“It’s just that I can never understand why people get so caught up in certain things while minimizing others…like the issue of divorce for instance.
“What about it?”
“What do you think is harder to explain to a child, same sex marriage or divorce? And this could go both ways, divorce in general, between gay or straight?”
Bette’s eyes firmly held James’s for a while, until she swallowed and her eyes lowered. The conversation just went into a murky territory, one which she was totally unprepared for and she tried to ponder on the question, but it was one which required very little thought because life was a living illustration of the answer.
Unfortunately, someday, she has no idea when, but someday she will have to explain the issue of divorce to Angelica. She will have to communicate their own circumstances to her daughter. Angelica was born to divorced same sex parents and nothing will be harder to explain than how their divorce came about.
“Divorce.” She shook her head. It took her a moment but she finally answered. “Divorce would be harder to explain.”
James stared at his boss. Right before his eyes, he watched her retreat into herself, into her own life and into her own past.
“More often than not same sex marriage represents love. More times than not divorce means… unforgiving and resentment. Divorce means at one point two people loved each other but later found it impossible to come to an understanding…even for the sake of a child.” Bette nodded her head, honoring her own reasoning. Her voice lowered. “Yeah. Divorce is much harder to break down to a six year old, harder than the concept of same sex marriage, even harder than the concept of race.”
“I agree.” James lowly added in return, keeping quiet as he uncomfortably watched his boss.
And by the time she came out of herself and looked back at James, her eyes awkwardly met James’ again. Bette quickly realized she had not only internalized the question, but she had also personalized her answer.
James looked away, saving her the embarrassment of knowing he had seen right through her private moment.
He hated himself for a second. His boss has openly lived the gamut of everything touchy and considered unacceptable, divorce, infidelity, staying with the cheating partner while the life partner was pregnant… As such, conversations have so many sensitive territories with Bette and he realized he should have thought of the question before asking. Sometimes he hates these moments. He hates that he has the privilege to read everything on her face. Sometimes the privilege was such a burden, but it came with the territory, her territory. He has been with her through all of it – before Candace, after Candace, with Tina, and now without Tina and sometimes he downright hate that he knew so much.
James awkwardly smiled and looked away. “Ahm….” He got up. “I better get back to my desk.
“Yeah. Okay.” Bette threw her head back and closed her eyes. She sighed heavily as James closed her door behind him.
One Month Later
“Oh my goodness little one, will you just stand still for a minute?”
“Okay.” A laughing Angelica stood still for Sonya and Sonya did her best job of wrapping the straps of the dance shoes securely around Angelica’s legs.
She could only laugh when as soon as she let go the wiggling instantly resumed and Angelica twirled out of her hands and pivoted across to stand in front of the full length mirror.
Sonya stood back and watched with a smile as the six year old looked up and down in the mirror, admiring herself.
“Look Sonya.” Angelica got up on her pointy toes, then twirled, then tilted to her left side and raised her leg to perfectly point to the ceiling.
“Plie, Plie” Angelica lowered her leg to show off another step. “One, two, three…plie, plie.