Chapter 2 : The second chapter
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I do not prefer the term know-it-all, I wouldn’t even go so far as to say I know all. All is such a big word, and there are a lot of things I do not know yet. I did read a lot of books in my days, still do. Some call me a walking library. It’s one of the many charming pet names my husband uses for me. I don’t mind so much anymore. When I was younger I did, though. I’ll give you a view on my primary school experiences.
When I turned seven and started in my first year I had a lot of magic build up inside me. It had to come out once, since it had not found a controllable way it went looking for a more explosive way to show itself. It was my first day with my new teacher Mr Robertson. He was a nice, young teacher with blue eyes and dimples when he smiled. He told us what we were going to do this year and it sounded very exciting. Julius was in my class too and he had a desk next to mine. When Mr Robertson told us about writing our own stories I couldn’t help but squeal with excitement. I loved writing stories. Julius looked at me with a bored expression. Mr Robertson went on.
“Today we are going to have a little talk about the weather. Can anybody tell me what it is we call weather?”
I knew so I put my hand up. Together with some other classmates. Mr Robertson looked in my direction and asked me to tell us was I knew about it.
“Well, weather is what we experience of the state of the atmosphere,” I told them, I knew the word atmosphere because my dad had used it only yesterday and I thought it sounded rather impressive. Mr Robertson looked amused and asked me to explain what the mend.
“Well, you know when there is a lot of water in the air it forms clouds and rain. When it is warm in one section and cold in the other it becomes windy. The atmosphere is the air, of course. My dad told me yesterday. It was in the paper that there would be a depression in this region, which means it will be cool and probably rainy. That’s what I know.” The rest of the class looked at me as if I were mad or something. Julius turned to me with an irritated look on his face.
“Know-it-all!” He whispered at me.
“Now I don’t think I know everything.” I bit back at him and his pencil snapped in half. He had an evil smile on his face. Yet another of his pencils suddenly snapped. No one seemed to notice except for Julius and me. He looked scared.
Mr Robertson praised me for my answer. He said it was very good for me to know so much about the weather, but we were going to start a little slower. It was fun drawing the clouds and keeping track of how long it rained. After that we learned how to write, something I was already very good at, so I was allowed to read a book while my classmates drew the same letters over and over again. Maths were no problem either. It was really easy to count and calculating was not very different, to me at least.
Mr Robertson decided the other children should have a chance to think for themselves and therefore didn’t ask me for the answer after a while. It made me really frustrated. In the beginning I thought I had made too many mistakes and he did not want me to give the other children wrong information. But when I found he asked at lot of people who always gave the wrong answers I got really confused.
“Mr. Robertson, why don’t you ever give me a turn on answering anymore?” I asked him one day. It had been a very long morning of practising maths and I had know all the answers and he had not asked me once, even though me hand had been up. Instead he had asked my classmates and gotten a lot of wrong answers.
“My dear Hermione,” He said smiling apologetically “I thought it was obvious. Your classmates have to learn this too. If I let you tell everything they won’t learn anything for themselves. But I shall call upon you once and again. I understand it is frustrating to have your hand up and never getting to answer a question. I am sorry.” And after this he let me answer some questions. I was happy for a while.
My classmates meanwhile decided I was to smart for them to play with, or maybe they found me to scary. They collectively ignored me on the playing ground. I once got very frustrated with them and demanded someone play with me. I walked up to one of the girls and told her she must play with me today. She stuck her nose high up and told me: “I don’t play with stupid know-it-alls.”
“How can a know-it-all be stupid?” I asked her frustrated, but she just turned and walked away. After a stride or two her shoe laces undid themselves and tangled together. She tripped and fell. She told everybody it was my fault, that I must have pushed her. After that my classmates did not only ignore me they stayed away from me most of the time. So I sat mostly by myself during playtime. I brought some books to school to read. It made up for the sadness I felt, a little. I was a sad child those days. Most of the time when I was home I could be found outside in the garden reading. I loved my books a lot. They were very nice friends. The never told me I was a know-it-all, or that I was stupid, or that they didn’t like the way I put my hand up in class, or that I was scary. My mom was proud of my grades and my dad said he loved to see me read. So I had reason enough to love my books. They even helped me out when a bunch of boys from a year above me started to bully me. They would wait outside school every day and call me bad names. One of them was probably Julius’ brother, he resembled him a lot. Mostly I ignored them and walked straight past them. They really hated it when I did so.
“He Hermini, how you doing?” One of the big boy shouted.
-Ignore them Hermione, they are not worth it to be in trouble for,- I told myself,- keep walking.-
And so I did.
“Come on Hermiono, don’t ignore us. It must not be easy to hear is trough all that hair but I’m sure we talk loud enough for it.” Another said.
“Yeah, if you did not have a beaver face I would call you...”
-Don’t listen to them, they want you to feel bad. Mom always says boys like that don’t think about the consequences of their words.-
Normally they would trail of after a while. But not today.
“Shall we walk you home, Minioni?” they kept walking with me. “Your mom probably forgot to pick you up again, didn’t she?”
My mom had done that once and ever since they kept reminding me. It wasn’t even her fault. A patient with a dental emergency was brought in. She and dad had to work for an hour on him. When they were done my mom had realized how late it was and hurried to pick me up. She found me crying on the sidewalk. Something my bullies really enjoys recalling.
“You gonna cry again? You’re stupid enough for it. I bet you don’t even know how to walk home. You fail, stupid.”
“I’m not STUPID!” I yelled at them, turning around. It was a bad mistake. Now they knew my weakness. They kept on teasing, I went back to ignoring. I had to walk home, since I was old enough to do so, according to my mom. After a few streets they got really bored of me ignoring them. One of them pushed me, hard. Since I did not see it coming I almost fell over. They laughed while I stumbled. After a few steps one of them tried to trip me. I saw what he tried to do and quickly turned around.
“Will you stop it. This is really getting lame.” I told them with my best bored voice. They did not buy it and tried to trip me a few times more. The Julius-like boy gave me an rather violent shove, which had me down on the pavement. I scraped my hands and knee on my way down. They were bleeding, there was a hole in my panty and on top of that tears were forming in my eyes. I sat up to find all four boy standing around me.
“Look who’s back to crying on the sidewalk. It’s stupid wise-arse Hermini. You wish you had friends to help you now, don’t you.”
“Yeah, but you have no friends. Nobody likes a stupid smarty pants with a bushy beaver face.”
“I don’t care what you say.” I told them but my stupid tears decided this was the moment to fall and ruined my statement. I stood up, still surrounded by four older and larger boys. They laughed very mean and one of them was about to push me again. I’d had enough by then. Fury bubbled up inside me and I turned to him, ready to tell him exactly what I thought of him. I did not get the chance to do so. It all happened very fast. One moment I turned, the other boys getting closer to restrain me from hurting their friend, and the next me books flew out of my bag pack, hitting them around the head. Before I realized what was had happened they had backed off. My books flew back in the bag and I was running fast as I could towards my home. In the garden I sat down under my favourite tree and pulled my books out. They looked very normal, nothing seemed to have chanced. What had happened?
I did not really want to think about the events anymore, so I opened one of the books and began reading. But while I was reading the afternoon events kept playing around in my head. The boys standing around me, the books hitting them. What had happened? And what would happen tomorrow? Would they be very angry, were they going to beat me? It scared me a lot to think about it. That’s when fresh tears started to flow. It was impossible to read now. I tried to brush them away, but the salty water prickled in my hurt hands. I don’t know how long I sat under the tree. I do know that I woke up from my fathers worried calls.
“Hermione, were are you? Hermione?” He was walking around the garden. I opened my eye to see that it had grown dark. How late was it? How long had I been sleeping under this tree? I got up really stiff. It was cold now.
“Dad?” I said a little hoarse. A light flashed my way and my dad hurried to me.
“Hermione, why are you out in the dark, your mom and I were really worried. Dear, you’re freezing, come here.” He pulled of his jacket and wrapped me in it. He then picked me up and took me inside. “We thought you were in your room and did not want to disturb you. But when dinner was ready and we called for you you did not come. What were you doing outside?”
“I was reading.” I said, trying to calm him down. My dad could be so worried.
“In the dark?” He asked, giving me a suspicious look.
“I fell asleep.” I answered. Well that was the true. “Don’t worry dad, I’m all right. See?” I held up my hands in a gesture to show him there was nothing wrong. My hands were badly scraped though. I balled them to fists immediately but my dad had already seen it.
“What happened to your hands?” He asked, setting me in a kitchen chair.
“Nothing.” I lied quickly. But I was sure he did not believe me.
“Hermione, don’t you dare insult my intelligence like that.” He kneeled down in front of me, while my mom walked in.
“Oh, you found her... what’s wrong?” She sounded just as worried.
“Nothing!” I said again. But yet again there were tell-tale tears hiding in my eyes and seeing my parents worried faces they spilled over. My mom discovered my hurt knee too and I had to tell them I had fallen and how it had happened. I told them about the bullies, but not the books that was something I did not want anyone to know. It was too weird. I did not think they would have believed me anyway.
Mom and dad talked to a lot of people at school for me. If they hoped it would stop the bullies they were very wrong. At first the four boy were to scared to do anything but after a while they started to put people in my class up against me. Since they did not like me in the first place it was very easy. They told everyone I was a scary little witch and everybody believed them. So for the last two years nobody talked to me, at least not in a friendly way. The only people in the school that were nice to me were the teachers. They liked me and praised my good answers. It tried my best to be good at everything so that my classmates would forget the stupid witch thing. I did not make it easier for myself though. One day when I had had a very unpleasant morning in class and discovered we were having the worst lunch imaginable I got so upset I chanced the food on my platter into a delicious mince pie. I don’t know if my classmates noticed but I certainly did.
So the story title is not very accurate, I did not exactly become a know-it-all. I was called so by the majority of the classmates and did not see a way out. It was my way to survive, so to say. Doing everything exactly as it was told by the teacher and knowing the right answer to every question. And my parents liked it this way, so why would I change?
I do not own Hermione or her parents or her knowledge, praise JKR for that.
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