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She drew her forefinger along one of the boxes and noted the gray smear of dust. For an attic it was rather clean, Tina concluded. She rolled up her sleeves and proceeded to open box after box in the row, rummaging inside all along. Some boxes were empty, some contained old junk that would never be put in use, some had Tina’s clothes in them, which had Tina wondering why they’d been put in the attic in the first place. There also was one box, that one box that the blonde had been searching for.
She took the box into her arms and brought it over to the most illuminated spot. Kneeling beside it, Tina pulled out the first item that her hand had touched, which was Bette’s black hoodie. Tina’s momentary urge was to smell it in case there was still Bette’s scent on it. Surely, there wasn’t any, but a stale odor.
Leaving the hoodie on her lap, the blonde then got out a small wooden case and opened it. There were a couple of photos inside, pieces of paper and a ring. Tina took the ring into her fingers and studied it. The diamond ring that Bette had given her on her 20th birthday. Tina remembered wanting to throw it into the ocean after Bette had basically kicked her out of prison and told her to never come there again. She was now glad she hadn’t let herself succumb to her impulses. The ring still looked beautiful.
Slipping the ring onto her finger, Tina took out the pieces of paper, which were brief love notes that Bette had tended to leave her at different periods of their turbulent relationship. Tina could almost distinguish what mood Bette had been in by reading one note or the other.
Then she reached for the two photographs produced by a Polaroid camera and taken by Alice at a beach party at Helena’s Malibu house. Tina stared with a mellow smile at the first one where they were together, Bette had her arm around her shoulders and her nose buried in Tina’s hair, eyes closed, while Tina was smiling the widest, brightest grin, her own eyes shining with joy, looking the happiest person on earth. They had been so young, so in love. Another photograph depicted Bette alone, capturing her beautiful face in half-profile, displaying her white teeth and graceful neck as she laughed heartily.
”Hey you,” Tina uttered in a soft semi-whisper, her finger tracing across the picture, touching Bette’s hair and face. Chuckling tearfully, the blonde shook her head. ”What do you think I’m supposed to do now, huh?”