I feel like someone in a storybook, to have fallen under a curse, slept, and woken up in an entirely different sort of world. Or so the papers and wireless are telling me.
There will be scars down my back. Not pretty, but I'll live with them. I don't remember how I got them, I only remember falling behind. I wasn't able to keep up with the others. I could not shake the thought that the figures I glimpsed from behind the fences and through the shop windows might have faces that I would recognise, could I see them without their masks. Maybe that's the reason for the masks in the first place. Hiding must make a difficult task easier in almost all cases, be it one of love or war.
I don't want to put too much thought into it now, though.
When all of this started last Sunday I thought I was finally ready to protect others, but I forgot that in order to do that, you have to value others more than yourself. I suppose I ought to feel guilty for my selfish nature, but since my selfishness didn't really do me any good, I think I'll try to forgo the burden of regret. There's enough of that going around as it is.
I was sorry to hear about Harry and Susan and Professor Vector. I'm even more sorry for those who were close to them. I'd say so in person, but it may well be the last thing they want to hear right now. There are others I'm waiting to hear about and hear from. There's nothing to do but wait now, which is easy enough to do from a hospital bed. I am grateful for that bit, at least.
I'm not sure whether or not I should be embarrassed about this. If I choose to be embarrassed, then I risk looking falsely modest, or modestly false, or possibly both. But then I'm not really very easily embarrassed, so maybe it's not embarrassment I feel so much as a dim sense of sheepishness.
I forgot my own birthday.
Eighteen is supposed to be one of the more significant birthdays, too. I'm not sure what happened, whether I was too caught up in revisions or practising certain charms or marathon-napping, but when a bouquet of flowers arrived at the breakfast table yesterday I just assumed they were for someone else. And then they tried to follow me up to the common room and I assumed someone was having a bit of a joke at my expense. But then I saw Draco Malfoy going through the corridor with a pink platypus on the end of a tether. I'd never seen a pink platypus before, so I stopped to gape a bit. It was then that I heard him tell another Slytherin that the platypus was Pansy Parkinson's birthday present.
Well, I finally remembered, after that.
The flowers are very lovely, and I've put them in a vase on a window casement so that the entire dormitory can enjoy them. (Lisa, were they from you?) My parents also sent me a belated parcel of books and lemon sherbets. I've always felt that lemon sherbets are the best sort of sweets to eat while reading. It's the way they melt in your mouth very slowly, I think.
I think I've finally come to accept that I am the sort of person who laughs at the wrong moments, and cries at equally wrong moments. I hardly ever cry, truthfully, but when I do it is always in the midst of awkward, embarrassing situations where crying only serves to make things more awkward and embarrassing. Such as the time we Floo'ed to Auntie Hester's house in Islington and I choked on the floo powder and said "Andy Pester" instead. Crying does little good when you're trapped inside the excessively sooty chimney of Andy Pester's house, and Andy Pester is a blind, ancient wizard who can do nothing more than offer to remove your shoes to make you more comfortable while you wait for your parents to come and rescue you.
And then there's the laughing when nothing's funny at all. Morbid laughing, my Dad calls it. "Humming through the graveyard" is the phrase my Mum would opt for. Which means, I suppose, that for some of us a fit of giggles tends to strike at the most inappropriate moments. At those moments that should be the most painful and moving. I remember, for example, the summer I talked Lisa into going up to the Stamford Shakespeare Festival. I'd never been, of course, but Lisa, being muggleborn, knew how to get there, how to purchase tickets and prepare in advance. We were lucky enough to catch a performance of Coriolanus, one of my favourites, and yet even as the tragic conclusion drew near, I found myself chuckling at the most obscure details. "These eyes are not the same I wore in Rome." I imagined swapping my brown ones for something more fashionable, like blue (to match the colours on my school tie), and found myself smiling at the thought. Everyone around me was appropriately sombre, and I was laughing at the prospect of eyeball accessories. One of my favourite plays, and still laughing. Quietly, to myself, because I know that laughing doesn't make the blows of a tragedy strike any lighter. No, it doesn't.
I don't know why I am sharing this, or who it's rightly intended for. For those who have ever found themselves laughing at the wrong moment, I suppose. You've probably always stifled it, in the past, but should I be in your company the next time the urge strikes, feel free to let loose.
I've been looking outside at those orange-verging-on-red torches for the past few days. I think it is safe to assume that we will never see the green or blue coloured torches during the remainder of our term here at Hogwarts. It would be something like... anathema? Yes, an anathema to advertise the school's defenses as being low or only slightly guarded. What better way to invite attack than to look like lame, unsuspecting prey? Then again, I do wonder if it is any wiser to flaunt the school's defenses as being constantly vigilant, if only because our likely attackers have shown themselves to be easily provoked by a challenge.
I have the uneasy feeling that, torches or not, some things are inevitable. Is it defeatist to say such things? Or merely realistic? Despite how it may appear, I'm not trying to be maudlin.
I may need more of Padma's biscuit remedy here soon. Not for myself, but for Lisa, who has taken to N.E.W.T.s preparation with Moody's prescribed constant vigilance. This is not to say that I am against applying constant vigilance to N.E.W.T.s preparation, but that I believe in pacing oneself.
There are so many interesting distractions as of late, as well. I saw Ronald Weasley and Draco Malfoy walking through the corridors earlier and they were covered in snow. Yet it is perfectly mild outside today. How peculiar.
I've been working on my collection of Russian poetry again.
о врагиня, зеница.
Translating that line was difficult. It isn't that the words are necessarily hard -- though the last one doesn't have a direct word-to-word translation.
I found it somewhere as "Oh enemy, mirror-eye", but that's a bit pedantic, I think.
I think I'll settle on "my enemy, my reflected soul."
That's the intent.
My mum says you have to have a particular sort of soul to translate poetry. It's not just the raw words, it's arranging them and their synonyms in such a way that the feeling is the same, the warmth, the depth. That's why most Westerners don't actually understand Haiku. It's not a sentance split up into three lines, five-seven-five. There's so much more to it than that. It's such an art form.
People misunderstand so much.
I was in shock about all this. I suppose I still am.
Только змеи сбрасывают кожи,
Чтоб душа старела и росла.
Мы, увы, со змеями не схожи,
Мы меняем души, не тела.
Only snakes shed their skin,
So their souls can age and grow.
We, alas, do not resemble snakes,
We change souls, not bodies.
Всю ночь мела метель, но утро ясно.
I'm all right. Lisa is all right. We don't have the facts but I can't help but be angry and blame him -- them. Both. It's not a usual feeling for me, you know. I'm so used to letting these things pass me by.
Everyone now is talking as if all this is Überraschung. But really, in the end, es ist nicht. Oh, I had no thought in my mind that it'd be Anthony. And Terry, he was always dark and careless in the wrong ways, but this... four cadáveres. Four cadáveres. I've still got the ribbons I borrowed from Morag. Kevin and I were going to revise together... Any time I try to think about it, it just slides away.
But if the details are a shock... the fact that something happened shouldn't be. Of course this... what, this cold war? This bit of ugly? Of course it affects you.
And no, there's nothing to be done.
All night a blizzard blew, but the morning is clear. One way or another.
Anthony? That little job I was finishing up at breakfast? I think it's good and done, so I left you a copy in the common room.
(It's for you, too, Lisa. Are we going to stay back in the empty dorm today? I'd really like to...)
I found my Ket text! Time for a celebration, I believe.
Er, does Mr. Mundungus Fletcher have one of these journals?
I'm fairly certain I've never met him...
Remember, remember, the fifth of November.
Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot.
... why do I feel as if this is a terribly important holiday this year? I usually never bother.