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While Tina was talking to Carrie Bette finished clearing up the lunch dishes and put them in the dishwasher. She checked the freezer to see what was on hand to prepare for dinner; hoping Tina would stay and share another meal with her. It was so rare that she and Tina spent time alone together since the divorce because the minute they shared the same space all the old unresolved feelings would resurface. When Tina visited Los Angeles, it was either a quick business trip, or to spend mother daughter time with Angie. If she could squeeze it into her schedule, she would have lunch or dinner with Alice and stop by the Planet to see Kit and Helena. Rarely did those visits include spending time with Bette unless it had something to do with Angie, like the time they visited private schools before settling on Woodward. The distance helped to keep things civil but unsettled. If only … was Bette’s biggest regret.
Bette made no secret of the fact that she still loved Tina, but in times of crisis she realized how much she needed her. Granted Bette was a strong personality, but she was fragile. Tina was her strength and her weakness. She was Bette’s bedrock. Tina had the ability to calm and ground Bette like no one else except Kit. Now she’d lost them both; one to death and one to divorce. A senseless death that could have been prevented, and a senseless divorce between two people that love each other and belong together. If only she could turn back the hands of time.
Tina played the martyr in their marriage, but she was stronger than she ever gave herself credit for and Bette would have given her the world had she just known how to ask for what she needed. Bette wasn’t sensitive to her needs, she had to be told because she didn’t grow up in a family environment that nurtured empathy. But instead of asking Bette to make room for her in her space Tina retreated and tried to find that space elsewhere. If only they could figure out how to just stay.
They’d managed to co-parent Angie since birth in one form or another: sometimes as a couple in the same household and other times as ex-s with separate homes. The little girl seemed to adjust to their roller-coaster relationship statuses but at the foundation of it all was their enduring love for their daughter and each other, if only that were enough.