Chapter 1 : In a Man's World
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I was born into a manís world; I have lived my life there and I will die there. There are some women who can rise up and take their places, but they put me on my shelf and give me one or two simple purposes at a time so as not to overwhelm me. I welcome it, truly, because the world as it is feels rather like a raging storm to me.
It is not that I am not bright or strong or brave. I am simply forgettable.
I was the middle sister. My parents craved something a little more refined than screaming, pouting baby Bellatrix, but they didnít fall in love with me enough to stop there, and when Narcissa was born they seemed to forget me entirely. I often felt like the calm center, bringing my sistersí many petty arguments to a halt and turning them back onto the paths toward their own unique purposes. When I left, they retained their peace for some time, if only for the sake of a mutual hatred for me. But eventually they did spin out of control. Bellatrix fell head over heels for a monster, a mockery of the true affection I felt for my husband, and it destroyed her. Narcissa, always the quietest of our brood, made the one bold move of her lifetime and now lives in solitude and silence with her purposeless husband and melancholic son. By the time I was there to pull them back from the edge, they did not want me.
Of course, I had my own course to chart. My life with Ted was a sweet reprieve from long evenings of standing up straight and giving pretty smiles to my fatherís disreputable associates. I still think of him as the beat of my heart, sending warmth into my veins when I start to sink back into the chill of my perpetual loneliness. My poor husband did not quite understand what he got when he took me to be his wife, but I tried to play the part, and eventually I learned how to wash my own dishes and stretch a small and sporadic paycheck and even smile at him with my teeth showing. Of course, the curtain all but fell when I learned that he had been killed. It took me many years to get up and get the Prophet in the morning and it still feels wrong.
Quite the opposite, my daughterís birth brought a strange emptiness to my life. I realized shortly afterwards that I would not need to busy myself with looking into prospective husbands for her or buying her fine clothes to wear to her first ball. When I changed her diaper or gave her something to eat, my work was completed, at least until she began crying for more. It was strange, really; I felt exhausted after cleaning the house and tending to the baby all afternoon, and yet it seemed as if I had done nothing. There are no praises or rewards for the work of a poor housewife.
When the second war came, my husband insisted that we try to find a place where we could. Fearful of coming face-to-face with unrecognizable versions of my former sisters, I reluctantly agreed but tried to stick to tasks I had come to understand. My good marks from school allowed me to heal wounds; in the fleeting moments between episodes of bloodshed I washed soiled robes and helped prepare food. I saw familiar faces from my time as a girl and tried not to look too closely. But I never quite became comfortable with having blood on my hands and grief in my heart. My parents had not done anything to prepare me for this sort of life.
Despite all that I had already endured, I was faced with a greater trial still the night the Death Eaters came to my home. I do not know how they found me, but I must have been important enough for that small moment to warrant their wrath. Still, I held my tongue, for it was part of my duty. I consider it only the logical outcome. We were praised by the Order of the Phoenix, but I slipped back from the forefront as soon as I could, content to let my aches heal slowly to the tune of everyday life.
Eventually even that brutal period came to an end and I was left with one final role. All others were stripped from me except for a baby boy my daughter was meant to raise. I knew the routine of mothering well enough by now, but it was difficult for me to look upon him for long without my husband and daughter there beside him. I did the best I could and eventually he made it to adulthood. I suppose I succeeded.
Now I am naked, all my roles taken away and what remains left to exist as an anachronism in a strangely peaceful world. I suppose there is nothing left but to die. I receive visitors from time to time and venture into Diagon Alley once in a while, just to look at what is available in the shops and watch the children running around. Unlike my father and cousins and husband, I have no name to claim at the end of my life. I am a woman and I played a supporting role. It will not seem like much to the young girls who dream of becoming powerful witches and taking prominent jobs, but for me, it is just enough. I carved a place out for myself and there I am content to exist, to breathe, to go about my small and simple life until the day that it ends.
Perhaps, if there is another life after this one, I will be given another role in death. I will continue to practice my few talents until then, just in case, just to be prepared. I will do what I have always done, cling gently to others and look for a use for myself. Perhaps, in time, all of my lifeís little responsibilities will add up to something grand.
Perhaps I have already done enough in this life to be remembered for it after all.
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