The Collected Accounts of June Bloomer

Across newspapers and television, seventeen year old June Bloomer is being shredded across the country for the cataclysmic events she caused in the quiet town of Johnston's creek. However months after the horror, in that forgettable village, June's only four friends are determined to tell the truth of June from the causalities they received first hand and nothing less.

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7. Entry five:

“June Bloomer.” Mr G called out to the settling class, fighting for his voice across rumours and whispers already starting to spread around the new girl. Fresh meat was a rare delicacy in Johnston’s creek. “Do we have a June Bloomer?” He raised his voice and hands with a new-teacher energy he somehow hadn’t lost in between beginning his career and realizing he probably wouldn’t change lives. It happened to everyone; there were no classroom inspirations. Most teachers in fact were the obstacles in between a student and their enjoyment in pupil’s opinions. Mr G however, had kept a certain charisma you had to admire in the hopelessness of teaching.

I don't mean there aren't teachers who love their job, and I'm not saying there aren't students who don't love what teachers are giving them. What I can confirm, however, was that Johston's creek lacked essentially all of the fighting intellectual spirit that drove them to great grades. It's not about the scores here, it's the connections.

June raised a pale limb up without saying a word, and I caught a look of fresh panic she tried to hold back at being in the spotlight for the instant he looked up at her. It had already pained her enough to waltz up and take the only free desk splat bang at the front of the classroom. Incidentally, the seat next to me. Due to a badly scheduled trip to Nebraska in the summertime, I’d come to school a weak later than everyone else who had had the privilege of marking territory on their seats.

School was very much the lava metaphor. When you first arrive, especially in years like freshman, everyone is running around like crazy, pouring across the school in search of friends and stability. But after a while, the lava cools and finally sticks. If you’re not around for the rush, you end up trying to blend with stiff tar. It’s fair to that say Nebraska, as nice as it was, was not worth sitting in the front of every class I’d enrolled in with all my allies miles to be seen.

Mr G fumbled around with his papers, and didn't notice his new student as she slid into the seat. His shirt was rolled up at the sleeves and the chaos on his desk and improvised look on his face looked compromised, as though today he'd been pulled off the street and asked to teach.

Eventually, he took the register and peered at the unusual new name. I felt strangely protective as he began to read her name aloud. For a short moment, I'd been the only one to know her real name and not the mystery. For one of the rarest times of my time with her, I felt a step ahead of the drip-fed clues.

“Welcome to the class. Class, why don’t we all say a warm hello to June. Or even better, June can come up here and say hello to us first. June?” June shook her head with minimal movement, but Mr G ignored it and ushered her up. Eventually and painstakingly, she walked up and I watched June change for the first time. Maybe she was a Johnston’s Creek girl after all. Soon she stepped in front to face a merciless crowd with a braveness found in battlefields.

“Hi,” Her smile was warm and created little folds on each side of her pink mouth. Her posture was straight and unshaken, and her eyes were bright and unafraid to look every one of her classmates in the eye.

I flinched when that gaze hit me, though the others seemed fairly bothered. Although they were curious about her, they were also preoccupied with their bubblegum they throw across their mouths in loud gestures and the promise of break. “I’m June as you’ll now know. And I just moved here from somewhere you probably haven’t heard of. But that’s okay.” Her hand ached to fumble with her sleeve but she refused it and left the room to silence. 

Mr G, never one for an awkward moment, burst in with suggestions as though deliberately trying to keep her hanging. “What are your hobbies June? What do you like to do?”

“I like to press flowers a lot. Collect things for nostalgia. Watch movies. Read, too.” She chanted out like a beckoning for bullying. June Bloomer was dead in a town this small.

From the word ‘flower’ and ‘read’ the majority of the students slipped their attention from June at to the posters behind her that they’d stared at numerous times. Eventually she was excused to blend back in the class, and I couldn’t concentrate on any sort of tale – no matter how interesting or essential to pass whatever oncoming test - without the heroine drifting into someone like June, fair-haired and fair-spoken.

And then Rose would pop into my head unexpectedly and dissolved my stretching imagination until I was forced back into cruel reality, or more commonly known as Algebra.  She’d mutter a fake but effective warning sign of me running away with myself again, but this was different. I saw the real Rose sitting behind me in the corner of my eye, rapidly scribing the formula with a quick mind probably focusing on multiple issues all at once. My body swivelled around slightly almost to confirm to her that June was different and that everything around her felt different even in corridors I’d walked a thousand times, but Rose having not met June yet didn’t quite catch on. The bell went as June scattered for the next lessons without a word until at last at lunch I caught her attention and asked her if she needed a lunch buddy. A cheap offer, but an invitation nevertheless. We were at the mouth of the school gates, and she grazed her hands on her thighs before making her excuses.

She glanced up at me with a grateful if not verging on pitiful expression. It was hard to think about anything trivial around her. Like how Ky, Rose and Eleanor would probably begin to wonder about where the hell I was. I’d taken ten minutes alone just to find June again after the bell rang. She was surprisingly nimble with her movements and already could fit into the crowd almost perfectly.

 “You don’t have to help me, Michael. I can handle this.”

She suggested a saluting symbol and the widening of her lips before turning around to head out. What she was handling, I thought I had known at the time. It was a new school, with new people, and that was always hard from what I’d heard. I could have left it there, Ambiguousness and June, but I didn’t. Her figure walked away, bag thudding against her hips as they rose and fell rhythmically with whatever song she’d ducked in her ear. I saw the horizon she could have disappeared into, symbolizing the end of our conjoined paths, and squinted my eyes instead to see a tomorrow.

Whether I regret that decision, I couldn’t be so sure anymore.

Rose's edit: Good. Though I'm not that controlling and condescending.

Michael's edit on Rose's edit: Yes, you are. And maybe that salvaged a piece of me eventually so thanks, even though at the time I thought I hated you for it.

Rose's edit on Michael's edit on Rose's edit: Not the right time or place Michael...

Michael's edit on Rose's edit on Michael's edit on Rose's edit: It never is.

 

 

 

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