One born on Summer Solstice, one born on Winter Solstice, their names reflecting their season. They are women of medicine, one Western, one Eastern. Their cultures and values clash, and they have yet to figure out how to communicate with one another.
They have been together since 1992, and united when British Columbia legalized gay marriage. They are devoted to each other, even though one’s selfishness threatens their future, while the other’s selflessness threatens their present.
As members of the jury, will they make choices based on the good of the one, or the good of the many? And will they be divided on that as well?
For as long as they had been together, this was the first time Xia recalled such a divide between them. They each knew the other of course, but neither realized how much one ignored what the other put her faith in, until now. The trust that had brought them together was now their tragic irony. They were failing at its greatest test.
The year was 1992, just after Xia’s twenty-eighth birthday, and shortly after she emigrated from China from Canada. She dove in and took to the fast growing internet to find someone she could practice English with and maybe make a friend. Someone she could connect to. And maybe, one day, bare her soul in front of. She had visited a few online chat rooms and had been pleasantly surprised to meet Wynter Hamilton, a witty and beautiful thirty-four year old living in the same city who also enjoyed ice cream and brandy, oceans and sailboats, cheese and movies. They exchanged phone numbers and talked for hours, finding their common ground yet unaware how deep the ground was.
As their friendship grew, and as their affection for the other deepened, a question hung between them in a time when such queries were whispered, hushed, or abandoned altogether. They treaded carefully — small flirtations here, innuendo there. Brushes of a hand on a face. An arm lazily wrapped around a waist, eyes meeting with a plea to see what the other saw, to know what the other knew.
Wynter had been married to a man nearly twice her age and triple her income. It was a marriage of performance, one Wynter had found herself acting in before she’d stopped long enough to think about how she’d ended up there. An unusual response from an otherwise thoughtful person, a response groomed by loneliness, confusion, and doubt. After meeting Xia, Wynter came to understand just what sort of mockery the last twelve years had been. Love, after all, is not on stage. Love is the stage.
During lunches, coffees, and ice cream cones with Xia, Wynter spun tales of unhappiness and regret — wondering why she stayed with her husband, and how could she get out. It was the mesh of Xia’s icy anger at Wynter’s un-lived life and her hot indefinability of her heart’s call that finally broke them both free. Wynter divorced, and she and Xia were free to love as they had been made to, marrying each other when the world finally gave its ok.
The meaning of their given names was a sign to both of them too, even if Wynter didn’t believe in signs. Though her head was logical and methodic, her heart was romanced by the find in her seasonal counterpart. Their hearts entwined when they teased that summer and winter had met at last.
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