It was Christmas Eve, and the Granger house was bright with festivity. It was by far the most beautifully decorated house on the block, which was in a small suburb of London. Inside, a fire roared at the hearth, and the entire family was gathered at the dining table. Hermione had a book on her lap, which she slyly glanced at every few minutes or so, while everyone else was chatting merrily. They were all waiting for Jeanette (Hermione’s mum) and all of the other women to bring out the Christmas feast from the aromatic kitchen.
It was a hearty meal, enjoyed by one and all. Hermione had turned ten just the month before and was enjoying the liberties of being a double-digit; eating seconds of dessert and sitting with the adults at the hearth when all her pesky, younger cousins had been sent up to bed. The merry group (Hermione included) sang Christmas carols, told stories, and discussed their plans for the following day, which seemed to arrive in no time at all.
Hermione awoke curled at the window seat of her room, with a book propped upside down on her stomach. She yawned and gazed at it fondly, as if remembering the many times she had drifted off to sleep reading it. “The Witches of Winter Woods” was an old classic, and one of Hermione’s favorite novels. It was a beautiful tale of magic, love and human nature. Of course, Hermione didn’t believe in magic, she far too old and much too practical for that, but she still felt some connection to Linda, the main character of the book, who –as you may have guessed- was a witch.
The moment of tranquility was shattered into pieces when all of her cousins came rushing into the room, with cries of “Happy Christmas!” and “Let’s go open our presents!” Hermione, unnerved by all the excitement, slowly followed them down the stairs, and saw her family gathered around the sparkling fresh-scented tree, under which was an enormous pile of presents.
“Just in time Hermione!” cried Gramps, clapping her on the back. “We were all tempted to start without you!” Hermione giggled as Gran gave him a teasing frown. “We couldn’t start without Brownylocks could we?” she said kindly. “Your Gramps here wanted to start before any of you were ready, and he would have been finished by now if it wasn’t for me, eh? Come on let’s start already!”
“Brownylocks” was Gran and Gramps’ nickname for Hermione. When she had been young, Gran had read her the story of ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ and Hermione had asked Gramps why the little girl’s name was Goldilocks, and not something else such as Pinkylocks or even Brownylocks. Since then, they had been calling her Brownylocks because of her bushy brown hair.
Hermione received many wonderful presents from her family, but her favorite was from her teenage cousin Ariadne. It was a diary, with a crescent moon and stars painted on its midnight blue satin cover. She was sure Ariadne had made it herself. After all, Ari (her nickname) had been taking fabric painting lessons from Jeanette, who was a pro at art. She was also known for her homemade, meaningful gifts. Ariadne was who Hermione wanted to be when she grew up. She was pretty, with her dark red hair, green eyes and creamy complexion, yet was not one to show off or be snobbish. She was kind and had a knack of making people feel better. She knew exactly what everyone needed most and did her best to give it to them. She was quite intelligent but sporty and athletic at the same time. In shorter words, she was Hermione’s idol.
That night, she picked up the diary and sat down on her bed. She cleared some space on her bedside table to give it a place of honor, next to all her favorite books. Any advice from Ariadne was greatly welcome, and surely there had been a purpose behind the diary. Maybe she thought Hermione needed to let out some of her mixed up emotions on paper, and had therefore given her the diary.
Sighing, Hermione picked up a sharpened quill, turned the first page, and began to write.