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Months ago, they had hit the tough stuff… the lack of communication… Tina’s need for space… Bette’s confusion over what happened, her hurt. The whys and the wheres and the how could yous. Raw, unfiltered, emotional grief and deep pain. Words neither ever said out loud were now flung as verbal shrapnel, hitting close to home, lancing painful wounds. But these were wounds that needed to be opened, looked at, dealt with. Put to rest. Exposed, there was no where to hide.
“You left. With no fucking explanation. Like a fucking coward. You left me. Worse, you left Angie…” Bette hurled at her, each word like a nail in the coffin of their relationship.
“I know, Bette. I know it felt that way. And I am so sorry. If you are ready to listen, I’d like to tell you why….” she had replied calmly and they were off, a journey of a thousand triggers.
Tina broke down and shared things about her childhood Bette had never heard before, secrets that festered over time and influenced her decisions, not an excuse but a cancer to their relationship. Bette talked honestly about the fall out of the abandonment of her mother, the pressure of being Melvin’s daughter, the need to control, to reach professional heights, to be on top.
It had been arduous. Painful. Tears were shed, a bucketful, an ocean, a tsunami. They left those sessions feeling stripped of all defenses but hopeful… only to return a week later to peel the band aid off and do it again. It was like pouring lemon juice on a paper cut, except this paper cut was in the aorta of their hearts. This one could bite. But the therapist always managed to end each session with something positive, the healing slow but sure, the pain in the room put down, never to be carried again.
So they preserved. And the sheer vulnerability that was needed…no, demanded… for each session untangled the emotional knots, leaving frayed ends ready to be tied back together. Slowly their tattered relationship begin to mend, to heal, to reform into something different, something stronger. It was a new kind of intimacy, one that had been missing in all the years of their long courtship. This was an intimacy they earned.