Headlines and Healers Part 1
Astoria Georgiana Greengrass was just thirteen the first time she attempted suicide. The healers at St. Mungo’s had said
‘What are you doing here, dear? You’re just a little girl, you don’t even know how tough life gets,’ countless times. Astoria had often laughed at them, occasionally informing a few
‘Obviously you don’t know what it’s like to be part of the Greengrass family.’
Most of them had shook their heads sadly at that and carried on their way, others had looked sympathetic, probably the Mudbloods and blood-traitors, Astoria had thought. In her opinion, her reasons for her suicide attempt were valid, although to some, especially her family, they were selfish and childish. All her life Astoria had been compared to her older sister, Daphne. Daphne was petite, with a head of coppery curls and bright green eyes, she was the perfect pureblood daughter, all socialising and flirting, she was proud and obedient and all she wanted from life was a rich, important pureblood husband, a few kids to add to tradition and perfect hair. She was undoubtedly the favourite child.
All Astoria heard growing up was; “Astoria, why can’t you be more like your sister?” “Astoria what have you been doing? Your dress is ruined! Daphne’s isn’t like that.” “Oh, Astoria, must you be so troublesome? Daphne isn’t behaving like that!” or “Astoria Greengrass, stop being so selfish, look at your sister, she isn’t acting like that.” to name but a few. Daphne’s Christmas and birthday presents were always much better than Astoria’s, her mother doted on her sister.
The event that sent thirteen-year-old Astoria reaching for the razorblade was not only hurtful but embarrassing to her. Louisa Greengrass was the typical pureblood wife; hosting parties and balls and dinners, attending charity events, desperate to get her name in the Daily Prophet, spending ridiculous amounts of money on silly gowns and jewellery that she would only wear once. It was the summer before Astoria’s third-year at Hogwarts, her mother had a reporter over from the Daily Prophet, doing a story on pureblood society, Louisa had been only too happy to oblige when asked to be interviewed. Astoria had been sat at the top of the staircase in her family’s mansion, out of sight from anyone downstairs yet able to hear the conversation. The reporter, a small, plump woman with bleached blonde hair and hot-pink lipstick was talking to her mother.
‘Mrs. Greengrass, I understand that you have two daughters?’ she said. Astoria listened intently.
‘Yes, Daphne and... Astoria,’ the brief hesitation told Astoria that her mother had contemplated not mentioning her, but thought better of it. Her blood boiled.
‘What pretty names,’ the reported was saying. ‘Do you mind if I speak to them? Daphne is fourteen, I understand and Astoria is thirteen?’
‘Er, yes that’s right. Astoria is erm staying with a er... a friend for the week, but you’re more than welcome to talk to Daphne. Daphne!’ her mother called. Astoria blinked, in utter shock. She wasn’t staying with a friend! She was right there! Slowly and in a dream-like fashion she stood up and walked to her bedroom, her mother’s words registering in her brain.
Her room was large and a pale, powder-blue, with a massive white bed and wardrobes. Her mother and sister and recently grandmother had driven Astoria to doing a lot of things, self-harming was the most serious and most recent. Pulling the sleeves of her t-shirt up, Astoria looked at the scratches and cuts and scars on her wrists and forearms. They weren’t very deep, but they bled when they were made and a few had scarred. She went into her en-suite bathroom and locked the door behind her, moving to the cupboard below the sink and taking the razor she used so often.
She thought about her mother’s words, her sister’s spiteful comments and her grandmother’s lectures and allowed the tears to fall. Astoria rarely cried, her father had drilled it into her brain that crying was a weakness, and purebloods didn’t show weakness, however Daphne sobbed on a regular basis over the most pathetic things and no one said anything to her. Eyes blurred with tears, Astoria dragged the blade across her skin, re-opening some of the wounds she had already made, until a voice in her head spoke.
Are you just going to keep doing this forever? They haven’t even noticed, and what are you achieving?
Shut up, Astoria told it, more because it was right than anything else. The voice ignored her.
You’re just a burden on them, no one cares about you. It’s all about precious Daphne. You were a mistake, you know the only reason your mother got pregnant was for a boy. Instead they got you.
‘SHUT UP!’ Astoria cried out loud. The voice carried on relentlessly.
Just do it. Just do what you’re doing now a little harder and a bit further down. You’ll be dead soon, they won’t have to worry about you, you’ll get away from them. What could be better? It’s what you’ve wanted all along, isn’t it?
Astoria stopped crying and looked at her wrists, looked at the blue arteries and veins that ran just below the surface of her skin. The voice was right. Death was better than the life she was living. With a deep breath Astoria lined up the blade and dragged it hard across her skin...
It had taken a while for Astoria to bleed enough for her vision to blur and her thoughts to become clouded. The last thing she remembered before passing out from blood loss was the amount of blood on her white clothes. Her mother would have a fit. The pain was excruciating at first, but after a while she got used to it, it simply became a numbness.
Astoria woke up hours later in a sterile-looking room and covered in a scratchy, starched white blanket with her mother and father and sister around the bed. She assumed that she was in St. Mungo’s. Her suicide attempt had failed, she later learned that her house elf had come to bring her wand to her, which had been being repaired, and found her unconscious and bleeding heavily on the floor of her bathroom. Astoria looked around at her family.
‘Astoria!’ her mother gasped. She wasn’t teary-eyed or distressed-looking, despite the fact that her thirteen-year-old had just tried to kill herself. ‘For Merlin’s sake, you’re lucky the reporter had already left when the house-elf told me!’
Astoria blinked, utterly flabbergasted. That was all her mother was bothered about? Perhaps she had underestimated her mother’s shallowness. Her father, at least, looked slightly saddened by the events, Daphne simply looked bored, as though she’d rather be anywhere but there.
‘Astoria, what on earth made you do this?’ her father seemed genuinely concerned. Astoria stared into space, deliberately ignoring him. He sighed and turned away.
‘Oh for God’s sake!’ Daphne shrieked, leaping up, her curls bouncing animatedly. ‘She’s an attention seeker! That’s why she did it, because she’s a stupid, selfish, childish little attention seeker!’
‘Daphne!’ her father scolded. Her mother, on the other hand, openly agreed. That much was evident from the look on her heavily made-up face. Astoria stared blankly into space, pretending they didn’t exist. Eventually the three left, leaving her alone in her private room, with only the few healers that came to check on her every so often for company. The sky outside her window darkened, turning from lilac to pitch black, Astoria didn’t bother to turn the lamp on next to her bed, she sat in darkness, she preferred it that way, then she couldn’t see the bandages that adorned her wrists, the scars on her arms that had been left too long to be healed, the pale little girl with dark circles around her startling tourmaline green eyes, eyes that were now dull, lifeless, eyes that showed a strain that most thirteen-year-olds had never experienced, in the mirror that faced her bed.
At some point she fell into a light, uneasy sleep, only to be woken early in the morning by a healer delivering her breakfast on a tray. She left it untouched. The toast was stone-cold and the tea in the teapot more like iced-tea when her mother burst into the room, her face twisted with fury, brandishing a copy of the Daily Prophet above her head. She threw it at Astoria, just as her father rushed in.
‘Now, Louisa, don’t let her see—‘ he was interrupted.
‘Don’t let her see? Don’t let her see? Of course she needs to see! She needs to see what she’s done the selfish brat!’ her mother shrieked, on the verge of hysteria. Astoria looked at the headline on the front of the paper.
Business-Tycoon Greengrass’ Daughter
Hospitalised After Suicide Attempt.
Youngest daughter of noted business tycoon Nicholas Greengrass and “Help for Orphaned Witches and Wizards” chairwoman Louisa Greengrass has apparently been hospitalised after a suicide attempt yesterday in the family’s mansion. Thirteen-year-old Astoria Greengrass was found in the en-suite bathroom of her bedroom in the Greengrass Estate sometime yesterday afternoon by one of the family’s house-elves. A source close to the family says “Astoria was always being compared to her older sister, Daphne, she isn’t as traditional as her sister and it seems that her parents can’t deal with it.” Astoria is being treated in St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries for slit wrists and is apparently in a stable condition. A healer from St. Mungo’s told our reporters yesterday “We are not allowed to give information on patient’s injuries, but Miss. Greengrass is in a stable condition and will be fine given some time.” However, another of our reporters was interviewing the mother of Astoria, Louisa Greengrass, around the time that Astoria is suspected of inflicting these injuries upon herself, our reporter was informed by Mrs. Greengrass that her youngest daughter was, in fact, staying with a friend for the week. Is it any wonder that the poor girl tried to kill herself? Look at the sorry excuse for a family she has.
By Rita Skeeter.
Astoria looked up at her parents, her expression impassive.
‘What are you blaming me for? You’re the one who lied,’ it was the first thing she had said to her parents. Her mother burst into tears.
‘Astoria that’s no way to speak to your mother,’ said her father flatly.
Within a week Astoria was released from St. Mungo’s and returned to the Greengrass Estate where she spent most of her time in her room or avoiding her parents and sister, although Daphne managed to make several snide comments throughout each day and her sister’s best friend Pansy Parkinson took it upon herself to give Astoria as many pitiful looks as she thought necessary. Astoria resisted the urge to roll her eyes.
Astoria didn’t yet know that everything would become much worse and much better at exactly the same time.