Chapter 15 : Fifteen: Letting Go
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If there's anything say
If there's anything to do
I there's any other way
I'd do anything for you
I did everything for you
I did everything for you
-For The Widows In Paradise, For The Fatherless In Ypsilanti - Sufjan Stevens
Bliss was sitting alone in a compartment on the Hogwarts Express. Obviously she’d heard the news. Of course she had. She’d been Jazz’s best friend since they were six years old. Before I’d even known the two of them. She was staring blankly at the wall as I slid open the door and walked inside. When she saw me, her face brightened and she stood up and three her arms around my neck.
“I just can’t believe she’s gone,” she whispered. “And she never even did a thing wrong.” I let her go and sat down, tears threatening to spill again. That was the most uncomfortable train ride I have ever had to take. My stomach was turning like it used to on Sports Day in primary school, when I was nervous and dreading the day ahead. But this felt different. Like ten times worse.
The girl turned in her seat and took a long, hard look at me. I tried to avoid her gaze, feeling embarrassed. Then suddenly she smiled.
“I’m Jasmine. That’s Bliss.” The girl next to me smiled shyly.
“Um, I’m Lily Evans,” I replied.
“I’m sure I’ve seen you somewhere,” said Bliss. Her voice was soft and slightly high; strange.
“She’s the girl who was fast asleep when we came into the dorm last night,” Jasmine informed her. Bliss nodded.
“Yeah, I didn’t get much sleep the night before,” I said apologetically.
“I know, I was the same! I can’t believe we’re here. I’ve heard so much about this place,” Jasmine replied.
I sat up straight and glanced over at Bliss. She was wearing her hair in a French plait today. How ironic . . . another memory immediately came rushing back.
“I need to go sort out my hair,” Jasmine said. “Lily, can you French plait?”
“Yeah, I used to have to do my sister’s hair every morning because she couldn’t.” I smiled in reply.
“Great! I don’t suppose you could do mine?” she asked.
“Sure, Jasmine,” I replied.
“Oh, you can call me Jazz,” she added.
“Ooh, that’s a real honour; she only lets people she really likes call her Jazz,” Sirius commented. Jazz hit him playfully on the arm and got up.
“Coming guys?” said a voice. For a fleeting moment my heart leaped. But it was just Remus. We had arrived at Hogwarts already. I must have fallen asleep at some point.
“Welcome back to Hogwarts,” called Professor Dumbledore as we all finally settled down. “Usually I would not make a speech before the start-of-term feast, but special circumstances have arisen over the holidays. I notice that many of you carry an expression of sadness and loneliness about you. For this Christmas Hogwarts suffered several frightful losses.” Remus sniffed. I had never seen a boy cry before that Christmas. They always looked too strong to do that, but I guess they’re people too.
“The first, on Christmas Day. Professor Brown, who previously taught Defence Against the Dark Arts at this school, was murdered in his home. The next, an old friend of mine, Bartemius Finch, the father of Tobias Finch, who was murdered earlier in the year. And finally, a student of this school, Jasmine Bartling and her entire family were murdered when they arrived home from a family holiday the day before New Year’s Eve. Jasmine had many friends. She was polite, talkative, funny, friendly and welcoming. Jasmine had a magnetic personality and will be missed dearly by anyone who has ever met her.” Bliss was sobbing quietly into a handkerchief and I could feel hot tears rolling down my cheeks.
“Let us take a moment to remember all the people who have died this Christmas,” said Dumbledore solemnly, and everyone bowed their heads, even most of the Slytherins. We sat for a minute in almost silence; sniffles and sobs could be heard now and then. “But I must warn you!” said Dumbledore fiercely as we raised our heads. “It does not do to dwell on the past or what might have been. We cannot change what has happened, but we can change the future. It is an insult to the memory of those brave few for us to spend the rest of our days in sadness and mourning. We must move on swiftly and enjoy our lives if we are ever to let our lost ones go. And with this thought, I bid you begin the feast.”
Food piled up on the plates before our eyes but none of us reached for them. There were a few moments where none of the Marauders or Bliss or I said anything at all.
“I think,” said James at last, breaking the silence, “I think he’s right. We just need to move on.” No one offered a reply. “I mean, if we were all sad for the rest of the year, and Jazz was watching us, I mean, we would be making her sad by being sad . . . if that makes sense?” Again, no one said anything for a moment.
“I think that’s the most sense you’ve ever made,” I replied, and for the first time in about a fortnight, I saw every one of my friends smile.
“Alright, are you sure this is what she would want?” Sirius asked reproachfully as we stood beside the Gryffindor tower’s biggest window. In Sirius’ hand was a silver balloon enchanted to never pop or fall from the sky.
“Definitely,” said Bliss with a grin. On the front of the balloon was written, in Bliss’s best calligraphy, ‘Jazz’ and then smaller ‘We will never forget you. Love from Lily, Bliss and the Marauders.’ We had taken one look at the finished product and were sure she would have been pleased.
“Alright,” said Sirius, “Here goes nothing.” He threw open the window and let go of the balloon. It floated up right away. All six of us knelt beside the window and watched it until it was just a tiny speck in the sky.
“That’s it. She’s gone,” said Remus. “And I don’t want to make an emotional speech or anything, but we’re done mourning for her now, okay? She’ll never leave our memories but now we’re just going to get on with our lives.” We all murmured in agreement; he was right, but I think he was trying to convince himself more than anyone else.
Try as we might, things still weren’t the same. More murders were reported in the Daily Prophet every day, more people ran out of the Great Hall in tears when the mail arrived. Some people were taken out of Hogwarts and we didn’t see them again. Personally I thought that we would be safer at Hogwarts. We still had laughs; the Marauders still played pranks on the Slytherins, I still worked with Potter in Transfiguration.
Nothing happened between us that year. We were still friends, we still had fun and talked, but I guess neither of us felt ready or wanted to move on quite so soon. But maybe, I thought, he didn’t have feelings for me anymore.
A/N: I need to thank a couple of my loyal reviewers, Meg101 and cait_hp_fan. I know there are loads of you but these are two that I've particularly noticed!
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