Perched on the edge of some incomprehensible dream, I heard a voice. It sounded so familiar, but I couldn’t make it out. Who was it?
Gosh, that sounded familiar… wait… wait, what were they saying? The Burrow? The Burrow… There was something about that name—something that alerted my senses a tad bit.
“Wake up, Sweetheart,” Ginny said again, her hand resting on my leg. “It’s time to go to the Burrow.”
Ugh. “Noooo….” I mumbled. Of course it would be that. Not that I didn’t love the Burrow. There mere mention of it had drawn me from unconsciousness. I simply just did not want to get up. My bed was too cozy.
Plus, I knew that it would be hectic. It always was, especially at Nana Weasley’s. And Ginny was just like her when things got stressful. It was quite humorous to watch, but when you were at the receiving end of one of their verbal attacks, you couldn’t help but quiver. Though nothing could compare to The Look. Indescribable, that was…
Ginny laughed. “Honey, the girls have been pestering me to wake you up for hours now. If you don’t get out of bed, they’ll be up here with a pitcher of cold water.”
“When do we leave?”
“And what time is it now?”
She hesitated. “Nine…”
“That’s so long!” I gasped. “Three hours? Seriously??”
“Just get up, Love,” she said with another laugh. “There’s food, be thankful,” she added with a smirk. Oh, how she knew me, I thought to myself. I could smell the sausage already and heard my tummy rumble as Ginny closed the door behind her.
I knew there was plenty of other food as well—for it wasn’t a Weasley meal unless it were a feast (even though Ginny was now, technically, a Potter)—but all that mattered was the sausage. At least to me.
I thought about going downstairs to steal some before everyone else ate it all, but I knew James would do me the favor of guarding it, so I began to undress. As I gathered my things for a shower (In my underwear, of course. I wasn’t wandering around my room naked, though that didn’t sound like an unpleasant idea. Clothes were such a hassle), I thought about what Ginny had said: Be thankful.
I knew that she had only been talking about breakfast, but the Potters had given me the world to be thankful for and I wasn’t about to forget it.
Turning on the shower as hot as it would go, I plugged the drain and let it run for a while before crawling into the tub and letting the water wash over me as I lay down. It was as if the steam from the shower were drawing everything from deep inside me… thoughts, emotions, memories… it all came bubbling to the surface.
From as early as I could remember, my parents and I had always lived with my grandparents on my mother’s side. My dad’s family all lived in America, so I’d never met any of them. He’d met my mother on a vacation that he, romantically, never returned from. I smiled as I reached for my razor. And then I grimaced. Stupid razor. Why didn’t they just have a simpler hair removal spell? The only one I knew, I couldn’t seem to perfect. And by that I mean that I annihilated that damn spell. It didn’t even remove the hair and still left a burning stench that throughout the entire room. Stupid razors. I was stuck with them.
At any rate, my grandparents we pretty far up there in the age department, and we lived with them more for just-in-case purposes than anything else. My mother and I generally did the grocery shopping and Mum would help Grandmum with dinner. Dad and Granddad usually did the yard work and miscellaneous things repairs around the house. It’s not that my grandparents weren’t capable on their own, it’s just that Mum and Dad liked to make things easier on them.
[Sounds like the perfect little family, right? Well it was. But one day, coming home from school, something happened that should probably have been predicted on the reader’s part by now, especially if they bothered to read the prologue. But if not, I’ll continue anyways.]
I remember how bright everything seemed. Each color appeared to be intensified. The flowers of early spring that my father had nurtured so dearly for the past several weeks were finally starting to make some real progress and stand out. There were yellows and purples and pinks, along with reds and blues and even whites. I remember how the whites seemed to look so pure. (I guess that fit the setting of the adventure I was being forced into today. Oh well. At least James would be there to entertain me, I thought as I reached for the shampoo.)
There were flowers all throughout the gardens and along the fence line, as well as the path that led from the sidewalk to the front porch. And then there were still more in the window sills and on the porch itself in various different pots, all of which were absolutely gorgeous, but only one flower really stood out to me.
My favorite flower had always been the daffodils—the only flower that my dad and granddad hadn’t planted. They grew throughout the yard of their own accord and they’d always been the most pleasant to me. The smell of the earth and flowers was a bit stronger with the help of the rain, and I could smell the daffodils before we even reached the walk. You see, it had been lightly drizzling as Dad walked me home from school, me talking animatedly about my day. But the sun was still out, peaking from between the clouds and offering us a double rainbow on the outskirts of town.
As we walked into the house, Dad told me that Mum was out picking up groceries for a special dinner she was going to make for my grandparents’ anniversary the following day. We went to the living room to say hi to Grandmum and found her on the couch, her fingers intertwined with Granddad’s. Apparently they had fallen asleep while watching TV.
I looked at Dad and with a smile and a nod, he gave me permission to go and wake them. They looked so happy. It made me smile as rested my hand on Granddad’s and shook it slightly, but he didn’t stir. I then took both their interlocked fingers into my small hands said softly, “Grandmum, Granddad, I’m home. Want to hear about my day?” Their hands felt cold in mine.
Nothing. I shook their hands a bit more. “Dad? Why won’t they wake up?”
I watched him as he walked around the couch and rested the back of his hand against Grandmum’s cheek. He looked concerned. Mum walked in the door then and, with one glance at the look on Dad’s face, she screamed, groceries in hand crashing to the floor…
The water was starting to get cold. It contrasted strangely with the warmth of the tear I felt rolling down my cheek. Reaching with my toes to the faucet, I turned it off and remembered how hard my mother took their death. Dad told her to think about how happy they were in their final years and how lucky we all were to have been able to spend so much time with them, but it didn’t seem to help. Taking care of them had been her life. Mum had always been close with them. She was an only child and this was the first time she’d ever been without her parents. She didn’t know what to do without them.
It was strange for me to see my mother, always so happy-go-lucky, suddenly thrust into this deep depression. I didn’t even know what a depression was at the time. All I knew is that she stopped bothering to get dressed until late in the afternoon and no longer had any appetite. She wore nothing but black and cried all the time. But they were always silent tears… She didn’t even attend the funeral. I couldn’t figure out why. Finally, Dad said it was time for us to move—that we needed to go somewhere that wouldn’t remind Mum of them around every corner.
[And if you didn’t get the hint before that you should read the prologue, then maybe you’ll get it now. If you actually did happen to read it, you’ll understand the significance of this move. If not, I’m sure you’ll figure it out eventually.]
Well, it helped. Mum stopped wearing black so much and only cried every now and then. She still slept a lot and didn’t eat much, but she got dressed more. All of her clothes looked funny on her though. They were all too big and I no longer played with her hair in the evenings because it felt funny. There was less of it and there was always a giant hairball left in the brush afterwards.
When I asked Dad about it, he just looked sad… “Mummy is sick, Sweetie.”
“But she’s not sneezing. I can get her a tissue anyways, just in case,” I offered, naively.
“She has a different kind of sickness, Honey.”
“What do you mean?”
He hesitated. “Well… She has something called cancer.” The look on his face broke my six year old heart.
“NO!” I screamed. “She can’t! Mrs. Granger told us about that! (Yes, there is a story behind this.) She said her mum had that and died! No, she can’t! No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!” I continued to scream until my dad pulled me into his lap and locked his arms around me where I sobbed. And as much as I try to forget it, I’ll always remember the one and only time I’d ever seen my dad cry. His grip was so firm as he held me. He made not a sound, but his tears were hot as they fell to my cheek…
By this time the tears were falling steadily into the water at my chin as I sat in the tub. My dad took her death hard. He began drinking. At first he tried to control it for me. He’d only drink while I was away. I took to staying with the Potters on the weekends because our house was too lonely. James was always there for me when I needed him. And Ginny would even come and get me in the mornings before school to do my hair. Not that I bothered with that much nowadays, but it got me out of the house. Then she would walk James, Al, Lilly, and me to school.
I hated coming home. Ginny and Harry would always let me stay with them until dinner after school. It gave me a way to occupy my time and avoid the constant stench on my father’s breath. James and I would work on our homework and then we would all grab the mini brooms and go fly around in the attic. We’d stay up there talking and laughing and flying until we could no longer stand the rumbling of our tummies that came from the mouth-watering smell of Ginny’s wonderful cooking.
After dinner, Harry and James would walk with me back to my house, though it was only next door. It was good, though—it gave me the courage to open the door. I usually went straight to my room.
The day of my seventh birthday, as we walked out James’s front door, Ginny told us to go ahead and start on our way to school and she’d be with us in a few minutes. As we turned the first block, I saw a double rainbow behind the school. I guessed it must have been raining before we got up, since the ground was wet. Al glanced behind us and said that he’d seen his mum standing on my front porch talking with my dad.
Later that night, Ginny had made me a lovely cake with lemon flavored daffodils made out of frosting and announced that my dad was on his way with a special gift. We waited for hours for him to show up before Harry finally said that we were eating the cake without him as he brought out a pile of gifts for me. James also had one. You could tell that he had wrapped it because it was quite sloppy and it made me smile. He even wrapped it in the funnies from the newspaper because he knew they were my favorite. I still had that gift.
Around eleven o’clock, we saw a police officer pull up to my house. Harry went over to see what the problem was while Ginny went and made us all some hot chocolate to have with our movie. (I loved Ginny’s hot chocolate. It was always really minty.) It was a really good thing my birthday was on a Friday, or else we never would have been able to stay up that late. But as Ginny brought in the tray of mugs, the expression I saw on her face as she looked out the window more than told me that something wasn’t right.
At any rate, she sat down with the rest of us and continued to watch the movie until Harry got back. He never said anything. He just picked me up from next to James and sat me in his lap as he put his arm around his son. I could no longer concentrate on the colors moving around on the screen. Harry’s arms were warm and comforting. They made me sad…
“Knock, knock,” I heard. “Brad, aren’t you eating? I’ve got ice water! Mum wants to know if you drowned in there.” It was Lilly.
“I’m fine Lil,” I replied. Just having a slight emotional breakdown, that’s all. Nothing out of the ordinary. I was only the moodiest human being/witch on the planet. I laughed at myself. “I’ll be down in a minute.”
“Well, you’d better hurry because James won’t let anyone near the sausage until you’ve had your share and I’m starving.” Ahhh.. I knew I could count on him.
The laughter helped. I was still crying, but not in such a tragic, oh-my-God-kill-me-now kind of way. It was more of a wow-I-can’t-believe-that-actually-happened kind of way. At least he was on his way to do something for me for once when he crashed. At least he had a reason to be out on the icy roads other than drunken stupidity. Ginny told me that he had barely even been drinking that day. She’d made him stop that morning when she was talking to him on the porch. He’d been on his way to pick up my birthday gift—the one that I still hadn’t opened…
I finished my shower quickly, pulled on a pair of well-fitting jeans (which I knew would make my butt look damn good) and one of my many muggle concert t-shirts and ran down the stairs, jumping the last few. Damned if I was going to miss breakfast.
Write a Review Do You Believe In Magic: The P.A.R.E.N.T Project : The Moodiest Human Being/Witch On the Planet