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Chapter 2: Define Courage
Sometimes I wish I could go back and time and change what happened. If I could I wouldn't be in this mess. I wouldn't have let her continue with her idea. If I had stopped her none of this would have happened. If I have known, maybe things would be different. Maybe I could be living a normal life back home where I belong; I wouldn't be here in a strange place filled with people I donít know.
Itís strange to think how one minute someone can be there and the next minute they are gone. Before you can even blink or laugh about their jokeÖor even say goodbye, but thatís life. And who said life was fair? I used to think that it was, back home when I took everything for granted, everything always being my way. I learned the hard way that that isn't how it works in the real world. Itís a cold world out there. In reality things donít always work out the way that you want them to. People die, you cry and you eventually get over it. You think about them when you lie in bed at night, unable to sleep, but you carry on with your life just how you know they want you to. The problem is: I canít let go. I canít move on. And I canít forget.
I suppose you could say I don't trust easily. After my sister died, I couldn't cope. I couldn't take it. I couldn't the sadness and the loneliness. Sheíd been there my entire life. And the second she was gone. Just like that. This type of thing is hard to cope with. It messes with your mental state and it changes your personality. I used to be outgoing and less shy. Now all I do is hide in my shell, hide from everything and everyone. Itís what I've become accustomed to.
I stood at the side of the Great Hall waiting for them to be sorted into their houses. This was the first time in a while that I had been able to organize my thoughts and really think about what happened. Unfortunately I didn't really want to think about what happened. It only prolonged the agony of the whole situation.
Even though the sorting ceremony was for the first years I could feel every eye on me. I was the newbie, the sixth year student that was transferring to this school, and I didn't like it. It was bad enough knowing that I had to come to this school. They weren't outright staring at me, but I could see them stealing glances at me at every possible moment, and I hated it. I hate being the center of attention, but what I really hate is what comes with it; sympathy. Recently I've noticed that everywhere I go I attract unwanted sympathy and attention.
Everything seemed so calm and surreal. Sure the Great Hall keeps erupting in cheers and applause when a house gained a new member, but everyone seemed to be so relaxed. Itís different than what Iíd become accustomed to. All of these people just seemed to be carefree. I envied them.
I watched as one of the house tables erupted into cheers and applause as one of the students was sorted into their house. I scanned the crowd wondering which table I would be sitting at soon. Iím not even sure if I fit into any of the houses. Iím not a pureblood (or arrogant), Iím not smart and Iím definitely not brave.
My mom thinks Iíll get Gryffindor, since that was, supposedly, what her house was. Iím not even sure I believe her; sheís never talked about her former life before. The only reason why I knew she wasn't American was by her accent. Even though sheís lived in the United States for at least sixteen years she still has a British accent.
Now that Iím here, where my mother grew up, I've started to wonder why she left in the first place. She never seemed happy back in the United States. She always seemed so lost and confused back home, but here, she seems more confident...yet scared. It worries me a bit. I feel like she might be hiding something from me.
ďMiss Emily Brown,Ē I heard the professor saying ďIs transferring here from Salemís Witchís Institute and will be joining the sixth years.Ē he turned and gestured for me to come over to the sorting hat.
I took a deep breath and looked around the Great Hall as I walked up toward the staff table. This time they were obvious. I could feel their eyes burning into my back as they watched me. It was dead silent.
I wiped my palms on the inside of my robes nervously. This was it. For some reason I felt like my placement would change my life and maybe, just maybe I might get the answers I've been looking for years.
I climbed the couple of stairs to the stool and sat down, my heart beating a mile a minute. The last thing I saw before the hat slipped down over my eyes was the twinkle of the night sky on the enchanted ceiling.
Hmm what do we have here? An American? Interesting...now, where to put you? I sense wisdom and courage; yes I sense much courage in you. You wish to gain knowledge, but not the Ravenclaw. You seek information from your past.
What? Where is it getting courage from? I am not brave at all and that is honestly a bit creepy. How does it know I Ďseek informationí? Now, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary (yes I know, I muggle dictionary) courage is defined as mental strength to withstand fear. Which part of the definition describes me?
Ah, but there is more than one type of courage, even if you do not know it yet.
Umm...what? I swear I could hear that hat laughing at me as I thought about what it was saying. I have no idea what Ďdifferent types of courageí was supposed to mean, but I wish it would hurry and sort me already. Iím getting tired of sitting hereÖand Iím hungry.
If youíre sure... Better be... GRYFFINDOR.
I blinked as the sorting hat was lifted off my head, my eyes adjusting to the sudden presence of light. Gryffindor? I actually got Gryffindor? Maybe my mom will be proud of me for once in my life.
Author's note: The definition for courage comes from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.