Our Reunion

Chapter 43

Tina called Vivian to apprise her of the situation and let her know she wouldn’t be at work in the morning. Then, after retrieving her backpack from the car, she attempted to relax on the couch by reading a book. Finding it impossible to concentrate on the words, she gave up and tried the TV instead. She flipped through the channels idly before turning it off and sighing. Might as well go in there and watch over her T, cause that’s all you really want to do. She went into the bedroom and moved the rocking chair around to the left side of the bed, where she would have a clear view of her partner. A sense of peacefulness descended over Tina as she sat in the darkened room. This is more like it. This is where I belong.

It was 3 A.M. when the first sound of distress was heard. Tina was out of the chair and next to the bed in an instant. Her eyes were accustomed to the dark and she had no trouble seeing the pained expression on Sam’s face. “Are you alright?”

“I’m sliding off these pillows… my side hurts.”

Tina carefully helped the younger woman into a more inclined position. “Is that better?”

“Yeah… thanks.”

“Time for another pill?”

Sam nodded.

Tina got a fresh glass of water and handed it to the blonde, who promptly took her medicine. “Please… stay with me?”

“I haven’t left. I’ve been sitting right here…”

“No. I mean in the bed.”

“I’m afraid I’ll bump into you. I… I don’t want to hurt you.” Never again.


Unable to refuse the heartfelt plea, Tina relented and climbed onto the bed. She lay alongside Sam and carefully draped her arm across the smaller woman’s body. “Is this okay?”

“Mmm hmm.”

Exhausted, Tina closed her eyes.

Sam heard her partner’s breathing immediately deepen. She placed her hand over the larger one resting on her stomach. I know you won’t hurt me.  She smiled and gazed at the beautiful woman slumbering next to her until she couldn’t keep her eyes open anymore.

And so they slept.

Lisa kissed Mike good-bye. “Have a good day!” She waved to her children and husband as the minivan backed out of the driveway. Climbing the steps to the garage apartment, she hoped her sister or Tina was awake.

She tapped lightly on the door. When there was no answer, she used her key to go in. The morning light poured through the windows revealing an empty living room. They must still be asleep. Lisa tiptoed to the bedroom and peeked in. Well… isn’t this a sight? Sam looked the same as when she had last seen her, propped against the pillows and holding the teddy bear. But now, Tina was curled up beside her with a protective arm wrapped around her waist. Both women were sound asleep.

They’ll be hungry when they wake up. I’d better go get their breakfast ready. Lisa jotted a short message on a pad of paper that was lying on the desk. She put the note under the bottle of pills on the nightstand before quietly slipping out of the apartment.

About an hour later, Lisa’s phone rang.


“Hi, Sis.”

“Good morning! How are you feeling?”

“A little better, thanks.”

“I made some breakfast. Are you hungry?”


“Would you ask Tina to come over and give me a hand carrying it?”


“All right. I’ll see you in a few minutes.” Lisa hung up the phone. She pushed the switch on the coffeemaker and a fresh pot began to brew while she got busy preparing a breakfast tray. Shortly thereafter, there was a knock on the slightly ajar kitchen door.


“C’mon in, Tina.”

“Samantha said you needed help?”

“Yeah. I just have a few more things to do and we’ll be ready to go.”

Tina leaned against the counter and watched as Lisa buttered some toast. “This is very nice of you. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.”

“I… umm… also want to thank you for yesterday… with your mom.”

Lisa turned and faced her former teammate. “It isn’t often that I get a chance to intervene on my sister’s behalf. Has she told you what’s been going on?”

“She said your mother doesn’t accept that she’s gay… and… umm…she’s not going over there for the holidays.”

“There’s a bit more to it. Would you like some coffee?”


Lisa poured each of them a cup of the steaming liquid. “Let’s sit down for a minute, okay?”

“Okay.” Uh oh…

The women sat at the table.

“When Sam came out to Mom, they had a huge argument. My sister made me promise not to get involved. She felt it was her battle to fight and didn’t want anyone else getting caught in the crossfire.” Lisa sighed. “It hasn’t been easy.”

Tina nodded in understanding.

“Has she told you our parents are divorced?”


Lisa took a sip of her drink. She seemed to be having difficulty deciding what to say next.

“Look.” Tina started to get up. “This is really none of my business…”

Might as well take the direct approach. “Do you love my sister?”

Tina sank back into her chair. “Wh… what?”

“Are you in love with Sam?”

After fidgeting for a few moments, Tina stared into her coffee and softly answered, “I… umm… yes.”

“Then it IS your business. You’re part of the family now.” Lisa paused, waiting for the dark-haired woman to look at her, before adding sincerely… “And I’m glad.”

They drank their coffee in silence until Lisa continued in a voice tinged with sadness.

“The divorce was arduous for everyone. I’ll let Sam tell you the details when she’s ready, but what I want you to know is… our mother never really recovered from it. She’s become terribly embittered these last few years. She hasn’t always been like this.”

“I figured as much. Anyone who raised two of the nicest people I’ve ever met can’t be ALL bad.”


Tina shrugged. “I know when your life suddenly changes… it can be hard to… adjust.”

“Yes, that’s true.” I’ll bet you’re an expert on the subject. “Sam had a very tough time dealing with the divorce. On top of that, she’s been determined to work things out with Mom on her own… and she’s ended up carrying the burden all by herself…”

“Not anymore.”

“You’re right.” Lisa smiled. “I was surprised when she asked me to call you from the hospital. I didn’t think she’d do that with our mother there. And then, even MORE surprising, was when you arrived, Mom stayed!”

“Yeah. And things rapidly went from bad to worse.”

“Well, to put it in perspective, you’re the only one of Sam’s girlfriends Mom has ever met. Whenever my sister would visit, she went alone and there was absolutely no discussion about her being gay. You are the first flesh and blood personification of Sam’s lifestyle she’s ever seen. And, I’m sorry to say, you’ve had to bear the brunt of the years of animosity she’s fostered about it.”

“I can handle it. I don’t care if she hates me… but Samantha… she doesn’t deserve to be treated like that.”

“Well, whatever transpired between Mom and you has definitely started something…”

“I’m sorry. I never intended…”

“No… I mean in a GOOD way. She asked me about you when I drove her home last night. The fact that she would show any interest in who you are is a big step. And, it was the first time in ages we’ve talked about Sam. So, I should be thanking YOU.”

“I… I don’t want Samantha to miss the holidays with her family.” I know what that’s like.

“I can tell you, from years of experience, you have a snowball’s chance in Hell of changing Sam’s mind when she makes a decision.”

“She certainly can be obstinate.”

“But it some cases,” Lisa grinned and looked pointedly at the woman across from her, “that’s a good trait, wouldn’t you agree?”

Tina felt a blush start to creep up her neck to her face. How much has Samantha told her about us? The phone rang, saving her from having to respond to the question.

“Hello?” Lisa listened to the caller and rolled her eyes. “Yes, Sam. We’re on our way.” She hung up and chuckled. “It seems we have a hungry patient waiting for us.” She used a potholder to take a shallow metal pan from the oven. Pulling back the tin foil, she transferred scrambled eggs and bacon onto two plates. After placing the dishes and silverware on the tray, she covered the whole thing with a clean dishtowel.

Tina rose from her seat. “What do you need me to do?”

“Would you carry the pot of coffee? And grab that trivet so we have something to put it on when we get over there.”

Tina picked up the items. She led the way, handling the door duties because the other woman had her hands full with the tray.

“Room service!” Lisa placed the breakfast tray across her sister’s lap and removed the towel.

“Thanks! I’m starving.”

“You ARE feeling better, then.”

Tina put the trivet on the desk and placed the coffeepot on it.

“Coffee!” Sam’s eyes lit up. “It smells good!”

“I’ll go get the cups.” Tina headed toward the kitchen.

Lisa looked down at her sister. “I think you’re right.”

“About what?”

“She’s a keeper.”

Sam’s face broke into a huge grin. “I’m very happy you think so.”

Tina returned with the coffee cups and poured everyone a drink. She sat in the rocking chair and balanced her dish on her lap. Lisa stayed and kept them company while they ate, telling funny stories about her sons’ latest antics. The hungry women cleaned their plates.

“That was great, Sis. Thanks.”

“Yes, it was.” Tina put her empty dish on the tray with Sam’s.

“Well, as much as I’ve enjoyed chatting, I need to get to work. I told them I’d be in by 11:00.” Lisa got up from the end of the bed where she had been sitting. “Mom called this morning. She said she’d be over around noon to see you.”


“Tina?” Lisa lifted up the tray. “If you’ll bring the coffeepot and open the doors for me again, I’d appreciate it.”


They took the things back to the house and quickly loaded the dishwasher.

“I need to get going.” Lisa collected her briefcase and purse from the counter. “Thanks for the help.”

“Anytime.” Tina followed the woman outside. “I was wondering… I wanted to cook something special for Samantha. Does she have a favorite food?”

“That’s easy.” Lisa laughed. “If you really want to score points…” Not that you NEED any… “make homemade chocolate chip cookies.”

“I was hoping for something a bit more… nutritional.”

“She loves the typical Thanksgiving fare.” Lisa smiled as she got into the car. “And I believe she’s available for dinner on that day.”

“Thanks… for everything.” Tina jogged up the stairs. Hmm… Thanksgiving dinner…

Having had several cups of coffee, Sam was alert, even though she had taken a pain pill earlier. Tina helped her wash up and put on fresh clothes before shepherding her directly back to bed.

Tina settled into the rocking chair again. “Umm… Samantha?”


“What do you think about going to my place? My bed… I can incline it so you can sleep comfortably. And… umm… if you want… on Thursday, I could make a Thanksgiving meal.”

“That sounds great! Let’s go!”

“Hold it.” Tina held her hand out like a stop sign. “Your mother is coming to visit you. Remember?”

“Oh… yeah. But will you pack some things for me while we’re waiting?”


“There’s a duffel bag in the closet.”

Tina got the bag and filled it according to Sam’s instructions.

“I’d like to take my guitar, too.”

“Your guitar?”

“I’ll have to have SOMETHING to do when you’re at work, right?”

“I… I wasn’t planning on going to work.”

“You said it’s been very busy,” Sam said logically. “Vivian probably needs you there.” And you’d go stir- crazy sitting around babysitting me all day.

“I guess so.”

“I’ll more than likely spend most of the time sleeping. I’ll be fine.”

 “Do you PROMISE to call me at the office if you need anything?”

“I promise.”

“All right.” Tina took the luggage and strode toward the living room. “I’ll go put your stuff in the car.”

Sam called after her, “The case for the guitar is in the corner. I’ll need the little practice amp, too.”

She does NOT know the meaning of traveling light. Tina slung the jam-packed bag over her shoulder and held the guitar case in one hand, the amplifier in the other. She lumbered down the stairs and put the things in her trunk.

As she closed the lid, a car pulled into the driveway.

Sam’s mother got out of the vehicle and headed directly for the steps to the apartment.

“Mrs. Whitwell…”

The woman stopped, but continued to face away from Tina. “Yes?”

“I’m sorry if I was out of line yesterday. I meant no disrespect.”

Mrs. Whitwell turned around. She knew the apology was genuine… she had a feeling this was a person who wouldn’t say anything she didn’t mean. “The whole situation has been… difficult. I wasn’t very pleasant, either.”

Tina nodded, acknowledging the return apology, such as it was.

“I’d like to ask you something, if you don’t mind.”

“Okay.” Today certainly is a day for questions. If she asks me if I’m in love with her daughter…

“What does YOUR mother think about… you… and Samantha?”

“Umm… my mother and I haven’t spoken in a long time…”

“Does she know you’re… gay?”


“I see. But you feel qualified to tell ME how I should handle this?”

“Mrs. Whitwell, I don’t have any idea what it’s like to be a mother. However, I do know what it’s like to be a daughter who hasn’t fulfilled her mother’s expectations. It’s hard to live your life cognizant of the fact, each and every day, that you’re not what your mother may have hoped or dreamed. Nonetheless, you keep on going… striving to do the best you can under the circumstances. It never seems to be enough, though.” Tina looked at her feet.  “But a daughter… still needs to feel love and acceptance for who she is. Without it… she carries a hurt deep in her heart. It’s not something Samantha should have to endure. She’s good, and kind, and… umm… she loves you very much.”

“I appreciate your honesty.”

Tina raised her eyes and the women regarded each other with a newfound, mutual measure of respect.

Mrs. Whitwell turned and began ascending the stairs.

Tina ran her hand through her hair. Whew… round three has concluded. She sat on the steps to wait. This family thing is WAY too stressful. How in the world do people deal with it all the time?

After a short visit, Sam’s mother left, giving Tina a perfunctory nod as she passed. The tall woman immediately went back into the apartment. I hope they didn’t argue again. As she entered the bedroom, she saw her partner wiping her eyes with her shirtsleeve. Oh, no…  “Are you all right?” She got the box of tissues from the bathroom and handed it to Sam.


“Why are you crying?”

“My… mom…” The blonde sniffled.

“What about her?” I never should have gotten involved. I’ve only made things worse.

“She… she told me she loved me.”

Relief flooded through Tina as she sat on the edge of the bed. “Of COURSE she loves you.” Thank you, Mrs. Whitwell.

“She said she needs some time to process the whole thing, but she doesn’t want to become estranged from me.”

“Well… that’s good news, isn’t it?”

“Yes.” Sam took hold of Tina’s hand. “She said you talked to her.”

“Umm… yeah… a little bit.”

“What did you say?”

“I don’t know. I kind of rambled on about mothers and daughters. I’m not sure I made a whole lot of sense.”

“I don’t think anyone would ever accuse you of rambling.” Sam smiled. “Whatever you said… it reached her. This is the first real progress we’ve made since I told her I was gay.”

“So, are you going over there for Thanksgiving?”

“No. I said I still wouldn’t go without you. She’s not quite ready for that yet.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right. I like the idea of us having our first Thanksgiving together alone. Don’t you?”

“Truthfully? Yeah. That whole family thing can be a little… overwhelming.”

“Then it’s working out perfectly, isn’t it?”

“Yes, I think it is.” She leaned forward and kissed Sam. “Are you ready to head over to my place?”

“Mmm hmm. Maybe one more kiss before we go?”

It was several minutes later when Tina helped the younger woman down to the car and seat belted her in. “Comfortable?”

Sam hugged the teddy bear she had refused to leave behind. “Yes.”

Tina pulled the BMW out of the driveway. Sam was resting with her eyes closed and by the time they merged onto the highway, she appeared to be asleep. A familiar song came on the radio and Tina turned up the volume slightly.

She’s got a way about her
I don’t know what it is
But I know that I can’t live without her
She’s got a way of pleasin’
I don’t know what it is
But there doesn’t have to be a reason, anyway

The dark-haired woman began singing along softly.

“She’s got a smile that heals me
I don’t know why it is
But I have to laugh when she reveals me
She’s got a way of talkin’
I don’t know what it is
But it lifts me up when we are walking, anywhere

She comes to me when I’m feeling down
Inspires me without a sound
She touches me and I get turned around”

She became caught up in the music and her voice became stronger as she sang with emotion.

“She’s got a way of showin’
How I make her feel
And I find the strength to keep on going
She’s got a light around her
And everywhere she goes
A million dreams of love surround her, everywhere

She comes to me when I’m feeling down
Inspires me without a sound
She touches me and I get turned around

She's got a smile that heals me
I don't know why it is
But I have to laugh when she reveals me
She's got a way about her
I don't know what it is
But I know that I can't live without her

When Tina reached for the knob to turn the radio down, her hand was caught in mid-air by her partner. Surprised, she looked over and saw green eyes full of love shining back at her.

She drove the remainder of the way to Tampa with one hand on the steering wheel, the other entwined with Sam’s.

Neither one spoke.

They didn’t need to.

To be continued…

Return to The Bard's Corner