I feel a sting at the edges of my eyes as I remember back to being so young, and the feeling of her leaving me, and never coming home again.
”Take a minute, Bette.” Joyce looks away from me as the door to her office opens and Caitlin, her secretary, brings in a tray with a bowl of fruit, an urn of coffee and several bottles of chilled mineral water.
”I’m not the most maternal person, but let me veer off character here and put some strawberries and blueberries in a bowl for you. Just take your time.” Joyce and Caitlin exchange what appears to be a, ”Hold my calls, please,” look.
”And then there’s this business of the press conference today – the first day of shooting for Tina’s movie, ”Les Girls”. That’s upon us like a petulance.” I hear the emotion still in my voice.
”Bette, don’t aggravate yourself with that right now. Movie nonsense goes on in this town 24/7.”
”Do you know a PR handler and fixer named, Claire Reilly? Tina hired her to handle our engagement announcement amidst the brouhaha over the movie.”
”I think she’s that rascal, Buck Reilly’s kid.” Joyce gestures to a photograph of her and The Clinton’s hanging on her wall. ”I wonder if Phyllis’ daughter knows her? But Molly’s a few years younger.”
”She is.” I dry my eyes with my handkerchief. ”You know, Joyce, I was thinking about it on the way over here, and while my timing was urgently my own, and in light of the movie’s attention if I’d been reasonable I guess I should have waited. But I felt a door open between me and Tina last week, and I was going to be damned to the hell of eternity if I let it close on me again.”
”I understand the feeling. Women get under our skin.” She hands me a tray with coffee, Pellegrino and fruit. ”Surgical removal is painful and almost impossible. Many have tried.”
”But you’re right though. I haven’t stopped long enough to think about it.” I balance several blueberries in a silver spoon. ”She was always on my mind. For years and years in my dreams I searched for my mother – frantically so when I was young girl.” I drop the spoon back into the bowl and look over at Joyce. ”Then there was this threshold with Tina at the SheBar – of all the unlikely places.” I laugh to myself. ”It opened, she came home with me and we’ve been together ever since.”