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Tina flashed her passport and boarding pass at the agent at the entrance to airport security. She sighed heavily, watching as he exit stamped “Singapore” on a new page, handing her boarding pass back to her with a wave of his hand, already looking at the next traveler. Security was a breeze, having Studio pre-check credentials making this part of the airport experience easy, the lounge and a cocktail waiting for her.
Opening an office in Singapore was not what she wanted as part of her professional responsibilities. She had been traveling almost nonstop over the past year and the toll on her marriage, her stamina and her emotional health was, as she had come to realize, very costly. Too costly.
Waiting for her drink, Tina shuffled some paperwork, opening her laptop but not really paying attention to the 27 new email messages. Her mind was on Bette, as it had been during the entirety of her trip. As it was most days. It had been a difficult year and that was putting it mildly. The constant arguing, the bickering, the way only two long term lovers can push all the right buttons to trigger the other.
They had been so happy… that is, until they weren’t… and the pieces that conspired to pull them apart the result of a near perfect storm. Tension seemed a constant companion, the gulf between them widening, everything she said or did seeming to add insult to injury. Everything Bette did the same.
And then it happened. Right as she was leaving for the airport, a day long argument over her travel schedule having reached a pitch… this gem… this awful phrase came flying out of her very own mouth, silencing Bette, making the brunette sink to her chair in stunned disbelief, tears springing to the chocolate eyes. It was as if all the air had been pulled from the lean body, like when a balloon suddenly deflates.
“Maybe it’s time, Bette. Time to just end this marriage. We are clearly miserable with each other, maybe divorce is the only way we can both be… happy…”
And she would forever hear the sound Bette made when this awful declaration left her mouth, a sound that made real the disconnection between them. This is what anguish sounds like, this is what rock bottom means. And if Tina could have pulled those words back in her throat, if she could have swallowed them whole, razor-sharp edges and all… she would have. But they hung there, piercing both women with their clarity, the damage done.