“Goodbye dear.” My mother said tearfully as she kissed my cheek. “Have fun and stay out of trouble.”
“I will mom, I promise.” I hugged her quickly before jumping on the train just as it started moving.
I pushed one of my blonde curls out of my eyes as I walked slowly down the crowded train looking for my friends. I waved and sent a charming smile toward anyone who called my name. It was always the same on the train ride to Hogwarts. The little first years could be seen looking out of place and not sure what to do. The second and third years would torment the first years telling them all kinds of lies about Hogwarts. Everybody else would be hugging and laughing with their friends that they hadn’t seen all summer.
I jumped and let out a small scream of surprise as somebody’s finger poked my side. I clamped my hand over my mouth to stop anymore sound from coming out of it. Quickly I spin around making my hair fan out around me.
“Makenna Addison Parker don’t you dare do that ever again.” I yelled making people turn to look at me with raised eyebrows.
Makenna smiled innocently and I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I laughed knowing she was anything but innocent. She pulled me into a bone crushing hug and laughed with me. Her short frizzy brown hair tickled my cheek.
“I’ve missed you Mandy.” She yelled in my ear.
I pushed her away and rubbed my ear, that girl can yell.
“I think I’m deaf.” I informed her.
She rolled her eyes playfully. “Let’s go find Gwen and Rhyannon.”
Kenna grabbed my arm and ran through the crowd. “Move it people, two beautiful girls coming through.”
“Slow down Kenna.” I yelled over her through my laughter at my friend’s craziness.
“Slow is boring.” She yelled back. “Come on move It.” she yelled at a scared looking group of first years.
“You could try being a little nicer you know.” I suggested smiling at my very weird friend who lost her sanity long ago.
“Ha,” she laughed. “Nice is boring.”
“Of course it is.” I mumbled under my breath.
I honestly don’t know how I ever became friends with Kenna. We’re so different it’s not even funny. She’s outgoing, spontaneous, adventurous, daring, courageous, insane, and a party girl. I’m quiet, but not too quiet, or so people tell me. I have to plan everything; I hate not knowing what’s coming next. Adventures are crazy, I like to stay where I feel safe and do things that I know won’t get me hurt. There is not a drop of courage in me, I’m such a coward. That would be why I’m not in Gryffindor. Parties are not my thing, there’s too much noise. Despite all of our differences I wouldn’t trade Kenna for anything. We somehow balance each other out.
Kenna came to a sudden stop making me run into her.
“Kenna.” I shouted angrily from the floor.
“sorry.” Kenna grinned sticking a hand out to help me up.
I rolled my eyes at her before taking her outstretched hand and letting her pull me up.
“We’re here.” Kenna said as she opened the compartment door and spread her arms out.
Two high pitched screams was all I heard before being tackled by Gwen.
“air.” I gasped.
Gwen quickly let go of me grinning like an idiot. With another high pitched scream she hugged me again but not as tightly as the first time.
“I’ve missed you, I’ve missed you, I’ve missed you.” She repeated over and over again jumping up and down like a little kid on Christmas.
In a desperate attempt to make her stop jumping I put my hands on her shoulders. “Calm down Gwen.”
“I don’t think I can.” She answered talking so quickly that I could barely understand a word she was saying. “You see I was really tired this morning and I didn’t want to get up, you know I’m not a morning person, so I tried to make myself wake up.”
“Oh boy.” Rhyannon muttered.
Gwen ignored her and continued with her story. “I woke up only fifteen minutes before we had to leave and I needed to wake up quick.” She paused briefly for air and a wicked grin. “I needed lots of energy to wake up that fast so I only had one choice.”
My eyes widened in understanding. “You didn’t.” I whispered in horror.
“I had eighteen sugar quills, thirty-two chocolate frogs, and some muggle candy my brother gave me for my birthday.”
Rhyannon and Kenna groaned and collapsed into a seat. I lightly shook Gwen’s shoulders.
“What have you done to us? You’re going to be bouncing off the walls for hours. You know what that much sugar does to you.”
“I was desperate.” She tried to explain.
I looked at her with disapproving eyes.
“I’m sorry.” She hung her head for a second then snapped it back up so quickly that it cracked. “Oh well, the damage is done. You’re in for a long night.”
I groaned and slumped down next to Rhyannon. Gwen sat down next to Kenna. She had a silly, lopsided grin spread across her face. She still hadn’t stopped bouncing and I knew it would be awhile before she did.
Gwen does not do well with sugar. She gets really hyper and then it takes forever to get her to calm down again although she usually crashes after a few hours, it depends on how much sugar she has. She usually knows when to stop so she won’t get too hyper but sometimes she just can’t. She absolutely loves chocolate, it’s her one weakness. Gwen would do anything you wanted if you offered her chocolate. Sometimes I don’t know how I can put up with her, she can be so annoying. She has to know everything that goes on and she doesn’t know when to stop asking questions. I’m afraid that one day her big mouth will get her into a lot of trouble if she doesn’t learn to control it.
Rhyannon is a very different girl. She’s the shyest girl I know but she’s not afraid to stand out. She wears the weirdest clothes and changes her hair color and style at least once a week. People notice her, she’s not hard to miss, but she doesn’t talk much.
“How was your summer Gwen?” Kenna asked to try to get Gwen to stop bouncing.
“It was amazing.” Gwen gushed. “We went to Australia and I met this really cute boy. His name is John and he’s so sweet. He has gorgeous dirty blonde hair.” She twirled a strand of her own long light brown hair around her finger. “And amazing green eyes that I could stare at for forever.”
I tuned her out as she rambled knowing that she could go on talking about the boy she met for hours. I stared out the window and watched the land zoom past me. The sky was a deep shade of blue without a cloud in the sky. I smiled. Blue is my favorite color. I love it when the sky is blue without any clouds. I hate when it rains. I hate feeling so wet. I just don’t like it.
The happiness that filled me suddenly popped like a balloon as I remembered what had happened over the summer. My smile didn’t even waver though; I was a master at faking smiles. I’ve been doing it most of my life I should be good at it by now. You see I’ve got a secret that nobody knows about and I’m not about to tell anybody anytime soon. This secret controls my life and makes me fear living my life. I know what people say about me. I know they think I’m perfect. Perfect little Amanda can’t do anything wrong. Perfect, perfect, perfect. What they think is perfection is only an illusion. They believe the lie I live is me, my friends don’t even know the real me, nobody does. I never let it show when something bothers me except what would bother the perfect Amanda that didn’t really exist. Sometimes I just want to scream. I feel trapped in a world that I hate. I’m drowning and there’s nobody there to save me. Sometimes I wish I could find the courage to tell somebody but every time I try I lose my confidence at the last second. Perfect Amanda will always be a well told lie that fooled everyone. Nothing is ever going to change that.
“Earth to Amanda.” Kenna waved a hand in front of my face. I blinked.
“sorry.” I shook my head. “I just spaced out for a moment.” I tilted my head and smiled my perfect fake smile.
Kenna smiled back at me without even realizing that something was wrong with me. I leaned against the cool glass window and closed my eyes. I faked a yawn.
“I’m tired.” I mumbled.
They didn’t bother me again, just like I knew they wouldn’t. I listened to their carefree words as they talked about their summers. I wished I could tell them about mine but that would just lead to questions that I didn’t want to answer. I would just tell them the usual perfect lie that would keep my perfect illusion going and like always they would believe every word I said because perfect Amanda never lies, perfect Amanda can’t do anything wrong, perfect Amanda is perfect. I hate that everybody thinks I’m perfect. Why can’t anybody see how imperfect I am? I hate being called perfect but I can’t let it show, the perfect Amanda likes being perfect.
I wanted to scream, pound my fists against the ground, curl up in a ball and cry but perfect little Amanda would never do that. She’s a calm, collected person that never looses her cool. If I let perfect Amanda do that they would ask questions and if they ask enough questions they’ll eventually get answers. I can’t allow that to happen.
“Maybe we should wake her up.” Kenna suggested. “We’re almost there and Mandy still needs to change.”
I could tell by their slight hesitation that none of them really wanted to wake me up. I was hard to wake up, that was one thing about the real me that I couldn’t hide.
“I’ll do it.” Rhyannon volunteered.
I heard her stand up and kneel down beside me.
“Mandy honey,” she whispered softly in my ear, “you got to get up Mandy.”
I groaned softly to pretend that I really was just waking up.
“Go away.” I mumbled very convincingly.
“Allow me.” Gwen offered.
Oh no. a very hyper Gwen, trying to wake up a very grumpy perfect Amanda can only
mean one thing.
“Amanda Gail Miller!” Gwen yelled as loud as she could right in my ear.
I jumped up with wide, surprised eyes.
“finally.” Kenna muttered.
“You didn’t have to yell.” I rubbed my ears as I glared at Gwen with my perfect clear blue eyes.
Rhyannon rolled her own brown eyes.
“You wouldn’t have woken up if I hadn’t.” Gwen pointed out to me.
I ignored her while I pulled my uniform out of my trunk. I quickly walked to the bathroom and changed. When I got back to the compartment where my friends were sitting everything was completely silent. Gwen was still bouncing with her silly little grin spread across her face, Rhyannon was looking thoughtfully out into the dark night, and Kenna was watching me with a broad smile on her face.
“What?” I asked her curious to know why she was watching me with that mischievous twinkle in her eye that she got when she had an idea.
“You need a boyfriend.” She stated simply.
“what.” I laughed at her unexpected statement. Why would I need a boyfriend? “Where did this come from?”
Gwen looked over at us while Rhyannon continued to stare but I knew she was listening just as closely as Gwen was.
Kenna shrugged. “It’s every girls dream to fall in love; I just thought maybe you should start looking for your special someone.” She tilted her head to the side.
“I enjoy being single, I don’t need a boy to make me happy.” I informed her.
The truth was I was scared of falling in love. If I fell in love then I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from being me. I would tell him all my secrets and my perfect illusion would be ruined. I wasn’t ready for that, not yet, maybe someday but not yet.
Kenna nodded. “I know that but love is an amazing thing, I just want you to be able to experience it.”
I smiled at her dazed look. Three years ago she fell in love with her boyfriend Alex. They’re perfect for each other and he makes her happier than I’ve ever seen her. I know she fears that I’ll never fall in love but I don’t want somebody that’s in love with the perfect Amanda, I want somebody that’s in love with me and that’s never going to happen.
The train jerked to a stop. Gwen grinned excitedly.
“Are you guys ready for our sixth year?” she asked as she opened the compartment door.
“Oh yeah.” Kenna yelled and jumped up.
Gwen and Kenna pushed their way through the crowd to get off the train. Rhyannon and I followed slowly after them.
“Hurry up.” Gwen begged grabbing my hand while Kenna grabbed Rhyannon’s. “Do you have to walk so slowly?” She complained.
Rhyannon glanced over at me.
“yes.” We answered.
Gwen groaned while tugging on my arm trying to make me go faster. They pulled us
into the first empty carriage we could find.
I stole a quick glance at the thestral pulling the carriage before staring at the floor. I didn’t like being able to see thestrals. Most people go through their seven years at Hogwarts never seeing them but I’ve always been able to see them, since my first day at Hogwarts I’ve seen them. None of my friends know that I can see them. The perfect Amanda hasn’t seen death but the real Amanda has.
I smiled and pretended to listen to Gwen rant about all the homework we’re going to have. Rhyannon was rolling her eyes while Kenna agreed completely with Gwen.
The ride to the castle was short. I hopped out of the carriage being carful not to look at the thestral pulling it. I gazed happily up at the huge castle. It was my home, just like it was the home to many other people. It was one of the only placed I felt truly happy. We followed the crowd into the welcoming castle that I had missed so much. Quickly we sat down at the Ravenclaw table.
“I’m starving.” Kenna complained loudly.
The scared looking first years entered the Great Hall.
“Oh shut up and watch the sorting.” Rhyannon whispered to Kenna.
Kenna crossed her arms stubbornly and turned her head to watch the first years.
I clapped as one by one the little first years got sorted into the house they would be in for the next seven years. Like every year I hoped they liked where they were sorted. Even though I didn’t know them I hoped they had an easier life than I did.
Professor Dumbledore stood up and said a bunch of random words much to the confusion of the little first years. A few gasps of surprise could be heard from the new Ravenclaws as the empty tables suddenly filled with all kinds of food. Gwen laughed at their shocked expressions before helping herself to everything in her reach. After everyone had eaten as much as they could Professor Dumbledore stood up again to tell the first years some of the basic rules. I tuned him out; I had heard it all before. Finally he dismissed us. I yawned loudly, a real yawn this time.
Gwen laughed. “How can you still be tired?” she asked. “You slept for almost the whole train ride.”
I shrugged in response. Rhyannon answered the riddle to get into Ravenclaw tower. We rushed to our dorm eager to collapse into our beds.
“I’m not tired at all.” Gwen smiled happily. She still hadn’t stopped bouncing.
Kenna groaned. “Just make sure you stay quiet.”
“I will.” She answered before yelling loudly as she tripped over her own feet. “sorry.” She whispered apologetically.
I changed out of my uniform and into my pajamas. Then I curled up in a ball on my bed. I was asleep within minutes. My dreams were filled with haunting memories of my past but also of the love that I will never have. The love that Kenna wants me to have but never will be. A love that will only ever exist in the shadows of my dreams.
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