Their world seems both smaller and larger, these midwinter days. Smaller without travel, without surprise visits, without spontaneous nights out, away from home. Smaller without Penelope and Sasha.
And also larger: a new perspective on the interconnectedness of the big wide world around them, certainly.
Larger with David and Sasha’s daughter, who has become Penny to them all. Her namesake, Louise’s sister, never liked any shortened version of Penelope. So they tried other ideas, like P.J., but it was Penny that landed on the little girl’s soft tawny brown hair, with a touch of copper in it when the light shone just so.
“Maybe she’ll be a redhead,” Kassandra offers, bouncing Penny gently in a snuggly. She sees her old friend Sasha in the baby’s eyes, and the recognition catches in her breath, brings tears to her own eyes.
David and Kassandra share the grief of loving Sasha, and she has stepped in, offering companionship in the daily ups and downs of parenting an infant. Most afternoons, when she’s finished her shift at the now-open coffee shop, Kassandra bundles Penny up for a walk around town. David uses the time to shower, sometimes followed by a short nap.
Kassandra loves giving him those few quiet moments in his day. She sees the redness in his eyes upon their return, knows he also weeps when he is alone. She rarely acknowledges this with words, allowing him his privacy. He’s a lovely dad, attentive and silly, so unlike the dark, angry, lonely person who arrived on Pine Street years ago.
“Your papa, you and your mother changed him all around,” Kassandra tells Penny on one cold but sunny afternoon walk. “Good on you both, you know? Anything is possible, really, isn’t it, my love.”
Truthfully, Kassandra loves these walks for much more than being able to help David, or honor the memory of her friend.
She is falling deeply in love with little Penny, herself. Because, yes, anything is possible.