When it was over and OA stepped into the invisible river, it was clear that BBA really had to leave too. In part because she was forced to do it, but in part because she wanted to – had been wanting to for a very long time already, to go on a journey to truly find the things she’d lost not so long ago – oh, brother, why did you have to go first?
So the car was turned up, and after the process, she got some of her money back, and then she hit the road unwilling to look back, at least for a while. Not that her boys weren’t reason enough to come back, it was just that… at this moment… she was better off alone.
Betty’s first stop was the mountains. With all that angel talk, she started to catch herself thinking about all those people who said they could see God when they watched the nature. Well, she didn’t know much about God, but she did find herself trying to see that invisible line between this world and the others, between this universe where she was lonely to one where she wouldn’t be.
Was it what the OA was seeking too?
It wasn’t a good idea to be alone. That was when she figured it was time to go to her cousin’s in California. Maybe the ocean would do her some good.
There was something about the ocean that was overwhelmingly pulling, not in a suicidal way, but in a good one, as if… if you look at it for long enough, and you listen to it closely, you can hear him whisper you secrets (and the ocean was full of them, all right, secrets about lovers and encounters and missing objects. Secrets about its long lost affair with the moon and its constant fights with the shore. It sang songs that many thought were long gone).
She could stay here forever.
“Betty?” BBA’s cousin called from the back porch. Three more steps and they’d stand side by side on the beach’s sand. “There’s a call for you, a boy named Steve?”
That caught her attention, and so she turned around. Steve was one of her four boys, a little troubled, but a good kid all the same. He had taken on OA’s coma the hardest, being the first who connected with her. Betty didn’t want to leave him after fighting so hard for him, but there are some things in life that you just gotta do, like cleaning your dead brother’s apartment and renting it to a stranger.
She went back inside to pick up the phone, trying to prepare herself. Those boys, of course she joined them to be part of something greater, but she wasn’t so sure they held her as such a part of the group as she held them. Who knew what brought Steve to call her, out of all people? Only one way to find out.
“BBA?” He replied. His voice was muffled, as if he had to protect himself to speak, and there was a lot of noise on the other side. “BBA, it’s the OA,” he said. At the mention of Prairie’s real name, Betty’s heart fluttered.
“What about her?” she asked. Unnecessary, Steve would tell her right away.
“She woke up. She’s back. And you should be too.”
He didn’t tell her what was different this time. She guessed she would find out when she got there. He also didn’t wait for her to confirm that she was going, somehow he already knew that would happen. This trip, despite everything Betty tried to say to herself, was just preparation for when it was time to go back. And right now she had some bags to pack.