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Penny for my thoughts

The mind is a tricky place

By Gillian Lesley ScottPublished about a year ago 5 min read
Brooke Cagle Unsplash

Iris didn’t ever expect to see her former muse again. Although neither had left town, the town in question was massive, more like a small country, the opportunity for a random bump into was pretty minimal.

The only way would be to find out where they were expected to be and “just happen” to wander past. In the early days after the connection imploded, Iris had seriously considered doing just that. She had been too scared.

However with the passage of time and after really examining her own psyche didn’t feel that she cared enough to carry out that dubious plan. However, she both didn’t care and DID care, if that made any sense… because this had been the biggest balls up of her life and it sat very badly with Iris to have left an association of any kind in that way. But there you go, she both cared and didn’t care in equal measure and that translated to inaction. An impasse,A mess never cleared up.

She never thought she’d have the chance.

But there she was. Sitting at a cafe table, right now. Sitting on her own too. Iris had visualised this moment many times, though not exactly like this… she had doubted that she would ever cross paths with Penny ever again.

She couldn’t help but notice, fleetingly and then tried to block out, the fact that there were two coffee cups on the table. Before she could talk herself out of it Iris launched herself across the concourse.

“You’re looking well…” she garbled quickly as a startled Penny looked up with an uncomprehending look… that, as recognition dawned, began to turn to shock, then anger. Was it anger?

“Oh, you…”

Iris quickly cut across her speech and continued to pour out all that she’d been holding onto for the last six years, “I tried to be the friend you wanted, I never meant to cross any lines with you or cheat on anybody. I had such a bad girl crush … it coloured my …

Penny sparked up, not angrily but firmly… “I get it, I do. But there’s no point in raking over old coals is there? We were friends then you blocked me … we haven’t spoken or communicated in any way for over half a decade. We aren’t the same people as we were back then.

“It wasn’t the finest hour for either of us.” Iris lamely proffered.

Well, I’m not the one who was in a relationship at the time am I? Although I am now …I’ve moved on and I’m sure you have too.

“Yes I have. I’m still with my partner… I told him all about you. He understood he was with a flawed human and that really it wasn’t the big drama you made it it to be. But as you say water under the burnt bridge. If either of us really wanted to fix things we would have. “That said.. I’m sorry …I’m sorry it went the way it did. I do think we could have remained positively acquainted. So you know, sorry. You look great by the way.

“Yes. You said. thank you”.

“I got married… “

You did? Wow,I really thought I’d have heard that through the old grapevine.

There had been enough common acquaintances and interests, for Iris to have heard something, or so she thought. She really didn’t look at what Penny was doing on the ubiquitous socials, but had seemed to find stuff out anyway. But not this … this was huge!

“Oh, Congratulations… who?”

“No one you would know”.

Iris felt a pang of, not regret .. of warmth yes that would be the best way to describe it.

“Well, he’s a lucky man”. Iris proffered, being unable to think of anything more original to say, and she genuinely believed it.

Penny smiled strangely.. “Helen isn’t a man.”

Right on cue, a joyful red haired little woman bounced into view. “Did you order another coffee?”

The woman’s smile didn’t falter as she bounded over to the table. “Oh hi, I’m Helen nice to meet you!”

Ah, hello Helen, congratulations, I’m Iris by the way”

Did Helen’s full beam smile falter slightly or did Iris imagine it?”

She could well imagine the dreadful things Penny might have said about her. Penny had been angry with her on various different fronts. She had thought that Iris wanted to cheat on her husband with her and had deliberately,no probably not that deliberately, …drunkenly involved herself with a mutual colleague. Rather shoved it in Iris’s face. It triggered misbehaviour on her own part.

And with that she was done.

She couldn’t and wouldn’t indulge her silly crush any longer. For much though Penny might of thought it was more…. A crush was all it was.

Penny had been hurt by her cutting off the friendship. But after that night Iris had found that as well as being humiliated and pained by Penny’s actions she also had the “ick”. She wasn’t really sure if she was Bi. She just suddenly snapped. The whole situation would never have got so fraught if Penny had spent a little time chatting to her then farewelled her instead of ignoring her all night and then drunkenly involving her in her (Penny’s ) “amusement” with a mutual colleague also female, for the evening. She regretted the loss of a potential friendship too. But realistically it was one of those that only existed because of a shared workplace. And that workplace had suddenly shut down.

Anyway, Helen stood before her. Looking bemused. They both looked at Penny. It was clear that she had badmouthed Iris to Helen. But that was probably some time ago and and as Penny herself had said they were not the same people.

Iris took a deep breath, more to soothe herself and to make sure she didn’t blurt out anything she would regret…

“Would you like a coffee?” she asked the two clearly uncomfortable women.

“Those muffins look good too…”

She trailed off and looked at the two women expectantly.

She had stuffed up before it would seem appropriate that she should be the one to make the first conciliatory move.

Even if she never saw them again after today, and she doubted she would, she truly hoped negativity could fade away and this afternoon could end pleasantly enough. Hard though it was to grasp now, back then Penny had been all she thought about, Penny had been her muse. She’d like to leave things well with a muse, after all.


About the Creator

Gillian Lesley Scott

Scots born Australian. Tales of being human. Despite aiming for the highest good of all, not always successful

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