While touring the Sydney Opera House, it occurs to her, a fleeting thought: I hope that girl remembers to wear her retainer while we're on holiday. The concept, of a daughter who has grown to nearly her full height, with wild golden brown hair, who never remembers to use a custom made piece of orthodontic equipment, flits across her consciousness like a half forgotten song. Vague memories of circular white sinks and the smell of nitrous oxide fill in the empty spaces in her mind, the engraved cards reading Drs. Granger, DDS that she finds in her wallet trigger the hollow feeling in her sinuses that a quick whiff of the gas always left between getting the valve shut and the mask off the patient. Yesterday, she dreamed of owls carrying thick, folded squares of parchment, covered over in a delicate, methodical handwriting, signed "Love, H." and addressed to "Mother, AT HOME, London" These fancies cast a pall over the holiday trip, touring Australia. Not that a trip to Australia was ever something she fancied…or was it? Her idea had been to go to Northern England, hadn't it? Bemused, she walks through the majestic opera house, barely listening to the tour. Mother….someone does call me Mother…..I know it…."Dearest," She asks later, sitting on the edge of the wide hotel bed in their suite. "I've had the strangest feeling all day." They are preparing for another evening out, he is shaving and she is wearing only her full slip, blush satin, her hair smoothed neatly away from her face in an elegant upsweep. Gets her hair from my mother….all angles and lines like her father…..Again, the thought of a teenage girl in a grey jumper, holding the ugliest orange cat in Creation brushes the edges of her memory and then is gone. To school…a baggage trolley loaded down with all sorts of trunks and bags, through a brick pillar and there they were…screams of girlish laughter as two boys waved emphatically…soggy gray kitten clutched in dirty little hands….Mumma? May I?...smile too adorable to see altered too quickly..."Have you, then?" Her husband, all of forty and handsome as the day they met (that she remembers brilliantly – college in London, rainy steps and a biology paper that needed finishing at the library) replies from the bathroom. "What is that?"
"It's ridiculous, of course. But, I've fancied myself a dentist. I was watching that tour guide speak today, and all I could think was – how horrible his bicuspids were." That's not all of it, but she doesn't tell him that she had a pang, low in her belly and looking at the calendar saw it was September 19, and had the oddest desire to bake a carrot cake. An important day, a singularly important day and for the love of her, couldn't remember why. ...Talked at less than two years old, full sentences, was reading by four….'myonie, she'd say, twirling in her black taffeta witch costume on Halloween…..proudly waving a wooden wand in the air, squealing in delight at the hopes of becoming a 'real' witch…..a fat, ugly cat sitting in the window seat of the back parlor, licking it's saucer sized paws…."That right?" He appears in the bathroom doorway, nodding. "Now you mention it, I've had the oddest dreams since we arrived, and for the world, can't remember our address. Nearly choked earlier on the word 'London', of all things." He shakes his sandy head and sighs. "Damndest thing."
"Why, we live at," She begins, sure of that much at least, and stops. "Oh bloody hell, I can see the place in my mind!" The image of grey steps leading to a fashionable black door, in a very respectable London neighborhood appears before her eyes, but stubbornly refuses to be more than a random picture. "Good Lord, it's as clear to me as you are." ….nursery, with pink and white striped wall paper, and overstuffed chairs covered in floral chintz….a three year old nose turned up at Mother Goose and wanting to be read to from big dusty books from the front parlor. Sunlight streaming through a window, onto the form of a girl who is pouring over a letter, gleefully reading aloud…."Right." He nods, wiping his chin thoughtfully with a plush white towel. "Varnished black door, brass fittings, pretty little tree in a…."
"Red majolica urn, yes." She nods dramatically, finishing the thought. "But, the house number? It's not coming to me." ….rainy days mean umbrellas leaning against the urn, a small warm hand in her own as they walked from the private day school, bottle green knit jumpers and name tags, crisp pleated skirts in blue and green tartan, until the year boarding school started….soup simmering in the big pot on the Aga cooker, while the young voice, lofty and innocently arrogant reads aloud… 'spells are not to be played with, and Muggles are never to be enchanted unless in serious, life threatening situations'….."Odd. Damn peculiar." He shakes his head, glancing at his watch. "Get your skates on, woman. Reservations are for eight." He disappears into the bathroom again to get dressed. "It's the time lag, that's what."
"Right, right. Time lag." She stands and sees her reflection in the wide vanity mirror, dissatisfied with that as an explanation. There is more to it, of that, she is certain. It's odd being forty and having great gaping holes in one's memory. Too odd. She leans closer to the mirror, touching her reflected nose, peering into her own eyes intently. They seemed to belong to someone else ….sad brown eyes after a tight, slightly too long hug at the station, a solemn wave as the train pulled away…popping in and out of rooms with musical CRACKS that made the cat jump and the girl smile smugly…..finding tickets on the table as the breakfast tea kettle sang….whispered words, turning quickly as everything connected to her girl disappeared from memory……Hermione….Everything came tumbling back in a avalanche of painful recollection, every detail remembered in brilliant color…..It's a girl, Dr. Granger, a beautiful baby girl…small fingers wrapped around her own, tiny face crinkled as the world first heard Hermione's voice……'and then, Mother, I said 'wingardium leviosa' and just like that, the feather floated. Of course, I knew it would….'….Professor Dumbledore's thoughtful and cautionary note about the raising of young witches and wizards in a Muggle home…"The most potent magic is that of a Mother's love, be she witch or Muggle, Dr. Granger…take care to always remember that.." ….Hermione Jean Granger……THIS IS YOUR MOTHER….What have you done, young lady?...
….Hermione Jean Granger……THIS IS YOUR MOTHER….What have you done, young lady?...There was a seventh year Hogwarts student that would have a vast amount of explaining to do…as soon as one located an owl willing to fly to Hogwarts from Sydney.