June wasn’t born in June. In fact, she was born on the day of the winter solstice: December 21, 1992. So June was an ironic name, a name that didn’t fit her. She had black straight hair, porcelain skin without the mark of a single freckle, a frail frame, and eyes as black as the incessant Arctic night. In essence, she was everything winter.
The reason her name was June was because her mother, an effervescent hippie with light brown hair and a curvy mass, thought that such a name would bring health and vitality to her sickly and jaundiced newborn daughter. Her father, who she had seen only in photographs, was a waif-white depressive like herself. This was likely why her mother named her what she did. She knew of June’s genetic predisposition and thought a feature as pervasive as a name could ward that off.
And yet, the name didn’t ward off the emotional and psychological traits of her father, except during the summer months of June to September when she became somewhat energetic and fit. This year- however- she was the most energetic and fit during the fall, winter, and spring, and not the summer, which made her conclude that her recent depression stemmed from an external experience: a wintery breakup with her sunny boyfriend, named after the biblical Samson. For it was Samson that had brought that June part of her into colorful bloom. But he had left her, and she was withering without the solar energy she had revolved around for the past year.
Once again, June was clad in a black and vacant frown. She was currently unemployed, was no longer singing in a rock band, and spent her days lying in bed vacantly staring at the ceiling. When she ate, it was very little: a bowl of cereal, some carrots here, some celery there. Not even dark chocolate or lukewarm black tea could comfort her. The last time she ate chocolate or drank tea was the morning of their initial parting. That day, she began to feel like a long strip of Velcro being slowly and painfully peeled away from its companion. It was then that June became certain that her father was wintery like her; for her relationship with Samson had taught her that opposites attract and build fortunate partnerships.
However, they don’t often stick together. And the unsticking is messy.
On a Sunday morning, June ran into Samson’s equally bright sister at the grocery store. She had run out of cereal, carrots, and celery.
“June,” his sister said in surprise, “Nice to see you.”
“Great to see you too, Mary.”
“How are you?”
“Good,” June replied, her voice hoarse because she hadn’t spoken to anyone in four days.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t stay to chat. I’m in a bit of a rush.”
“Oh, no worries. Me too,” Mary said with a relieved expression.
“Best to you and the family.”
“You too, June!”
And June was on her way to the cashier without cereal, carrots or celery.
Samson’s family never liked June. They were all sun and June was the rain that quenched their shine. Samson had told her that he liked her for who she was, darkness and all. In fact, particularly because of the darkness and all. See, the thing about perpetually shiny people is that they intermittently burnout from the inside, and during those times they can only find relief with a non-shiny person. June had happened to meet Samson during that time of burnout in his life. His family didn’t understand the psychological extent of his burnout, however, and they feared that she had the potential to extinguish not only his light, but the external brightness of the entire family.
Those who are sunny on the outside mainly care about the external.
A week after encountering her ex’s sister, June was off to the local pharmacy. She hadn’t bled in over two months.
The girl at the counter glanced wordlessly at her black baggy clothes, her pale sweaty skin, and her greasy black hair. She was obviously at a loss of what to say. Congratulations is a bit too sunny of a word for someone like June. They ended up sharing price and platitudes and June briskly left the store and returned to her dark cave of a room.
Two pink lines informed her that she was pregnant.
For the first month, June did nothing about this. She thought she would naturally miscarry due to her unhealthy, depressive ways. But she gradually began to gain energy, and once she started eating her skin took on a flushed glow and her body became less waiflike. Her conclusion was that the growing fetus was sharing its sunny energy with her.
She got a job at a local café and began writing again. Despite the cold nights and diminishing sunlight, life around her seemed summery.
On the first day of fall, June finally built the courage to meet Samson. By then, she had become rosy cheeked and plump with vigor. He had cut his long blond hair into a crew cut (he had been incrementally shortening his hair length since he met her) and was shockingly skinny. It was as if- like his biblical namesake- his hair was his life force.
“June, you look great,” he said as he gave her an awkward hug.
“Thanks, I’m pregnant actually.”
“Oh, congratulations,” he said with a shocked and sunny smile. “Who’s the father?”
“Oh,” he said, his cold interior seeping through his warm exterior, “Oh.”
“I’m keeping the baby. But don’t worry. I’m not asking for anything, even money. I just wanted to let you know.”
“June, I just don’t know what to say. I mean, I’m dating someone at the moment and it’s getting serious.”
“Yes, I heard. Don’t worry. As I said, I’m not asking you for help or money.”
“Okay, but I should help you out some way.”
“However you feel. I just thought you should know. I didn’t want you to find out somehow and be shocked.”
That was the last time they spoke, which is what June had hoped for. They were finally free of each other’s grip, and she could carry out the pregnancy and her life as she wished. Before that, she was like Delilah, stripping Samson of his glorious mane of golden hair and- subsequently- his sunny disposition. Now it seemed as if the towers were crumbling in his life, but she was safe, far away from the destruction. And he would be safe once more. Soon his hair would grow back and he could break down the prison he was in- hopefully without fatal consequences.
June finished a sunny pregnancy and had her cherub-like, black-haired baby after a quick, pleasant labor of four hours. She named her daughter March, hoping that- like her appearance- she could branch both worlds: the dearth of winter and the vitality of summer.
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Very good story! Congrats 👊🏻
Thank you Elizabeth. I had fun writing it.