Veronika Kent and Laci McMillian are seniors. (Zhou Mi is a seniors)
University of Apple Valley
Esther Dawson-Grey is a freshman
They were in the final countdown, almost. It was Laci and Veronika's senior year. They had checked off most things from their university bucket list including studying abroad, joining a sorority and discovering their sexuality, or lack there of. The only thing left was to graduate.
Veronika had a few more senior art classes and her senior show, however she knew that she was making all As. She knew this because she asked the TA her grade over a cup of coffee.
It wasn't her fault that he thought she was interested in him. She merely wanted to know her grade, drink the new over priced seasonal flavor and
return to the studio to work on her pieces for her senior show.
Laci was nervous, not about graduation, she was doing well in her classes and had been accepted to veterinary school. She had mostly labs and dissecting specimens.
She did have a big final research paper due at the end of the semester, but if she allocated her time correctly she should be able to finish her labs and her paper with plenty of time for editing.
She was nervous about Zhou. After graduation, Zhou would be leaving for a two year teaching stint in Kimikura. The end result would be most of his student loans paid off and some expert teaching experience and training in the rural areas servicing at risk students.
He assured her that he would be returning, but sometimes she couldn't help but wonder if he would prefer staying in Kimikura after his teaching stint. They were not engaged-yet, Zhou would remind her-but it was something they both wanted. Zhou wanted to be stable and be able to provide a good foundation for their family.
Laci didn't see the point, she had her trust fund, but she knew that her trust fund was only so much and would go so far. The lottery winnings were not enough to set her family up for generational wealth, but her parents did a great job of insuring that each child would receive a nice trust fund in addition to their educational expenses paid for.
Across town, Esther was trying to make her bare dorm room feel like a home. She stared at the photo of her family, smiling at the camera. It was bittersweet, being on campus. She was supposed to be happy and anxious to learn, but she felt guilty...for not feeling guilty enough.
She and Breckin had a huge fight. He wanted her to stay in Apple Plains and commute to campus. She thought that was a ridiculous plan.
It was so expensive to commute with the trains and ferries and by the time she got back home, Coraline would be sleep and Esther would have to leave before her daughter woke up in order to make it back to campus on time for class.
It made more sense for her to use the full scholarship and stay on campus, but come home on the weekends.
He had said that she was being selfish, that all she wanted to do was to experience the college life, find a college guy maybe.
He said that she was abandoning them. That she was being a part-time mother and a part-time wife. Only around when it was convenient.
"Can't you see that I'm was doing this for us!" She had yelled. "So that we don't have to raise our family on some farm for the rest of our lives! We can do so much better than that!"
She knew that the words were wrong as soon as she saw his eyes.
"What's wrong with being raised on a farm?" he whispered.
"N...Nothing, it's just...I don't...I want...I mean...Coraline..."
"You do know farmers live on farms, right?"
She nodded, but she didn't know what to think. Of course she knew farmers lived on farms, and raised their families on farms...she just didn't make the connection that she was now a farmer's wife. Not dating a guy who's dad owned a farm, but she was married to a man who worked the land alongside his father. Breckin spent his mornings beating the sun to the fields and didn't come inside until sundown. He worked hard, covered in dirt and mud, his skin baked by the sun every day.
That was supposed to be her world now...but... couldn't he see that she was getting this degree so that he didn't have to work long hours in the sun, coming home with dirt under his nails. They could live in the city, or the suburbs and hire farmhands to tend to the crops. Once she graduated and found a job, he could manage the farmer's market, directing customers to their organic offerings and finish before nightfall. They could have a easier life.