me how she often thought I'd been kidnapped, although my parents told her otherwise. She told me about how she went to university, and fallen in love with writing. She told me stories about lovers she'd had over the time we'd been apart, none having a very large impact on her life. She told me the story of how she'd moved to LA to begin writing books and how she'd gotten a contract, but it was in London. She told me that she'd be moving to London in August. She talked about how she'd already bought a small, quaint cottage in London, about how she'd began writing her first novel and was excited to hopefully be done in the next year or so. However, she currently had writers block which she was trying to overcome.
We talked until the sun set. We talked until we had a reason to leave the beach, when we finally got cold without the hot California sun.
Seeing Penny again brought back old feelings. Though I was a completely different person now, I had missed my old life. I had especially missed my incredible friends and the chats we'd have, the sleepovers, the drunken nights, the hungover McDonalds runs in the morning. I missed parts of my old life, but that just wasn't me anymore. I believed Penny knew that, although she clearly had accepted this new me.
She never judged me for a second. She never asked my why I'd changed so much, she never asked what happened to me. Penny was the most accepting person I'd ever befriended, and that was what I loved most about her. She was the one person I needed to keep me grounded, to keep me sane. I could rant to her about things for hours, and she'd sit quietly with a listening ear, never speaking a word of judgement.
When we gave each other our new phone numbers, and promised to meet up again soon, we hugged, knowing that though we both had changed more than we could have ever imagined, nothing between us would change, nor would it ever.
Eventually we walked away from each other, both heading home in the cold California night, I smiled, knowing that today had been absolutely perfect.
As I entered the front door to my apartment, my phone vibrated, and I picked it up, reading the text message I'd just received, which made my day impossibly better.
Zayn: Let's meet up again love. x
I smiled again, knowing that life was perfect in this exact moment.