Chapter 1 : Propped Against Your Rooftop
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Sit propped against your rooftop.
Stand perched against the skies.
As you reach towards the next deciding block
Screen all the world for lies;
For Silver screens painted gold,
For Black dreams printed bold.
Leave me, your past filled with treason
For showgirls, lights, all idolized without any reason!
Hook lust through your eyes.
Imprint lies with your touch.
You are a star now, the papers say
Immortal now, until it fades away
Sit propped against your rooftop.
Stand perched against the skies.
As you fall from soiled chopping blocks
Manage a glimpse as the world passes by.
My fingers curl around the rooftop railing, knuckles white against the teal blue. The railing, though a safety net for those who consider jumping or a child’s red ball gone astray, does not make me feel in any essence, safe. I’m not sure if the railing, chipped from the passage of time and bruised from the many handprints belonging to lost souls, is meant to keep me safe from the outside world or from myself.
My arms tighten against my body, like a pair of birds finding shelter from the cold. But while my body tries to curl farther into itself, my eyes refuse to take the same route. They stay wide open, impatient amber waiting for the last rays of sunlight. My eyes are ready to take in every beautifully spun cloud, every wisp of smoke from the chimneys, and every waning streak of glistening gold that blasts itself across the sky like comets too close to the Earth.
The chilled wind, cutting right through my worn overcoat, makes my body become a tighter ball. I wonder how much cold it would take to become a compressed pebble on top of the concrete.
I watch one stray thread loosen from my coat and fly with the wind, unraveling slowly from my stone-like figure. The wind is the white rabbit that I do so want to follow down the rabbit hole. Instead, I’ll settle for feeling strapped down.
In our first year, everything fits the mold of social standards that our parents have made for us.
The elegant boy with the trim cut hair and brilliant grey eyes stands like a soldier by his mother’s side. Not even the gusts of smoke from the flaming red engine, dare take a strand out of place. His face remains placid and I fear that the bitter cruelness of the world that children hear so often about, has turned this young prince into exactly what the high standing parents want: a statue made of gold.
Those cloudy eyes remain fixed on the engine and suddenly, they turn in my direction. A mechanical sneer appears on the flawless face, as his is programmed to do. The boy, though perhaps a year older than I, is shoving his social ladder down my throat.
I look away because that is what lower classes are supposed to do. I climb the steps of the whistling train and look back at the silhouettes through wisps of smoke that fades into the confining brick walls.
My jaw tenses and every fiber in me yearns to fly away into the sunset so that I could dance with the stardust, hiding just behind the blinding orb.
How can the wind be so free? Why is it that the wind, the cold, bitter, inconsistent wind, can be able to go wherever it pleases? How can it slice right through the age old railing without a moments pause despite the barriers that are intended to stop it? I sigh and the last wandering thought slips from my mouth and waltzes up into the atmosphere. Just how can this force be so free when there are people like me that are latched so tightly to the ground . . .
My hands, inadvertently, are clenching and the skin covering my knuckles appear almost translucent.
I stare curiously at the display. Maybe, just maybe, I’m not ready to leave the ground yet. I’m scared to death and this is how I hold on.
I see the boy again on the train. He sits rigidly as a girl with hair the color of pumpkins in late October reads a book on the other side of the compartment. She turns a page and smiles down on it like a mother so proud of a sleeping child.
This girl has delicate fingers that hold the book carefully in place. She is probably exactly what her parents wanted, an angel with the patience of a saint. Her posture suggests a middle class family, but the way her shoes press into the carpet gives away that hers has its fair share of problems too.
However, the way her ankles cross and sit comfortably atop each other weaves a story of the amount of love that went into her childhood and the socks that cradle her feet.
I turn away from the mismatched pair and head further down the aisle, knowing full well that I will not find any other seats on the train.
My hair would whip in all directions if I decided to let it grow out. Instead, it flops in curls in whichever direction the breeze blows. Sometimes I wonder if I wasn’t held down by my own childish fears, would I be whisked away to another land with more hopes and dreams or perhaps just more realistic ones.
The weight of my shoes, my coat, and my thoughts is too much to handle at moments like this. They feel like the many blankets I’m enclosed in during lonely nights, which make a warped image of me, that I could just strip away, layer by layer. If it were not for the cold wind, which serves as a reminder that I cannot let go of these things that I hide myself under. It is winter and if I dare let an inch of flesh show, I will turn into a frozen statue.
Not that I haven’t tried it already.
I’m being pulled in two directions at once, both choices ever so bittersweet. So for now, while it is still possible, I hold both tugging ropes steady and refuse to move in either direction.
While I rest at the end of the corridor, my head bobs as if I am asleep, but my worrisome fingers grope at my only luggage.
I can hear muffled footsteps padding towards me, but I continue to bob up and down. A sudden lurch of the train and the rhythm of my heart beats stop.
“M’sorry.” That’s the first thing he mumbles.
“S’alright,” I say back because my mouth is on auto-response now, my thoughts caught on a cloud somewhere in the distance.
“Do you need a seat? There’s one in my compartment.” His brown eyes shine at me, trying to mask the pity.
“Sure,” I respond despite myself and get up.
“I’m James Potter, just so you know. Starting Hogwarts this year.”
“Peter Pettigrew. Me too.”
He slides a door open and takes a step inside, offering a hand in carrying my luggage.
I follow in the temporary footsteps he leaves in the plush carpet and look up.
“This is Remus Lupin. Remus, this is Peter Pettigrew. I tripped over him about a minute ago.”
A ‘Hello there’ and sparks ignites in the air as my eyes meet another’s at full attention for the first time since the train left the station.
This is where a new heartbeat starts up and suddenly I’m a whole other person.
I am held down, not by gravity or the weight of inevitable decisions, but by my own selfish dream that the next step, if there is one, does not have to be taken. Of course, as life will continuously remind you, everything speeds up when you’re dreading it most.
I look out onto the fading sunset, reds and gold cut into the blues and purples that while much milder will overtake the glorious, brighter shades. I take comfort in the opposing colors because, while others might brilliantly outshine me, in the end, I will not be the first to burn out.
The flashes of how courteously my old friends treated me, how desperately I clung to their approval spring into the front of my mind. Maybe I’m not so different from the rat I can change into, my alternate ego finally burrowing deep inside an empty heart.
Of course, I wonder why I consider joining a side of the world that turn up their noses at people lesser than themselves. And I laugh at that because I remember how certain I was when I first set out on my magical journey. I frowned on those that forced a social standing onto others, I couldn’t allow the thought of inequality.
But now, things have changed and the people who once threw porridge at me are the ones that will affect my future the most. The people who offered to help clean me up only the background images.
The truth is that my rat-like heart doesn’t believe in the weak anymore. I realize that for the longest time, I was the strong one that never needed to be consoled and this entire time, the strong never had to defend the weak because we all fend for ourselves. We all need to because there won’t be anyone around to grieve with or to care about you when we’re all alone in the end.
The sunset colors have now clashed, calmer blues overcoming the vibrant golds. The darkness creeps behind my back and my shadow goes to meet with its kin.
Suddenly, my hands have stopped holding onto something as flimsy as an old railing for comfort and safety. They are at my side, ready for the upcoming task, ready to let go. I think I’m ready now.
If I don’t let go of my past, if I don’t burn out, I’ll just burn up.
They’ve released one side of the rope and allowed the other to pull me into the darkness, where my waning glow can still light a pathway.
I turn my back on the brilliant display of color and walk back to the door that will lead me onto my destiny. The pebbles crack one last time. The sunset disappears over the horizon.
I push open the door and let the darkness engulf me, ready to make my way through, fending against any obstacle that stands in my way.
Author's Notes: This was a wonderful experience and I'd like to thank Noblevyne and Timeturner for helping me not only write this fic but get through it. The poem from the beginning was written by me. Crazy, huh? Please do not repost.