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Chapter 1 : a meditation
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You inhale again. Pervading your senses is the pungent, familiar smell of low tide, of the briny algae that lie on the sand dying. Dying, like the men, women, and children you witnessed crumpled on the cold stone floors of Hogwarts on that dark day in May when you lost your twin, lost everything.
Breathe out. Focus on the waves to numb the memory of that jarring impact on the castle wall, the tumbling stones, Fred laughing, Fred motionless. You open your eyes and watch the cresting water ebb and flow before you.
A noise to your left, and you turn your head. Beside you is a brown pair of feet; your eyes drift up to see Angelina, holding an orange beach towel. Lee is a few dragging paces behind her with a takeaway of fish and chips.
The last time you got fish and chips was with Fred. You fondly remember how the pair of you stole half of Percy’s chips when he wasn’t looking.
Angelina spreads her towel down on the sand beside you; you scoot over, and the three of you sit side by side and eat delicious, greasy fish and chips, and no one speaks for a while.
After the waves have come and gone a few times, Lee starts building a sand castle, and Angelina joins him. But you remain to watch. The last time you built a sand castle was with Fred too, and you’d rather keep it that way. When Angelina destroys one tower with a clumsy foot, Lee laughs. It’s a rubbish castle—not even worms would live in that kind of squalor. So you laugh too.
Out to your right you can see the roundish boulder Ron got stuck on when the tide came in that one time. You and Fred wrote a song about it; even now, you can still remember the words. Between you and the boulder are a few trails of small footprints in the sand; you wonder whether a new group of carefree children is discovering the tide, or if the impressions in the sand are faded images from the past, where you and Fred walked years ago.
Across time you watch and listen and breathe and taste and feel, let it surround you, the salty air, the warm sand, the foamy water creeping in towards your toes. Like living breath, the waves break and recede, life gives and takes. The tide persists, a cycle; the rotting seaweed returns to the sand. And so the wheel turns.
You look back at the sand castle. The tide is coming in, and begins to wash the castle into the sea.
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