Chapter 1 : Introduction: Boxes
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December 26, 1998
I suppose I deserve this.
In the past few months I have lied my way through this life. I've used every person who cared about me, and I have created a world that was never meant to exist for myself. I could try to argue that it was for their own good, too, but we each know of that untruth. And in the end, we have all lost.
I most certainly deserve this.
I look around my empty house and only now do I feel the full weight of my mistakes. The suitcase in my hand drops in sync with my first tear. It doesn’t take long for the others to join in, cascading steadily down my cheeks in individual drops, and eventually falling from my chin to the tiled floor.
A sob rips through my chest and I am bitter, though not entirely surprised, when I realize the absolute hopelessness the sound is made of. All at once, my body caves in to gravity's pull and I become nothing more than a pile of shaking limbs on the floor of the loneliest home in the world.
But like I said, I deserve this.
May 8, 1998
It was over.
Precisely one week ago today, the dream of vanquishing He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had finally become a reality. Light had pierced the darkness, good had conquered evil, and the souls of the victors - the survivors - were overwhelmed by a wave of hope for the future.
I never did celebrate.
There was this second - this singular shining moment - in which I too experienced the overwhelming sense of relief that comes with impossible victory. But all traces of joy were at once ripped away with a single glance at a broken body - at his broken body. And so I never celebrated. For I have lost too much.
I am alone.
I am surrounded.
I stand at his funeral, encased by a sea of mourning friends and family, all dressed in black and crying out desperately. Yet, despite the crowds of mourners, still I am alone.
Heavy, ugly, useless tears meander effortlessly down my reddened face, but I do not try to stop them, worthless though they are. Crying, to me, has never been a sign of weakness, but one of strength. We are taught that tears are for the weak, for those of us not strong enough to keep emotions at bay, but I believe it is that reason alone that makes crying such an act of courage. Knowing how people will judge you, but choosing to do so all the same; that is strength.
But even as I allow the tears to fall, I do not feel any strength this day.
My best friend is lying in a box.
The sun has no business being out today. It should be shrouded in impervious black clouds, pouring torrents of unforgiving rain, blinding us all with lightning and deafening us all with thunder. And yet... High in the sky, bright yellow and warm, there is the sun. The happy sun is shining away.
What a mockery.
When the funeral draws to its conclusion and the masses begin to uproot and mingle, offering their mutual condolences to one another, I do not linger. Instead, I walk away from it all to conceal myself behind a large chestnut tree, certain that my disappearance has gone entirely unnoticed. I will wait here until everyone else has gone so that I may be alone with my friend.
Hiding behind a tree does not offer optimal comfort or dignity, but I adjust myself anyway and prepare to outlast the other mourners. And as I sit and wait for the crowd to disperse, I am plagued by one continuous thought:
Fred Weasley is lying in a box.
I hope to see you in the next chapter,
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