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Wendy nodded. ‘Yes. As we say in my line of work, “If it isn’t a problem, then it isn’t a problem”.’
‘I’m not sure I follow,’ Bette said.
‘Well, as you suggested, people usually come to therapists with their problems, not their successes. But it’s like my hair. I go to the hairdresser when it’s become a problem, but otherwise I’m either never thinking about it, vaguely aware that I’m going to have to think about it later, or deciding I’m gonna go my own way, grow it out and see what happens.’ Bette was looking at Wendy’s hair very intensely, so she added, ‘It’s not a perfect analogy. Sometimes I trim it over the kitchen sink too.’
Bette laughed. ‘Actually, that’s what makes it perfect.’
‘Probably,’ Wendy smiled.
‘Shocked. Frightened. Angry.’
Wendy had asked how Bette felt when Tina told her the truth about her relationship with her sister.
‘I’m afraid I didn’t exactly cover myself in glory.’ Bette took a sip of water. ‘I’m not sure how much Tina has told you.’
‘It might help to assume I don’t know,’ Wendy said.
Bette’s eyes crinkled in a non-smile. ‘You want to see if my version jibes with Tina’s.’
The therapist tilted her head slightly, much as Bette did when she looked at art.
‘Okay,’ Bette said, with a shrug. ‘Well, I reacted with a lot of anger toward her sister. Truth be told, I wanted to go find her right there and then and beat the living shit out of her.’ Her fist clenched and unclenched in her lap as the fury came back. ‘I’m not gonna do it,’ she added, when she realised Wendy noticed.
‘Tina said not to confuse revenge with protection. Also, jail.’
Wendy wrote something quite long on her notepad. Bette quietly puffed her cheeks out and waited.
‘How did Tina seem to you when she told you?’
Bette thought back to the two of them sitting in their – her – living room, the little speech Tina gave about letting her finish, the glasses of water rather than wine.
‘In control,’ Bette said.
‘Of herself or the situation?’
‘Both. She’d obviously planned certain aspects of it.’
‘Did that – does that – bother you?’