Friday, July 2, 2010

Fiction Friday: Invisibility Cloak Not Necessary, Part 2

Click here to read Invisibility Cloak Not Necessary, Part 1

It’s hard not to be in love with Harry. Everyone is, really. Sure, some of the girls gossip about Ron Weasley’s red hair, but they’re only setting their sights on him as a way to get closer to Harry. Why would any girl in their right mind be attracted to Ron Weasley? Walking ball of disaster, he is. But he’s Harry’s closest friend and that gives his life meaning.

We talked once, Harry and I. On the walk back from Hogsmeade last spring. The entire school was walking in clusters, some larger than others, up the grassy hill. I was by myself, of course, sipping the last of my pumpkin juice and thinking about the way Harry scratches the back of his neck. A few of the first years were walking too close to the Whomping Willow when it decided to take a swing at them. Everyone had the sense to duck except for one clueless boy who got swept up by his robe. The Whomping Willow sent him flying into Draco Malfoy and his thuggish clique. Everybody on the hill started laughing at the sight of this first year boy knocking them down like bowling pins. (I read about bowling in a Muggle book.)

I started laughing too. The day was beautiful, and for a moment I forgot that I had no friends, that my Ravenclaw housemates had collectively decided to leave me a loner rather than include me in their conversations, their world. I laughed for perhaps the first time all year.

And then he was there. Laughing too as he walked right past me. Hermione was whispering something into Ron’s ear, so Harry turned to me and said, “That’ll teach him, huh?”

I froze like an idiot. Harry Potter was talking to me. Offering a connection. It caught me by such surprise I just stared at him, mouth agape, completely confused. I had dreamed about this moment for so long, but it didn’t look like this. I had the conversation planned in my head like a road map. Where I would be, what he would say, how I would relate to him easily and intimately. We’d talk about missing our parents and how we both thought Professor Flitwick was tall for a goblin. It was my fantasy, after all.

But this wasn’t right. I wasn’t prepared for our first conversation to be about something as trivial as the Whomping Williow attacking some clueless first years. So before I knew what was happening, I opened my mouth and said, “No!”

Harry crinkled his brow, taking my outburst as an answer to his question and attempting to understand its meaning. As the realization of what I did started to wash over me, I was rescued when Hermione finished with Ron and possessively grasped Harry’s arm to get his attention. Harry turned away and it was over. The trio walked ahead, deep in conversation, deep in love with each other.

I fell to the ground and buried my face in the warm grass, closing my eyes, cursing my pathetic response time. How many people did Harry Potter talk to outside his inner circle? Not many. But for some otherworldly reason, he turned to me and I blew it. I would always be that weird girl who said “No!” on the walk back from Hogsmeade. My story had been made. My future determined.

I am in love with Harry Potter, but that love will always be mine, never his. I’ll keep it in a jar by my bed, wear it across my shoulders like a cape, bury it deep behind my sad eyes. If the Dark Lord kills him, I’ll be at his funeral. Standing alone in the back, weeping for our missed connection. Ron and Hermione will look over at me and ask each other who I am, but they’ll never really understand. Why should I care if he lives or dies? Harry Potter has no idea who I am.

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