The first time I truly saw him was when I was 9. I had been skipping down the street with my other friends, carrying brightly coloured chalk, preparing to play hopscotch with them. When in the middle of the street we saw them. Two boys, almost exactly alike sitting in the street playing. To this day I'm still not sure what they were playing, but that doesn't matter.
I had seen the boys before, around Godric's Hollow where I lived. I knew that he was the same age as me, that he had a brother who was a year younger and that he also had a sister who was about 4 years younger. He didn't go to my school, and I don't think I ever saw him going to any other school. I saw him occasionally, when I was at the supermarket with my mum, I saw him in blinks with his mum. I remember thinking it was funny, because he didn't have the same hair colour as his mum. He had black hair and she had bright red. Just like mine.
I remember all of my friends gathering on the street. There was about 6 of us and I can't remember all their names but I know there was an Ella and a Daisy, possibly a Sophie. Then there was my best friend Zoe of course. She's the only one I'm still friends with. I remember we all gathered together and looked over at the two boys. I remember I was the only one who knew his name.
James Sirius Potter.
They looked up as we approached. I remember them both standing up, and the things they were playing with were gone. We all stood there staring.
I remember he was the first to speak, James Potter.
We all chorused a shy Hi back, one of us even gave a little wave.
I remember stepping forward first and I said, " My name is Poppy. Poppy Turner."
James said his name next. I remember nodding. I already knew that. His brother was called Albus.
I remember one of my friends laughing when Albus said his name. She didn't play with us again after that. I remember asking them if they wanted to play with us, and they did. I remember drawing out the squares and I remember James winning. I remember running home and telling my mum about the new friends I'd made.
We played with them a lot , that year. I remember asking them if they were home schooled. My mum had told me what home schooling is and I was sure that's what they did. But I remember James saying no and later, I remember hearing him ask Albus as they walked away, " What is home schooling?"
I never thought they were strange. I probably should have.
The next year, when I was ten, I remember seeing a lot of James. It was my last year of primary school, and I was going up to high school. I remember asking James if he was going to a high school. He said he was and I remember him saying that he still wasn't sure which one.
I remember saying something peculiar about 6 months later. I remember him saying that he knew which High School he was going to, he had got a letter. I remember him saying that the letter said he had always been going to go there. Then I remember his mum taking him home, saying that I wasn't interested in James's school.
I remember the summer before I went to High School. James had visitors. Rose, his cousin. She had red hair like me, but she was a year younger, like Albus. I remember talking to her. I remember her saying that we should write to each other. But she didn't give me her address. I remember James went away for about a week. And when he came back, I remember he was distant. He said I couldn't see him after school anymore, because he was going to a boarding school. I remember being sad, even when he said he would be back at Christmas.
And then it happened. High School started. I remember my first day, it was scary, but I had Zoe by my side. I remember that, that year I didn't talk to Albus and Lily so much. It had really been James that I was friends with. I remember missing him.
I remember Christmas coming around. I remember seeing James. I remember him looking older, like he'd seen things. I remember thinking he must have gone to a different kind of school from mine, because the things I learnt were stupid.
If only I knew.
I remember him going away again, and the rest of the school year going very slow. Then summer came around and James was back. I remember one time, we were sitting in the street, and I remember talking.
"This year went so quick, I hardly learned anything," I remember him saying, as we tossed stones into a grate.
"It went slow for me, It was really boring without you. Did you miss me?"
"A bit. But I was quite busy this year."
I remember even then he was cocky, even then he grabbed the attention of people, especially girls.
I remember I spent most of the summer with James, lounging around. I knew his mum quite well now, although his dad was still a bit of a mystery. He always seemed to be out at work.
I remember the school year coming around and James leaving again, only this time with Albus as well. I remember splitting apart from most of my friends, except Zoe. I remember school work getting harder, and I remember thinking of James less and less. I remember I saw Lily occasionally, but that she seemed, more excitable and childish without her brothers there.
I remember Christmas, and I remember the first of the Potter's famous New Years parties. I was, invited and so was Zoe, although that might just have been because of me. I remember seeing Rose again, and many of James's cousins, including the beautiful Domnique and Victoire, who were both older, although Domnique only by a year. I remember spending most of the party with James and Rose and Zoe, although again, I didn't get Rose's address. I remember asking if I could get all their phone numbers and I remember Rose and James both said they didn't have one.
I was blinded by stupidity then, and should have realised that something strange was afoot.
I remember the rest of second year, how strange things started to happen. I remember noticing boys and I remember that boys noticed girls. But I remember that I always compared them with James.
I remember not understanding why.
I remember the summer before 3rd year. I remember being excited and slightly nervous, I was going to do exams this year. I remember asking James and he said that he didn't do exams till 5th year. I remember being confused, didn't he leave after 5th year.
He said they did 7 years of high school. I guess it's not unlike ours, doing 5 years of high school, then two of 6th form college.
I remember the end of the summer, seeing him get in his car with all the rest of the family. I remember I was hiding behind the war memorial. I remember James like the memorial and would stare at it for ages until you could drag him away.
I remember thinking, it's just a war memorial.
I remember him telling me that none of his family were on it.
Even now I can't physically see what he liked about it so much.
I remember 3rd year. Zoe got a boyfriend. I remember being teased about my hair. I remember seeing Lily Potter and thinking she looked like me when I was 9.
I remember Christmas Holidays. I hardly saw James. I remember I spent most of it with Albus. We became good friends, almost as good as me and James. But he wasn't James.
I remember the next summer. I remember having my first boyfriend during it. I think his name was Billy Marshall. I remember he never met James. But I remember, stupidly telling James.
I still remember the conversation.
"You'll never guess what!"
"Billy Marshall asked me out!"
"That stupid oaf? Why"
I remember going away after that, remember that James didn't call after me.
I remember I didn't see him all summer.
I remember my 4th year, remember my first kiss. It wasn't very good.
I remember Christmas came along and I went to see Albus most days with Zoe. I remember James hardly ever came down from his room whilst I was there.
"Why does James spend all his time in his room?"
"Oh he's chatting with his new girlfriend. I'm surprised this one lasted so long actually, lasted a few months up till now. She'll be gone in about a week after we go back."
Surprised it lasted so long.
I remember asking, "Does he have many girlfriends?"
I still remember that nod.
I remember their New Year's Party. I was still invited. I remember James was there and I remember he had apparently broken it off with his girlfriend. I remember forgiving him, and it almost being the same it used to be, me and James friends again. Then I remember when all the rest of the party arrived. I remember James being the cocky, sure and arrogant guy that's in him. I remember him flirting with every girl at that party who wasn't related to him.
Every girl except me.
I remember leaving early, and not going back to that house for the rest of Christmas.
I remember still not quite understanding why.
I remember I was stupid.
I remember 4th year, remember Zoe breaking up with her long term boyfriend.
Remember the shock that caused.
I remember 5th year, preparing for my final year of High School. I remember never seeing James that year, not up close, But I remember seeing him from afar. I remember he was taller, messier hair, and if possible more handsomer.
I remember that was when I realised. I was in love with James Sirius Potter.
I remember seeing a kiss. A kiss between Zoe and Albus that summer. I remember keeping Zoe's secret when she asked me to.
I remember 5th year and I definitely remember Christmas.
I remember that Christmas, I saw James. I bumped into him.
I remember freezing in my spot, not quite sure what to do. I remember his brown eyes staring down at me, with surprise. I remember my hair was frizzy and I remember that was the first time I cared about that sort of stuff when I was around James.
I remember I said it coldly and I remember the way he recoiled. I remember panicking and trying to get passed and I remember his hand on my arm.
"What happened Poppy?"
I still remember his tone of voice, the sadness in it his eyes.
I remember thinking, that I could patch it up, be friends again. But I remember that I knew that it would be hard to just be friends.
"I don't know James."
I remember that we saw each other quite a lot that Christmas. We became good friends again.
I remember their New Year's Party. I remember I spent ages getting ready, curling my hair with Zoe, applying makeup and finding the perfect dress. I even remember the dress. It was red and gold because I remember him saying those were his favourite colours. I was high necked, finishing mid thigh and red. There were some gold swirls patterning the sides. I remember when Zoe and I walked in and I remember smirking at Albus's expression when he saw Zoe. I remember seeing James. I remember that the night started out good and that lots of his cousins and friends flirted with me. I remember one boy, I think it was his cousin Fred, was especially persistent in dancing with me. I still remember James's face when I finally did. I thought I was getting somewhere.
But then I remember going upstairs for a drink and I remember seeing that foul piece of paper on the floor. I remember knowing I shouldn't read it and remember reading it anyway.
It was obviously by James, since it was signed. I remember reading the date. It was written today. I remember reading it and realising it was for a girlfriend. Then I remember reading those words.
Listen, babe, that girl Poppy who Albus is always saying I am really good friends with, she's nothing. Nothing. I don't ever speak to her. She isn't beautiful or hot like you, she is nothing.
I was Nothing.
I remember running down the stairs past James and into the night. I remember him calling.
I never looked back.
I remember my last year of High School before 6th Form College. I remember getting my results and being really pleased. I remember choosing the same college as Zoe, not too far away. I hardly saw Albus that summer, for fear of seeing James.
I remember starting college, meeting Cooper Mills. I don't remember much about him now, only that he was handsome. And that he had asked me out. I remember that we dated for the whole of my first year of 6th form and through the summer and up till the Christmas in my second year.
I remember that I hadn't seen James in all that time. I knew he was in his 7th year, but I didn't really care anymore.
I did deep down. But I had tried to push that under.
I remember bringing Copper home that Christmas. I know my mum didn't like him. But I guess in a way he reminded me of someone.
Tall, muscular, with windswept black hair and brown eyes. He was arrogant and cocky and knew all the girls fancied him. Apparently I was the only girlfriend who had lasted more than 9 months.
I remember not realising why I had liked him.
I remember going for a walk on Christmas Eve and I remember seeing him.
James Sirius Potter.
I remember sending Cooper home because he was cold. I remember wishing I could go to but there was something I had to do.
I waited till he had gotten close enough to see me.
I had changed I guess. I no longer had a fringe and my red hair was longer and straighter. I wore more make-up now and I had grown much thinner and taller.
I remember smiling and I remember him smiling back. He tried to go in for a hug, but I remember stepping back.
"Poppy. What happened. You ran off and I never saw you again till now. Albus wouldn't talk about you to me."
Good ol' Al.
"I saw a letter James, that's what happened. I was nothing."
I remember watching as his face grew pale and he realised.
"It's fine James, I'm sure your happy now."
I remember giving him a small pat on the arm and trying to step around him. I remember his pitiful no. I remember the stirring inside me that I had tried so hard to put a lid on. I remember the look in his eyes and remember panicking.
I remember him coming closer and I remember saying "James you had a chance, now let me pass."
I remember getting past and I remember the word he shouted after me.
"Fine. I couldn't be with you anyway, you're not right for me."
I remember stopping, and turning.
I remember the swearing and shouting.
I remember saying, " James, go to hell. Please just go. How dare you say something like that. Am I, lowly, boring unattractive Poppy, not good enough for the likes of you. Am I not the right type? James Potter, almighty and cocky and arrogant and selfish ruler has to marry a princess or the most beautiful but stupid girl in the world so he can be happy. He can't ever be in love with someone unattractive or not hot like me. I'm not right for you. Well here you go, rat face I don't want to ever see the likes of you again."
I remember screaming that last sentence.
I remember him striding up to me, a fierce look on his face. I remember the kiss.
It was better than any other kiss I'd ever had. Because it was with James.
"Don't you ever say you aren't hot again Poppy," I remember him murmuring when he pulled away.
I remember him telling me everything. About his family, his school, his father, his.....magic. I remember it was hard for me to believe but I knew that whatever he said was the truth. I remember breaking up with Cooper. I remember him saying when I did that he had been cheating on me with lots of girls over the year. It made it easier and worse to break up with him.
I remember the rest of my last year in college and remember seeing James again. I remember finding out that Zoe already knew and that Albus had told her.
I remember our wedding, quite a few years later. Zoe was my maid of honour and Lily was the other bridesmaid. I remember my dress, cream, with a lace decoration and a floaty skirt. I remember the aisle, his face at the end. I remember the words I Do. And the magic after the two words were said.
I stand here remembering, on Platform 9 & 3/4, watching as our oldest child, Violet enters the Hogwarts express and I look over and smile at James. I remember everything between our lives, and all the pain and hurt that we've caused to each other and I know that everything is great.
I wave as the train leaves the station, patting Eve on the back as she coughs from the smoke. I know that our children will one day stand here and remember.
And I know that they will remember their lives with pride.