I sometimes think that an orange sky would be beautiful. No one knows about this little fantasy of mine; everyone thinks I'm crazy enough as it is. But sunsets are so gorgeous. It would be wonderful if the sky looked that way all the time.
I suppose these crazy thoughts came about after a conversation with my mum. I was eight at the time. My mum was combing my hair, getting me ready for the day. It was such a simple act. The same thing had happened to me every morning when I was young, but now it's something precious to me. After I finished eating my breakfast, she would turn around from the stove, where she had been cooking, and run a brush through my tangled hair.
I was so small at the time. I still remember the way my feet swung so far from the ground while sitting in the chair. Everything was so large in my eyes, so great. My mum was so much more experienced than I. She had seen and done so much, and I couldn't even begin to comprehend it all.
She brushed my hair like she always did. She always appeared focused but I knew that her mind was a million miles away. When she worked on something important to her, she was always so happy, so carefree and relaxed.
I felt like it was a good time to ask what had been on my mind for a while. I didn't turn to face her, for it was easier that way. She probably wouldn't like my question, but I still wanted to ask her.
"Mum," I began, trying not to sound nervous, "what's Azkaban?"
Imagining the look of horror on her face, I didn't turn around immediately. I prepared myself for the worst, but instead heard a soft laugh. Relieved, I looked up to see her face above me.
"Luna, don't sound nervous. Why would you be afraid to ask that?" Her expression was kind, just as I'd always remembered it. I smiled.
"I've been hearing a lot about it lately, and it sounds bad, but I still can't understand…" I trailed off, waiting anxiously for her response.
"It's okay," she said in the same light voice she always used. "I probably should've told you sooner."
By then I knew for sure that she wasn't upset. Because of that, I was no longer nervous when she began explaining the prison. The entire time, all I could think about was what a dreadful place it seemed like. I couldn't stop thinking about the prisoners; they never got to see their family, or the daylight, or anything, really. I knew I would not be able to tolerate living in such a dull, tiny cell.
I had said the first thing that came to mind, not exactly thinking about it carefully. I didn't know what my mother would say about it, or if she would even understand it. "It must be horrible in there," I mused. "It must be so depressing and ugly…it's like you would need to paint the walls neon orange to keep from getting so bored."
To my surprise, she chuckled at this. "I suppose you would…" She drifted off and became lost in her own thoughts as she continued to brush my hair. While she did so, I imagined a tiny orange room in the otherwise depressingly gray cell. I couldn't help but laugh.
That moment was such a simple one. It was just like any other day, every other conversation I've had. Somehow the memories of orange paint became some of the most valuable to me. It was real, it was something no one could doubt or take away from me. Her love for me was and is unconditional - she will never let me forget that. When I think of that day, I think of her love for me.
Until then my ideas about love had been so stereotypical. When I thought about love I thought of the color red, of red roses and valentines. But those thoughts quickly changed. The thought of love now spurs images of orange paint and sunsets.
I know that if I told anyone, they would laugh. They would give me those strange looks I see in the halls. The students think they're so clever in the ways they hide from me, but I hear the things that they say. Sometimes I wonder if they don't realize that they're being watched. I know that my mother is not happy with them.
I hope my mother is watching me right now. Today would have been her birthday - it is quite possibly the happiest and saddest day of the year for me. Memories consume me: the good and the bad. I try not to think about the bad things. My mother would not want me to be sad.
Still, I cannot sleep. I gave up trying to hours ago, and instead sit by the window. The clear, starry sky is so beautiful, but casts an eerie shadow on everything in my bedroom. I can't help but feel a bit frightened when I see them. I long for the daylight again, or better yet, the lovely sunset I saw earlier. After several long, silent hours, I close my eyes. I don't really know what I'm doing, I admit to myself, but it somehow seems right. When my eyes are closed, I can see the beautiful sunsets, the clouds, and my mother smiling down at me. I should have thought of this long ago.
I begin, still unsure of myself. Still, I continue. I can't be the
only one who's ever done this. Can
you hear me? Can you see me? Today was beautiful; you would
have really loved it. You used to take me to the park on those days.
Do you remember that? The first time I went seemed so magical. There
was so I much I had not seen, so much I needed to see. There's
still so much I haven't seen, and it makes me curious, just like
you were. I'm proud of that, mum and I hope you are too.
Today was beautiful; you would have really loved it. You used to take me to the park on those days. Do you remember that? The first time I went seemed so magical. There was so I much I had not seen, so much I needed to see.
There's still so much I haven't seen, and it makes me curious, just like you were. I'm proud of that, mum and I hope you are too.
I pause for a moment, and open my eyes, surprised that this thought has not crossed my mind before. Maybe I just never doubted her pride for me before. Everything was so certain when I was younger, before my mother died and before I learned that my peers didn't believe in what I did.
I've done so much since you've left. Hogwarts is absolutely amazing. I don't mind that people tease me sometimes, but…I know that if you were with me that when I came home you would tell me that they were wrong and that I was unique and special. I wish you could do that for me now.
I stare at my feet, as I tap them lightly against the windowsill. It's hard not to think about the fact that she won't be here to talk to me when I'm at Hogwarts this year. Harry says that the Dark Lord is back. But it's nice to know that I'm not the only one who believes him.
I know that my mother would not want me to be scared. She was strong, and I want to be just like her, so I don't ask how I will get through my last years at Hogwarts.
I want to ask, Do you know if he's back? but I know that she will not be able to answer me, so I don't say anything.
I realize as I stop that there is so much more I could and should say to her. But I find myself hesitating as I am somehow communicating with her, wondering what I should say and what would make her most proud.
I cannot end this without saying one more thing to her, though. It's something I should have done years ago.
I want to thank you for everything you did for me, and all the memories we made together. The trips to the park, the games we played together, and especially the way you always believed in me…everything, really. I'm just so grateful for the time I had with you...thank you.
Finally, I find it increasingly harder to keep my eyes open. I'm not bothered by how cold the glass against my face is, or the haunting shadows that are slowly fading. The whirring thoughts in my head suddenly cease as I notice the most beautiful orange sunrise I have ever seen.
Everything that has been on my mind can wait, whether it's the clothes strewn across the floor, the books I need to read for school, and especially the twirling thoughts about my mother's death that I wish I could forget but can never completely push to the back of my mind.
I'm surprisingly calm as I drift off to sleep, actually. I've always liked the fantastic places my dreams take me, and I'm hopeful that tonight I will see my mother in my dreams.