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The next day Tina asked Bette to walk with her down to Boo’s old house, to see what needed to be done to have the house ready for Boo when she returned. It made sense that Boo would want to be home, to stay there and reenter her life. Tina felt she owed it to Boo to see if the house was ready for her return, although Yaya told them over breakfast that she always figured Boo had someone looking out for it.
Either way, it had been years since Boo inhabited the house and even longer since Tina had been there. Boo’s house was filled with memories, snippets of Tina’s life as a child, peace and love freely given with no strings attached.
She caught her first fish in the river there, learned to change the oil in a boat, skin a catfish. It was a place of refuge when her own home was unsafe, and Tina remembered coming to see Boo when Eric first kissed her. Boo had asked if she was sure that was what she wanted and at the time Tina didn’t understand why the older woman would ask her that. So many layers and depths of her childhood that should have happened at home but instead took place at Boo’s… or were soothed by Boo.
It also triggered the bad memories. The arguments with her parents, the feeling of being unwanted at home, the yearning to belong somewhere, to truly be herself.
She told Bette all this that morning as they woke up, cuddled under the covers before they showered. What she loved was that Bette listened, really listened, and kissed her sweetly, so sweetly.
“I’m here, Tee…” she said, “remember I am here.” And those four words meant the world to Tina, who knew in her heart that Bette was exactly that. Present. Available. Supportive. Bette was completely tuned in to the conflicting emotions Tina was feeling and steeled herself for an unpredictable day, knowing Tina would need her.
They packed a small backpack of snacks and a change of clothes for Rosie, neither questioning whether she was going along or not, she was a much a part of their life as anything and Rosie was so easy to take care of. Bette was insistent that Rosie be wherever they were, and Tina agreed. It would be so easy to leave Rosie with Yaya, to go off on their own. But both felt it was important to step into the parental role immediately and assimilate Rosie into their daily routine.