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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11. Entry nine:

It always felt as though the weather in Johnson’s Creek had its own personality. In the summer, the skies were endlessly blue, as though it was much too lazy in the bright and humid sunlight to drag a thick cloud through its mass. But on days like this, the weather felt desolate and stripped bare. It was the first school day since Aubrie had been gone missing, and she had yet to appear. Across the grounds, there were posters of her sweet face printed everywhere, and Mr. Sommer’s voice appealed across televisions and radios, begging for the return of his often overlooked child. The rest of the sisters didn’t turn up for school, as well as their crowd who were desperately searching for her too. Each felt their own fault, which no matter how irrational helped in the effort to cover every rock of the Mossfield area. June wasn’t at school either and hadn't bothered to text any one of us in her absence. Something about the old times just as a four didn’t feel just right.

“Did anyone notice anything strange about June last night?” Rose raised concern that we all ignored as the school filled out from a miserable day. Maybe Rose was on the right path, I don’t know, but she’d taken a vendetta from day one and at this point we were all a little tired of it. We’d spent the day with a moment of silence for the hope of Aubrie’s return, and collecting the work June couldn’t that day. Classical studies, Art… The teachers seemed off by not only Aubrie’s absence, but June’s. There was no doubt she brought something interesting to the school. She was quiet, mostly, but around her there was this prism of colour and intrigue. Where most of us could only recite names of Van Gogh and Monet, June liked to elaborate on the history of her favourite paintings, her favourite periods which included post-impressionism and had a utopian flair. She always knew a lot of the myths by heart, and could only mime the teacher word by word like learning a script. The teachers thrived of having her, and that day was only the dullest and saddest, which no quick bursts of enthusiasm to chop up the long blocks in any way or shape.

“This has to stop, Rose.” I began, but she brushed me off. Rose was meant to walk home with Eleanor, but she was in no hurry to rush. “Parents are on eggshells.” She shrugged and that was the end of it. Rose loved sharing her views, but the minute it became personal, she froze. I was waiting for the bus, as usual, and the four of us just stood and waited with me, as they did every so often. By then most of the rest of the students had gone were pining for phone signal. They were begging for any news regarding the sister as a town we’d forgotten about. It was funny really then, that Aubrie would probably add up to be the most infamous of the sisters.

When it was too late, of course.

“What? I hardly saw her the whole night, and the party wasn’t that big.” She excused herself.

“Yeah, well I don’t suppose she’d want to spend time with you, considering you’ve never said a kind word.” I defended because in the pit of my stomach I knew it was true. I’d only caught up with June moments before the chaos. Maybe she’d gotten there late, maybe she’d found a friend for the night, or maybe I was being stupid. Only now could I tell you which was which.

“Listen Michael, this isn't a personal attack on you. She may be your girlfriend or whatever-”

“She is not my girlfriend.” I wanted to add a yet to the end just to irritate her, but she hardly gave me the second to say it.

“Whatever. Do you actually know anything about her? Are her parents with her? Where does she live? What has she been doing for the whole of her life? You just saw something interesting in a small town, you don’t know her. None of us do.” Rose’s words hurt too badly, I just got up and left. Ky and Eleanor were silent together, as though they were divisible from us behind a T.V screen, and Rose just pouted and groaned, murmuring how childish I was. My mind was so filled with rage I didn’t think of the practicalities of heading out in the grey-clouded misery of it all, which quickly started to pour violently and soak my largely water-useless clothes. My house was a good few miles away, on a sunny day and sunny spirits, but I had no true intention of heading there just yet.

Firstly, I made a few stops. My bagpack, half empty without gym cargo, was soon filled with finest snacks of the nearby corner store. Of course, it’s not the kind of place you can buy alcohol under age because you can’t even check out your items without someone going; “Hi Michael, looks like your having a little get together tonight, is it with Rose and Ky? How are your folks doing? Let them know I say hi. You know Mrs Dweller hasn’t bought her cigarettes for a week straight, we’re starting to think she’s quitting…”

And all you can do in these moments is smile, back your bag and say yes whenever appropriate. The clerk, who I think is called Mandy or Mindy or something along those lines because people there don’t wear name tags and she’s been wearing her leaver’s sweater since I started Middle school, wishes me off and I take my next stop and buy some flowers. At this point, you might think you know where I’m going with this. And you probably do, too. I was in pursuit of June Bloomer once again, possibly to spite Rose and to cheer myself up, and since I decided it was a good guess to head to the house she’d stood outside all those weeks ago, I then made the miles with some power music and a carefully planned hold of the flowers as not to spoil them in the now drizzling rain or crinkle them in such a close proximity. They weren’t great flowers, just bright little yellow things I couldn’t name to save myself, but they were cheerful enough and more importantly; a considerable amount of neighbours had already placed commiseration orders in the event Aubrie’s hunt didn’t prevail.

Yellow would do just fine. I saw the bus head and each member give me strange looks as I walked out of the florist, and waited with baited breath for whatever news would come out. I don't want you to think that I didn't care about Aubrie of her whereabouts, but this is June’s story. And since she doesn’t relate so much to that particular tale at that particular time, I guess I should overlook it. Instead I’ll focus on more of the epicentre of her; like when I showed up at a door that turned out to not be her’s, and held out a bunch of soggy yellow flowers out to a women four times my age, married twice and highly confused.

“Excuse me?” She furrowed one brow and left me scrambling.

“I’m so sorry; I- I thought June Bloomer lived here.” I immediately apologized, with cheeks reddening with every peer of her glass-rimmed eyes.

“You’re not so wrong.” The women replied. “I have a converted shed out back she’s lodging in. Don’t worry; it’s functioning and well-renovated. Quite comfortable. I assume you’re a friend of June’s, no? Good for you. I was starting to think she didn’t have any. Nice girl mind, but awfully quiet. I’ll show you the way.” The pink of her fluffy nightgown stood out in the dispersing backdrop of the day’s sky as she push aside me and led alone the house that was so much like mine. She opened a little fence and I followed her into the garden, complete with a little koy pond currently fishless, as it had looked to have been for a while now, and in the corner a little building no bigger than a large bedroom with windows covered by pattern curtains and a sweet little door that read ‘WELCOME’ on the front.

“Just knock and let her know you’re here. You’re the Eaton boy, aren’t you? God, I knew you when you were just a tot. Have fun, lord knows June could do with some.”

“Thanks, Mrs….” My brain blanked so I couldn’t even make an educated guess.

“Vale. But call me Moni.” Moni patted my shoulder and left me outside June’s door, where I could hear a hum of music – French sounding, and entirely alien to me  - and it took a great deal of courage to take the knock of faith. The chipping wood paint of the door scratched on my knuckles, but she answered almost immediately. Her hair was pulled back by chopsticks decorated in swirling golden dragons, and wearing a baggy white t-shirt that had a list of names on it that created an albeit lopsided loveheart. My own sketchy heart skipped at the fancy scribed Eaton, crinkled in at the end point. She also had pyjamas bottoms and thermal socks dotted with little icecreams that made you think about how much you loved winter, and the feel of warming up from the cold outside.

“Oh, Michael.” She smiled and eyed the flowers in my hand. “Are those for me?” Her eyes widened excitedly.

“I actually bought them for Moni, but she refused my marriage proposal.”

“Urgh Moni, always stealing the most eligible of bachelors.” June joked and grabbed me by the wrist unexpectedly, nearly making me trip as I stumbled into her home. June’s house can only be described as what I imagine her mind looks like. There was bookshelves crammed full of classics and comic books, a double bed with various quilts and flower shaped pillows, fairy lights decking the entire ceiling and posters and collages that filled the walls so that you’d never tire of things to look at.

“Welcome to my humble abode,” June began, before taking the flowers into water, and by that she meant a tall drinking glass and not a vase. “Make yourself at home.” I picked off the laundry and CDs off the bedside chair and folded into it, admiring the views and how there could be so much life in such a small, unnoticeable thing. “Care for a drink?”

“I actually brought some of my own, if you’d like.” She gracefully accepted the food and chilled the drinks in her pink mini-fridge in the corner. June explained her t-shirt, and how she was an utter sucker for nostalgia. “I wrote the names of all the boys I’ve liked, liked liked, you know? I think it will be fun to look back on later. I noticed then that the heart had been traced in numerous circles, and Michael Eaton didn’t take up too much room on the shape. As she talked she plucked a flower from her make do vase and got out her wooden block I’d learn to be her flower presser. Whatever people may say about June, they can say that she liked flowers an awful lot; but even more she had a habit of pressing them, as though to keep them for a longer piece of forever.

Later we sat sipping them through stripey straws, and as June sat on a beanbag type thing, looking up at the star shaped fairy lights as though they were real constellations. “I think this might be my favourite home so far you know, Moni’s been so good with everything really. She got the wiring and plumbing done, so with the bathroom next door and the little sink it’s like a real home, just condensed.”

“Have you lived in many other places?” I asked as the music shuffled to the Artic Monkeys, and then other bands I couldn’t name but might have heard once. By the end of the songs I could recite the chorus perfectly, because around June I had an inability to not record anything. Maybe that’s what makes me so good for this; who could ask for a witness who can’t forget a single detail? Or better yet, a victim.

“A few, I come and go, really. I’ve got some stuff to do here though, so I plan on staying a while.” She replied casually and left me wondering what ‘stuff’ meant. “Where are your parents?”

Then June almost choked on her drink, and her eyes that were always so light darkened at the very words. “Michael, you’d better learn now that it’s my policy to not talk about my parents.”

And here it is, Ladies and Gentlemen. This was the moment that I realized that all the puzzle pieces of June were jagged. So why didn’t I run? I guess it was in the way the good girls like to fall for the bad boys in films, because they think they can change them. I didn’t so much want to change June as I wanted to understand her. Competitive Michael Eaton had saw all those others names and wanted to get further than any had gone before. Competitive Michael Eaton wanted to be etched on her real heart, and not a t-shirt canvas with a black sharpie pen.

And Ladies and Gentlemen, you’ll soon see where that got me.

Rose’s edit: You always make me out like I’m the bad guy Michael, I’m not that bad.

Michael’s edit on Rose’s edit: Trust me, to June, you were.

Rose’s edit on Michael’s edit on Rose’s edit: I can’t say I regret it now. But good job; you’re doing great.

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