Chapter 3 : Letters
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As children, Lily and I would always run out to meet the postman, who we called Mr. Phil. I don’t recall him once ever making it to our mailbox to deliver the mail; he would always split the small pile of letters between Lily and me at the front of our driveway, and continue on to the next house.
We would always rifle through the letters, hoping to find one from Aunt Betsy. She was the baby of the family, born twelve years after my mother, and went to a university in Spain, where she studied art. Aunt Betsy rarely came to visit, but she almost made up for it by sending us letters as often as humanly possible. I don’t think the appeal was so much the content of the letters as much as the drawings that accompanied them. Aunt Betsy always drew pictures of things she had seen, whether it had been a man with a funny haircut, or a flower on a sunny day, she would draw something for us. Sometimes the drawings were plain pencil sketches, other times they would be carefully folded oil pastel pictures in the most vivid hues imaginable.
My grandparents and Aunt Esther also wrote regularly, but it was my Aunt Betsy’s letters that Lily and I looked forward to so much.
I missed Lily horribly. My best school friend Louise had heard that Lily had gone to a different private school and did everything she could think of to make me feel better. She often came around for dinner, just so I wouldn’t have to endure the awkward silence of eating alone with my parents.
I remember that she would sit away and chatter about school and her family, all the while trying to drag me and my parents into some sort of conversation.
Unfortunately, she couldn’t eat with us every night, so my parents and I did have to come to terms with how quiet the table was without me and Lily chattering all the time.
On one such occasion, about a week after Lily had left for Hogwarts, I heard a tapping on the window behind me. My parents and I both turned to look, only to find a large tawny owl holding an envelope in its beak.
I dashed up and opened the window. The owl flew in, dropped the letter on the table, and picked up a small piece of chicken from my plate. With a great flap of its wings, it took off and flew back out the window.
I stuck my head out the window, looking to see if any more owls were coming before closing it. When I turned around, my parents had already ripped open the envelope and were poring over its contents. I tried to get a peek but they were both so hunched over the letter that I couldn’t see it at all. Every once in a while my mother would gasp quietly and my father would chuckle to himself, murmuring, “That’s my girl, that’s my girl…”
When I had waited for what seemed long enough for them to get the general idea of the letter, I decided to make a drastic move. I reached down between them and tried to pull the letter out of my father’s hands.
I took a step back in shock of what I had just done, still clutching my half of the heavy parchment.
“Petunia!” My mother exclaimed in shock. “How could you? You know your sister is going to be away for an entire year, why would you rip her letter?” My mother’s eyes filled with tears.
I went into a second phase of shock…they thought I had ripped it on purpose?
“Petunia, apologize to your mother.” My father said in a stern voice.
“I- I didn’t…I just wanted to read it.” I stammered, feeling guiltier by the minute.
My mother was always a delicate person, at the moment her nose was turning red, the same way mine does when I’m about to cry…or get very angry.
“Petunia!” My mother said again, this time with a hint of anger, “If you wanted to read that letter you could have asked. I have never raised any of my girls to act this way before. Never. You’re older, I expected more from you. I should hope that I did not just send my daughter to that school with manners like yours.”
I looked away ashamed, “Mum, I- “
“No, don’t you ‘Mum’ me, little missy, off to bed with you, and you will never get to read this letter. That was absolutely unacceptable, you should know better. I have never…” Her nose was getting redder.
“Mum,” I started, only to be cut off by my mother, who was positively roaring.
“NOW!” She looked so angry and so hurt, that I did nothing but walk out into the hallway as she said.
Before I completely left, I turned around to see my mother, holding both halves of the letter in her hands, as tears dripped down and landed with soft plops on the soft parchment. My dad put his arms around her and looked up. He gave me a disappointed look, before reaching down and taking the letter from my mother’s hands.
I caught a glimpse of the paper. The heavy parchment had absorbed the tears, causing the ink to blur. My mum was right; I never would get to read that letter.
I lay on my bed thinking. I felt incredibly selfish. I still had my friends to keep me company, I had school to occupy my time, and I didn’t need Lily to always be around me. Even when Lily had been home, I hadn’t taken her everywhere with me, we were best friends at home, but out in the world, we were just very good sisters. I had a life that included Lily, but didn’t revolve around her.
My parents, on the other hand, seemed to revolve around both me and Lily. Everything, from school recitals to helping out with homework, to my father’s fishing trips, and my mother measuring us out to make us our special Christmas dresses, all of it revolved around having both girls at home. So I suppose, when Lily left, it was like a gaping hole had been left in their hearts. I tend to think of my parents as being extremely sentimental, more so than other parents, and I don’t think they could handle one of their children leaving the nest so soon.
I felt incredibly guilty.
As I lay there staring up at the ceiling, I heard a pecking at the window. I saw a large barn owl sitting on my window sill with a letter in its beak. I opened the window and the owl flew in, dropped the letter in my lap and flew off.
I picked up the heavy parchment and read:
14 Picket Rd.
I carefully ripped open the heavy parchment envelope and read:
I know that you’ve probably read through my other letter and thoroughly digested all of its contents by now. I wouldn’t be surprised if you knew my schedule by heart. Well, you’re probably wondering why I’m writing a second letter, addressed only to you. To start, I had just sent the first letter when I realized that it might take you some time to get the letter away from Mum and Dad, so I thought I’d write you a second one, a special one, for your eyes only. I plan to continue to do this, I mean, Mum and Dad can’t know everything about me, now can they? When you want to respond, blow the whistle that I’ve enclosed with this letter. Then one of the Hogwart’s Owls in your area should pick it up and be able to bring your letter back to me. I sent one in for Mum and Dad as well, let’s hope they didn’t lose it already.
Now, to begin,
I folded the letter up and thought for a moment. I considered running to tell Mum and Dad, so that they could have something from Lily to read, to make it up to them. I considered it for a moment before remembering Lily’s words, for your eyes only…
I glanced back to the door, and hoping that my parents would knock before entering, opened the letter and started to read.
A/N: Hello again, hope you didn't think this chapter was too bad...I had actually written something else instead of this, but I think it works better than what I had planned. I know you hear this again, and again, and again from me, but please leave a review. I've gotten quite a few reads for my first two chapters, but only three reviews. Even if you think it's horrible, please leave a review...just try not to be too mean.
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