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It was not yet dawn and Bette lay awake after tossing and turning most of the night. Her stomach churned, a lack of food mixing with the two glasses of wine she had with Alice at the bar last night. She had lost too much weight, she knew this. She was losing herself, she knew this too. Maybe Kit was right. Maybe she needed to get away, spend three months in Europe or take that trip to Asia she was always talking about. Except that had always been Tina’s dream, Tina wanted to see Singapore, Hong Kong, Bali.
Tina. She had been gone nine months, the affair with Candace breaking them. There had been a few phone calls since, one or two painful lunches where Bette had tearfully begged the blonde to return. And one interesting dinner about three months ago when Tina had mentioned, quietly, that she was in therapy, that she had a lot to atone for.
When pressed, she would not elaborate, only looked at Bette with those sad eyes that made Bette want to vomit. Tina seemed different somehow, like all the anger had been wrung out of her, like she had made a decision about something. That made Bette hopeful and terrified at the same time.
As the check arrived, Tina told her that she was moving, to South Carolina. That Bette was not to contact her. That she would see Bette when she was ready. That she was sorry.
And Bette had complied, had watched as Tina smiled gently then rose and walked out of the restaurant. Out of Bette’s life. And the distance, the quiet withdrawal of contact, the sad eyes… haunted her. A postcard arrived soon after that dinner with an address but no phone number. Bette sent a letter every week for three months but there was yet to be a response.
She was clinging to a false hope Kit told her, time to move on. What does moving on mean exactly, Bette had asked, how does one move on to embrace life when your heart beats with another? And the smallest seed of hope that nestled deep in her soul would not let her, but she could not tell Kit this. Somehow she felt their story, the story of Bette and Tina, was not over.