Petunia Dursley opened the attic trapdoor and climbed up the steps, wrinkling her nose as she went. She was disgusted by the attic. It was the only part of her home that remained filthy and unorganized. In an immaculate home such as hers, this was completely unacceptable. Still, she had been so busy moving into her new home that she hadn’t really had the time to take care of the attic. It was full of dusty, unlabeled boxes, old, creaking furniture, and unhappy memories. Most of the items had been brought over from her parents’ old house after they had passed away a few months ago, right after Petunia had found out that she was pregnant.
Of course, she had to go and find out that she was pregnant, too, thought Petunia bitterly, brushing some of the cobwebs off of an ancient looking rocking horse. She had to try to get the better of me yet again..
Petunia was determined to raise a better boy than her sister Lily ever could. To think that they’ll be the same age!. The thought horrified her. No child of hers was ever going to be exposed to their kind. Not that they really would have been playmates. Petunia wasn’t even sure where Lily and her good-for-nothing husband lived anymore, although her sister wrote often.
The letters were never replied to.
Better not to open things that are best left closed, thought Petunia, ironically opening a box with the words “Lily and Tuney” written across the side.
A cloud of dust puffed into the air as she pulled the flaps open. The cardboard box was filled to the brim with an assortment of childhood possessions. Petunia picked up an old rag doll and glared at it disdainfully. It had been hers for a time, until she had given it to her sister as a present. She tossed it into the corner of the attic. She would throw it away later.
There was also a large assortment of books. Most were Petunia’s, but underneath a battered copy of Pride and Prejudice was one of Lily’s old spellbooks. To think that this has been in my house all this time! Petunia thought angrily, as it joined the rag doll In the corner.
It was then that she saw it.
It was nothing special, but it peaked her curiosity.
There was a tiny bottle lying on top of an empty picture frame. The label was peeled and faded, but Petunia instinctively knew what it was. She shook the bottle slightly, listening to the liquid slosh around. It was almost empty. She unscrewed the cap, and, sure enough, the little bubble wand was floating at the top. She took it in her fingers, dipped in the liquid, and stared at the colors inside the liquid, changing in the light. Although she did not know why, she took a deep breath and blew-
-releasing a stream of beautifully shaped bubbles.
“Oh, do it again, Tuney!” cried Lily, clapping her hands excitedly.
“But we’re almost out of bubble juice,” said Petunia, in exasperation.
“Please, Tuney,” said Lily, holding her own bottle. “You can use mine. I don’t blow them very good anyway.”
Petunia smiled slightly and took the bottle from her sister. She made a grand show of dipping the wand in the juice and breathing deeply before releasing another jet of bubbles. Lily clapped again, giggling, and before long, Petunia was giggling, too.
“Why can’t I make them as pretty as you do?” asked Lily finally, after trying and failing to create perfect bubbles.
“I don’t know,” said Petunia, blowing out a single bubble.
It floated, carried by the breeze, before landing and popping on Lily’s red hair. “I think- do you know what I think, Tuney?” asked Lily.
“What?” asked Petunia, watching another jet of bubbles sail away.
“I think it must be magic,” said Lily. “Bubble blowing is magic. You can do magic.”
Petunia smiled and nodded. “I think so, too,” she said, blowing another batch of bubbles.
The bubbles shimmered as they floated up towards the sun. They hung briefly in the air, perfect circles, until they-
Petunia felt cold. Why had she done that? She was a grown, married woman. There was no need for her to be sitting on her attic floor, blowing bubbles. ”You know what I think, Tuney? You can do magic.” It was a waste of her time, all of it. She had intended to spend the afternoon cleaning the attic, not blowing bubbles and remembering pointless memories.
”You can do magic.”
“I could never do it,” she whispered, almost as if Lily were present. “It was you. You were special.” She thought about all the things that Lily’s magic brought- the books, the dress robes, the owl, the wand.
She looked down at the pink piece of plastic in her hand. Tears sprang to her eyes as she threw back in the bottle. It wasn’t a magic wand. It was only a piece of bent, old plastic. It couldn’t make her happy. It couldn’t give her the kind of life that her sister led in the wizarding community. And it most certainly could not do magic.
“You were wrong,” she said aloud, moving towards the grimy window. “You were wrong about everything. You were wrong about us staying friends, and you were wrong about me.” ”You can do magic.” “I’m not magic.”
Looking out the window, she could see a tawny owl sweeping by with another letter in its mouth. Lily had written again. But it was no use pretending. Their relationship was over and had been for years. They were part of different worlds now. Lily had her magical friends and her magic wand. Petunia had nothing but Vernon and her stupid bubble juice.
She looked down at the bottle in her hand and removed the wand again. She had to make the best of what she had been given. Slowly raising the wand to her lips, she let out of breath of air. The bubbles erupted from the wand and sailed away out the window. She watched them as they floated up towards the sky, waiting for them to pop.
They stayed afloat so long, it almost seemed like magic.