I like the way Mum leaves the curtains open all day and night. She said something about 'letting me see the world' or some rubbish along those lines; I just like watching the birds fly across the sky and the way rain can turn to sunshine in minutes. Sometimes the giant oak just outside my window sways in the wind and soothes me to sleep, and more frequent still are the tiny water droplets on the glass pane that slowly make their way to the bottom. I like it all.
"MUMMY!" I call, but it comes out as a scream. How do those older people do it? What with the vocal cord control and all… It's a bit too complex for a child my age.
I'm Harry, by the way. My eyes are green like my mum's, and she tells me my diaper smells like my dad's socks. Whatever that's supposed to mean.
Anyway, she's in here, now, cooing from behind the slats of my crib. I haven't seen her since the last time I woke up, Mid-Night, they always whisper. I like Mid-Night. Stars twinkle from outside my window, and sometimes the moon is full and bright… I'm not sure why my parents hate it so much, though. I'll call for them… oh, they come, alright, just like always… but they always grumble about it, and they don't look happy. I don't like it.
A strand of her red hair always falls right in front of the tiny black spot that I like so much, right under her left ear lobe. I don't like that, so I grab the strand and attempt to push it away. I don't think she likes it. She cries out, and I release the strand with an excited scream. A tear escapes from my eye, and Mum picks me up. She bounces up and down, whispering 'I'm so sorry, baby…' into my ear. I continue to scream, for pleasure of course. It's nice to scream.
Mum exits my room, patting my back. I'm over screaming, but I'm still hungry. So I whimper. I notice the clock upon passing it down the hallway; 7:30. Late morning.
"Harry!" I hear my father's familiar voice. It's coming from the kitchen, where we've arrived. "Do you know it's 7:30 in the morning?" He sounds surprised at my late start.
Of course I do, nitwit. Really, sometimes my father has no sense. I whimper.
"Of course he does, nitwit. Really, James, sometimes you have no sense at all…" my mum explains, if not a tad bit more sarcastically than I would have permitted myself.
Dad laughs, the nitwit he sometimes is, and takes me from my mum. I smile at him, forgiving him his transgression. "It's alright," I add, but instead gurgle "Blaghna". The man laughs again and turns me to the newspaper sitting in front of him.
I'm embarrassed to have to point this out, but… I have a rather strong need to – Oh, how to put this?- shove random objects into my mouth. I can justify myself, though! My… my gums hurt. Teeth are poking through by the mouthful, and I can't seem to… I can't seem to… I…
Before I can cry out, I lunge for this delicious-looking paper in front of me. I catch a corner in between my sore, sore gums and gnaw on it, dribbling some slobber on the table in the process. I munch. It tastes a bit like the grass I ate the other day, but still good. Ooh, what's this? Dried leaf. Nice.
Wha- WAIT ONE MINUTE, SIR! That man has gone and pulled it out of my mouth. "I WAS SOOTHING MY WRETCHED GUMS!" I wail, letting out a huge sob.
"No, Harry…" my dad tries to calm the situation. He attempts his feeble explanation of 'You'll choke' or 'It's filthy!'. Not that I care about ANY of that. You foolish man. Do you KNOW how much these things hurt! Here, let me rip your gums out, really, I'll show you, I've just got to… No, not your lip… Not your nose… BLASTED HAND-EYE COORDINATION!
Why are you batting my hand away from your face? Father. I'm trying to let you get a first-hand experience, here. You don't know. You HAVE all of your teeth.
More comforting hands pull me away from the man. I've stopped crying. Why? Why should I stop? Dignity's sake? Bah. Those two care NOTHING about my dignity; since day one I've been naked in front of every visitor to my home, and do they feel it necessary to relinquish any of their dire need to wipe my bottom? I think not. Oh, blast. I lost my train of thought…
Oh, Mum, he took it away. He took it away, Mum! What are you going to do about your husband? Hmm? What? Surely YOU know how it feels to… Oh, you don't. That big toothy grin of yours. It makes my heart melt, Mum. It's the same with James. He talks about you when he rocks me to bed. Your smile, your pretty hair, the eyes you gave me… Somehow… I'm not quite sure how that works, but my dad says I have good genes. I don't know what that means, Mum. Genes. Didn't you tell me you wore them the other day? I wish you would answer me every once in a while. Lily. I like your name. I really like it, Mum. I- MOTHER, PICK ME BACK UP!
My chair. Why can't she just hold me and feed me? But then, this way I can look at my father, watch over him and make sure he's wiggling his nose as I look on. I like his nose-wiggling. I try sometimes, nose-wiggling, but I usually just make a 'funny face' that no one seems to understand. But, no. It's a sign that I am my father's son.
My chair is especially annoying this day. Its tray that protrudes out the sides before me is filthy. Clean it, Mum. Thank you.
Now, today. What is this stuff? Chopped fruit, she says. Oh, right. This looks like a bit of banana, and this a bit of green grape. I like these, Mum knows. She's done a good job, she's aware of that, and she grabs a dish from the soapy sink and rubs it with a dry towel.
I lean over the side of my chair and pitch a grape as far as possible. Heh.
"Harry, no, no, no!" my father scolds gently. Excuse me for practicing my cricket skills. Yes, Dad, I know you want me to become a Seeker. I'm just expanding my horizons. Calm yourself.
I destroy a banana bit between my fingers after my father's head has disappeared behind his paper, keeping my eyes fixed to where he could peek out at any moment. Nothing. I lick the puree out from in between my thumb and forefinger. Again, nothing from the other end of the table. I challenge his stubbornness to scold once more, reaching across my tray and onto the table where I promptly smear the mushy, slobbery banana piece. Interesting.
Mother walks over. She's still drying that dish. "Harry, Sirius will be over today. Excited?"
Well of course I'm excited, woman. It's Sirius Black. I might wet myself. Oh, dear… I didn't mean to be so literal.
This Black man has always been around, see. He's my father's favorite friend, and I can see why. He'll tickle me until I squeal, make my father laugh until he cries, and mum says he keeps us out of her hair for a while. As if either of us could actually fit on the top of her head. She's almost as bad as father sometimes.
I arise from my mid-morning nap feeling refreshed. I don't feel like being held, so I turn my head to the side and notice my mother charming my diaper bucket. Well, if she's in here. "Mummy!" I think, "Nabluh," I say. Curse it.
My mother looks my way and is surprised. "Well, Harry! You're in a good mood…" She stands and puts her hands on her hips, her wand poking out from her fist.
Wands are fascinating things; I like them. Long, thin, pointy… Easy to grip, and you aren't supposed to shove them in your mouth. Perfectly delicious.
"Muh-nuh nuh," I comment, complimenting mother on the shininess of her hair this afternoon.
"Really, dear? I never knew that."
She walks to the crib, and I wiggle my body around in mirth. I put on my best smile. She folds her arms across the top of my crib slats and stares down at me. She sits there. Smiling. Staring. I continue to wiggle. It's an interesting communication.
She finally reaches in to me and picks me up. I lay down and rest my still-weary head on her left shoulder. "I love you, Harry…" she whispers. Her voice wavers, and I'm not sure I like the sound of that.
Love. They've said it to me and each other many times, and I think I like this…love. It sounds happy…secure…peaceful.
But a teardrop falls onto my back, and I sit up on my mum's arm. She's crying. Why, Mum? There's nothing to cry about. I pat her nose to try and comfort her, because I don't like Mum's tears, and she giggles.
"Oh, Harry… One of these days you'll learn it all."
All of what, Mum? The Magic? The Wand? This War Dad keeps talking about? All of that?
She didn't answer, she just rocked back and forth. A few more tears fell before she wiped them all away and started down the hall. But I still didn't like it.
I caught the clock once again. 3:30, my goodness. Why am I sleeping so much today? I am one year old; I should be learning how to detach from the crib for such extensive periods of time.
Mum? Mum, I remember you saying something about Sirius. When's he coming? Soon, I hope, since you've apparently been having a rough day, what with your crying and all. I don't like you thinking Dad and I are in your hair… And about that, Mum, I think that's the single nuttiest thing I've ever heard come out your mouth.
"You've been quite chatty today, little boy," Mother remarks. I can hear that the usual grin in her voice has again returned. I like it.
Where are we…? Ah, the living room. Such an attractive area of the house… Its walls are soft yellow; its furniture is intricate on the wood, delicate to the touch. There is a great fuzzy carpet on which I practice my crawling most every day instead of the hard, painful wood the rest of the floors are covered by.
Mum sets me on the ground, exits the room, and I crawl. I crawl to the coffee table set in front of the big brown couch. I reach for the siding, still rather drowsy from my long nap, and grasp the edge. I pull and prop one foot under my bottom for stability. I'm pulling off a gorgeous push-and-pull combo. And I realize. Good God, I'm quite heavy. I begin to shake. I'm going to collapse! But I'm so… close…
What's this? I… I do believe that I'm standing! Me! Mum! Dad! Get in here! Gaze upon the fruit of your loins! Feast your eyes on the true beauty of my accomplishment! Look at me now! I bounce up and down on my legs, making quite the gleeful racket. Dad walks into the room; he must've heard me. He stops short at the threshold.
"Honey…?" he calls to my mother. His eyebrows are raised and a smile is beginning to spread across his mouth.
"Mmm?" Mum answers from the kitchen.
"Did you leave Harry standing up on the coffee table?"
"No, dear, why?"
My father's grin explodes and he walks toward me, arms spread wide. "Harry, you've done it!"
Yes, Father, I have! Aren't you proud of me?
"Look at you, smiling." Dad crouches down next to me. Oh… I'm grinning! I cannot deny myself the pride, I'm afraid… I like standing. "You must be very proud of yourself."
Mum walks in, drying off a tiny black cauldron. "You didn't answer me, I just- Oh, HARRY!" She cracks a huge smile and runs over to where my father and I are discussing this great milestone. "You pulled yourself up for the very first time!"
Thank you, Mother, for pointing out the obvious.
We spend hours in the family room, Mum returning the cauldron to its proper place in 'the closet'. I forget that Sirius was supposed to be here, but I don't really mind. I like our togetherness. It isn't often that our small family can play for such long periods of time... and it's all because I pulled myself into a standing position! I wonder what will ensue when I take my first steps. I start to position myself around, but realize, quietly, that I should simply save this for some other night when my entire family is together again, like this.
"You were such a big boy today!"
Mum rubs her nose against mine after buttoning my sleeper. I squirm and smile for her, and she smiles back.
I am fresh and clean, thanks to my father, who is now standing at the foot of my crib looking out the window. Mum lifts me from my table and bounces me on her hip. I'm so tired, I cannot even keep my head up off her body, but instead lean against her chest as she kisses the top of my head.
"Oh, baby, you're so sleepy… Tell Daddy night-night!" Oh, gracious. Mum's going into high-pitched-and-rather-annoying mode again. It really needs to end soon, but I'm too drowsy to protest.
"What're you looking at out there, James?" Mum asks.
I glance at my father and Mum lowers me into my crib. His eyes are narrow and his head is tilted. "Stay here." He backs out of the room, flips the light switch, and races off down the hallway.
Through the foggy screen that now starts to form over my eyes, I can see my mother search her pockets. "No, no… my wand, my wand is missing! Oh, oh, no…"
Why is she so worried? I don't like this. She glances frantically about the dark room, then looks toward the door. "No, I can't leave…" she whispers almost inaudibly.
I drift off…
My face is smashed against a shaking body. Mum. She screams for my father, but I cannot see her face.
Coming down the hallway. Outside my door.
Mother looks me in the eyes. Her own are afraid, drenched in fear. Her eyes are my eyes; that's what they all say. I like that.
"I love you, Harry… I always will, and don't you ever forget that…" Mum whispers in a very frightened, shaking voice.
How can I comfort her? "Mummmm…" I say.
She smiles as the door crashes down. She doesn't take her eyes off me, but I take a look over her shoulder. At least, I try, because Mum has taken the liberty of locking my head into place with a rather painful grip. Forgive me for being curious as to whom is crashing down the door of my bedroom!
"Step aside and your life will be spared, woman," a voice hisses.
I really, really don't like it.
I struggle to catch a glimpse of my intruder, but she won't let me get around her face.
"Stupid girl, I said MOVE ASIDE!" the voice, a man's, I think; the sound is almost inhuman.
"I love you, Harry."
It happens so quickly… A tingle runs down my spine as my Mum's eyes grow wide. Her mouth gapes open in shock. I fall from her grasp and onto the floor, knocking my head against the wood…
"Oh, thank God, 'e's alive!" a deep, grumbly voice mutters from the back of my consciousness. My eyes open to reveal a rather fuzzy image of- wait, it isn't my vision that's fuzzy. It a huge, bearded man!
YOU AREN'T MY MUM! I sob into the bearded man's funny-smelling coat. And then a strange thing happened. This gargantuan, strange giant begins wailing right along with me! I stop and ponder the mammoth teardrops that flow from his eyes in rivers and the tasty-looking piece of who-knows-what entangled in that black mane of his.
After a good thirty seconds, I glimpsed my surroundings over his head and realized… My house! It's gone! Reduced to rubble against the night sky! HOW COULD THIS BE!
I begin to cry again, but the big monster holding me so snugly and securely gets louder and louder. Maybe if I can find some sort of off button on this thing…
Apparently, the little tug of a beard can go a long way. He immediately stopped, wiped his eyes, mumbled something about how I'm right and we should get off to see Rumble-Nore (whatever that is), and walked over to an ordinary-looking motorcycle. He mounted the rather small (for him, at least) vehicle and started the engine. Fascinating.
I'm beginning to like this new little adventure…
I snap open my eyes and stare straight at a rather long-faced woman, who is screaming like a lunatic around what must've been a set of broken milk bottles…