Stations of Life


"Juniper “June” and Eloise have been together since they were fifteen, and have been married for four years. When they first became friends, June fell in love with Eloise’s bubbly personality, but now, she can only see her wife’s flaws: recklessness, impulsiveness, and the ability to make any situation more complex than it should be. Fed up, June declares she wants a divorce and leaves.

But the universe has other plans for her.

When June boards the light rail home one day, she falls asleep and wakes up in a realm comprised of her own memories. Unable to escape, she’s guided by a younger version of herself, who she calls “Young June.” Although June is certain she wants to end her marriage, her younger self tries to convince her otherwise by showing her major events in her history with Eloise.

But as their journey continues, June grows more stubborn and fails to recognize her own mistakes. Will she ever own up to the things she did wrong? Will she want to reconcile with Eloise? Or is it too late?"

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Chapter 1
When I arrived at work this morning, my coworkers made no mention of my messy hair and the fact that I was wearing the same clothes I wore on Monday. Same blue blazer and black pants, but with little spritzes of cinnamon perfume soaking into the polyester fabric. Okay, it wasn’t a perfume, it was air freshener, but who was going to know the difference? Since I left my wife, I’d been staying with my best friend Charlie, who lives in an apartment in downtown St. Paul. While his apartment has been newly renovated, which is nice, unfortunately he doesn’t have laundry in the actual building. I haven’t had an opportunity to go back and pick up more of my things, nor have I been able to run a load of laundry. Last weekend I was so numb, I just stared at the wall till I memorized the location of every stain and chip. After leaving my backpack at my desk, I made a beeline for the break room. I fumbled through the cabinets until I located my coffee mug, the one that Eloise bought me when I first started here. It’s an obnoxious orange color, meant to mimic a prescription bottle. On the side is a white label for the patient, Mr. Java Joe Espresso. Honestly, I don’t know why Eloise got this for me. It’s not like I’m addicted to caffeine or anything. She’s just the type of person who can’t resist buying gag gifts. On the bottom of the mug she wrote her name in black Sharpie, along with a little heart. I helped myself to a cup of coffee in the kitchen and rolled my eyes at my younger coworkers who continued to use the Keurig. All these different flavors, and for what? Do people honestly drink coffee for the taste? And do they understand how all these K-cups pile up in the landfills, since they aren’t recyclable? An environmentally conscious rage electrified every fiber in my body. Suzie is one of my younger coworkers, a recent graduate of Augsburg University, a private university in the Twin Cities. She’s fairly sweet, somewhat naive. I watched as she made herself a cup of caramel-apple coffee. Nasty. “June, how are you doing today?” Suzie asked, her nervous voice betraying her seemingly genuine smile. Yes, let’s all continue to dance around the elephant in the room. I clearly am going through some sort of major life crisis. The cinnamon air freshener did nothing to fool you, Suzie. “I’m doing fine. You?” “A little bit tired. This is my second cup of coffee this morning,” she said, politely covering her mouth with her hand as she yawned. “My roommates kept me up late again.” “Don’t they have work?” “They claim that they do, but honestly, they party so often that I’m starting to doubt it. Thank God my lease is almost up. I’m going to try to find my own place.” “No roommates?” “Thankfully I’ve cut down on my loan debt enough that I think I’d be comfortable going without roommates.” “That’s great. Well, best of luck to you.” “Oh, June, by the way, I think your wife came by the office on Friday looking for you.” Suzie tapped the edges of her mug, averting her eyes. “We’re getting a divorce,” I told her flatly. Suzie’s eyebrows rose. “Oh my God, June, I’m so sorry.” “Yeah. She has not been taking it well, clearly. I’ve had to block her number from my phone because she wouldn’t stop talking. Did she say anything to you?” “She wanted to make sure that you got your meds. It was kind of weird so I didn’t pry. I gave the bag of meds to Vanessa at the front desk. She locked them up.” My cholesterol medication. s**t. I haven’t taken it for a few days. My cardiologist will be pissed. “She also mentioned something about a meeting? Or like a family reunion? She said it was happening on Wednesday.” Goddamn, I forgot about that too. Tomorrow night my grandparents are hosting a reunion at Mancini’s, in celebration of their fiftieth wedding anniversary. What am I going to do? Should I cancel? Or do I tell Eloise not to show up? Ha. What a laugh. It’s not like she’ll listen to me. Once she gets an idea in her head, she’s going to see it through. I sighed, closing my eyes. I drank the rest of my coffee. Suzie gently reached out and touched my arm. “I’m sorry,” Suzie whispered. “I mean, I’ve never been married, but I went through a bad breakup a few years back.” “I don’t want her to have to keep coming back to the office,” I said with a heavy sigh, scratching the back of my head. “It’s going to make things awkward.” “Do you have a divorce lawyer? I would tell your divorce lawyer that she keeps stopping by and bothering you.” I laughed nervously, twisting the end of my ponytail. “Actually, I haven’t…I haven’t contacted a lawyer yet. I only told her last week that I wanted a divorce.” “Oh.” “Are you supposed to get the divorce lawyer first, and then say you want the divorce? This is my first divorce. I don’t really know how any of this works. Maybe I should have asked my dad before I did this.” My parents were divorced. “I mean, I would get one as soon as possible at the very least. And if she keeps harassing you, you can document it. In a courtroom, that should make you look better.” Jeez. I don’t mean to cut Eloise down. She’s already at her lowest point. But I guess that’s the nature of divorcing someone. I nodded, setting my empty coffee cup in the sink and filling it with water. “You said that you wanted to go to law school one day, right, Suzie? You think you’ll be a divorce lawyer?” “Corporate law is where the money’s at. I could be a divorce lawyer, but I think it would just be too sad. Being around people who are falling out of love and losing each other. And the kids, too. I babysat for a family for a few years when I was in college, and when the parents got a divorce, those kids were inconsolable.” Suzie shakes her head, running her fingers through a strand of her strawcolored hair. “Thank God Eloise and I don’t have kids. She wanted them, but we were never stable enough to have them.” Worse, we would’ve had to do some sort of expensive-ass IVF treatment, or go through the difficult process of getting licensed and certified to foster or adopt, which comes with its own set of expenses. I didn’t even know if we would be eligible to start that process. In her freshman year of college, Eloise had spent a handful of nights in jail after some reckless partying. About a year ago, she mentioned that she really wanted to have a baby, but given that she has outstanding debt, we dismissed that idea for the time being. “I’m sorry to hear that, June.” “Yeah, well…” I wanted this conversation to end. “You know what, Suzie, I gotta get to work. I promised one of our contacts that I would give him a call this morning.” “The guy who had complaints about the pamphlet colors? That dude who runs the pet shop?” “Yeah. The one who agreed to Yusef’s logo design, and now decided that he thinks turquoise is an ‘obnoxious’ color.” “I like turquoise! I think it’s fresh.” “I spoke to Frank about the guy. We might actually need to just send him on his merry way or refer him to a competitor. He’s been a nightmare to work with.” I rinsed out my coffee cup and left it on the drying rack. “Good luck!” Suzie called out as I left the room.

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