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Subject: Leave of absence
I’ve spoken with Wendy and she’s expecting your call as when you’re ready to make it.
As I said when we spoke, your work family is completely here for you. Keep in touch, reach out for anything you need, and know that we love you.
Dani: Checked weather. Looks ok
Dani: NB write keysafe code somewhere analog
Dani: ie on paper
Bette: Thanks. I’ve done this before
Bette: See you at 1 x
It was just before eleven a.m. when Tina pulled into the driveway of a large Victorian villa in Golden Hill, San Diego. She sat for a moment just listening to the hum of the electric motor then switched the car off. Sweat cooled on the back of her neck. Navigating an unfamiliar city was usually something she found exciting, but not right now.
She looked around. The neighbourhood was beautiful. Wide-spaced detached homes with mature gardens and vivid green lawns. She wondered distractedly at the water-use regulations, then reached over for her bag and took out a compact.
Her eyes looked tired. She’d flown in to LAX the night before specifically so that all she had to do was drive a couple of hours down this morning, but then barely slept anyway. Like most nights since she’d opened that package from Bette.
A tightness gripped Tina’s chest as she felt herself once more standing in the doorway of her living room, reading Bette’s note. Holding her wedding ring in her hand. That ring was now in Tina’s wallet. She’d left the note in Toronto, but took the ring with her.
A memory of Carrie’s distraught face crowded into Tina’s head, making her close her eyes and breathe slowly to try and calm herself. She had been taking Xanax almost every day for some reason or another, but she hadn’t taken any yet today. That’s good, you did good, she said to herself, folding her hands on the steering wheel and then laying her head down for a moment.
‘Was any of this real to you?’
Tina had been watching Carrie storm around their bedroom throwing things into an overnight bag. She’d just told her she didn’t think she could go ahead with the wedding.