“No, mum, you can’t. I’ll lose it. Anyway, it was always Lucy who wanted it. I’m sure she’ll add a much bigger, shinier ring.” I fingered the metal chain, with its fourteen rings hanging in an annoyingly attractive way from the larger links. There was, of course, a fifteenth link; a link that would apparently one day house my engagement ring.
“Molly, you know it’s your responsibility as the eldest daughter to get married, and add a ring. Anyway, Lucy would end up adding about twelve. You know her.” My mother solemnly returned. I had no idea how she kept up her solemnity. Probably with a solemn-ing potion. She said hilarious things, with a totally straight face. I could never do that.
“Mum, responsibility is not my thing. I thought you realised that when I accidently let Dom make gnome-pie.” I said, trying to be equally solemn in my giving of the death stare. It wasn’t actually a death stare, though no doubt if I was a death eater I’d know how to do one, but it was my scary look.
Of course, it had been the plan to bring up the gnome-pie. It was my mum’s sorest sore spot. I had been trusted, aged fifteen, to babysit my eight year old cousin, Dom. She had decided to go play in the garden, and whilst I canoodled with my then-boyfriend, she had hit a gnome over the head with a beater’s bat, and stuck it in the pie on the side counter.
Luckily, it had been tough enough to withstand the oven’s high temperatures; or, if you were the one who was sitting in front of it when the ugly little thing leapt out, not so luckily. It was still favoured dinner table conversation, that was, when I wanted to remind my mother what an irresponsible, silly daughter she’d raised. Which was surprisingly often.
“Responsibility is your thing. There are a lot of things you are responsible for.” My darling mother reasoned. It was true. There were a lot of things I was responsible for, but they weren’t necessarily good things. I was, indeed, partly responsible for the gnome-pie episode, but I didn’t think that was the type of responsibility that my mother was vying for.
“Does it have insurance?” I asked, steering the conversation away from the viscous circle that was responsibility. I was beginning to question my logic in returning to my childhood home in the first place. After all, with thirty-three hours until I left for Singapore, I could easily have gone to the pub, or maybe even started packing. But no; I had to come and pop in for a final family visit.
“Insurance?” My mum asked, her head cocked a questioning side. I forgot I was the eldest daughter in a family of purebloods, not just loons who made ring necklaces, and that my mother hadn’t taken muggle studies.
“It means we get our galleon’s worth if I lose it.” I explain, quoting my teacher. I had actually quite liked muggle studies; Mrs Gallagher was one of those very quotable witches, and she actually made for quite a lively lesson, unlike most of the crypt-dwellers of Hogwarts.
“You should get that.” My mum nodded, biting her lower lip, causing a small, brightly coloured smear of lipstick to appear on her tooth. It was quite funny, but I was glad I didn’t have to leave the house with her. She was one of those severely embarrassing mothers, and I remember trying to go shopping without her in my first year.
“Yes. I should. How much muggle money do you have?” I asked, picking up a garibaldi from the tray on the mahogany table between us. Apparently Victoire had made her presence known, even here. It was hard, having an artistic genius of a cousin. Not on the eyes, obviously, but on the self-esteem. But, it had to be said, it was nice to look on a shiny pretty table whilst munching on your mother’s signature fly-trap.
“Why?” My mother asked, removing a lady finger from the platter of biscuits. She was looking at me through her eyelashes, which made her look a bit stupid.
“Well, since you don’t know what insurance is, I would imagine we would have to get muggle insurance.” I answered, a wan smile on my face. It seemed obvious, to me. Perhaps I was having a moment of genius. My first moment of genius, over a garibaldi biscuit.
“Fair point. Want another Garibaldi?” She asked, waving the plate at me. I wasn’t sure why I was eating all the garibaldis. I didn’t like garibaldis; they had earned the nickname fly traps for a reason. But, none the less, today was apparently garibaldi day, and that meant I had to eat the cemetery of flies.
“No thanks. I’ll have a lady finger though.” I said, pulling one off the plate. My mother was a curious person. Though batty, hair brained and a bit insane, she still always seemed to present a perfect picture to the outside world. Which was probably why she was PR.
“So, have you sent over the trunks yet?” She asked me, amicably. It was a very motherly thing to do, check on my packing stage. She probably assumed I was no longer the disorganised, uninterested person I had been ten years ago, in second year, but apparently I was. Because I was going to have to tell her I still hadn’t packed.
“No, they’re making me fly, remember? Apparently Singapore’s the kind of place where you have to have a muggle presence, as well as a wizarding one, so I obviously can’t turn up without a flight. I have to bring baggage, and all.” I rambled. It was all true though. Truly crap. Who wanted to have to fly? But it was the regulations, and I was my father’s daughter, so obviously regulations had to be followed. I didn’t want to be my father’s daughter in this case, but I obviously was, so I would have to drag myself on a fourteen hour flight.
“Oh, yes. However great they are, there are some flaws to some sectors of the ministry.” And, upon the note of my mother entering into the flaws-of-the-ministry conversation, I decided it was time to bid goodbye to the childhood haunt, and go back to my box filled flat.