Twenty years later, and Penny is thrilled to run into him at a grocery store. Seaweed. Her first love. Her mother had put a stop to it of course, crushing her adventure nearly as soon as it began, moving from Baltimore to Washington and dragging Penny with her. She’s in Baltimore now, visiting her grandmother, and she only thinks of him. It seems fitting that she should find him after so many years, and so many changes.
His skin color hasn’t changed, but the world has. It isn’t enough, and perhaps it never will be enough, but nobody tries to stop Penny as she runs up to greet her old friend.
“Seaweed. It’s me,” she says, coming up behind him.
Seaweed stares at her for a moment, flabbergasted, then breaks into loud laughter.
“Penny Pingleton! Coming back after all these years!”
He looks her up and down, with a gaze that Penny still trusts after all this time. She is no longer the mousy girl she once was, but she is glad that he recognizes her.
“I‘ve imagined you more than you can guess, but never without your braids,” he says, touching her hair lightly.
“I never meant to leave,” She says, feeling that she must explain, and she is ready to launch into a long explanation of the circumstances, but he only smiles -- a little sadly she thinks.
“Girl, I know that. Don’t you know that I know that?”
“I tried to write, but my mother wouldn’t let me. Not even to Tracy. I tried to-- you know, mention you without mentioning you. Make a code. Send a message. She was on to me, though.”
“She wasn’t ready for us. The world wasn’t ready for us,” says Seaweed, with passion that Penny feels all the way down to her toes.
“You think it’s ready for us now?” She asks, grinning, giddy, her heart on her tongue as though she is nothing but a teenager again.
“Lets try it and see.”