Stand Up Even If You Fall - Nymphadora Tonks
"Ah, I was wondering if I'd be seeing you today," Madame Pomfrey said. "What's happened this time? Tripped on the stairs again?"
"No," I said feeling rather insulted. "There was an incident in potions class."
"Incident" was putting it lightly. A catastrophe was what I'd call it. Poor Professor Snape nearly had a heart attack when he saw that I'd knocked my cauldron over while my potion was in an acidic state. I'd burned my hands (not to mention my robes) badly and destroyed yet another desk in class.
Why couldn't I fall down in a class like history of magic where there was no risk of causing myself any bodily harm?
Madame Pomfrey looked at my hands and smiled. "This will fix easily. You wait right here." She smiled again and walked away.
Gryffindor had it's Quidditch star, Ravenclaw housed our school's resident genius and Slytherin the student most likely to succeed.
You'd think with all the pressure to show that we're not losers like everyone says we are I'd be a little more inclined to not embarrass my house every time the opportunity arose.
Yet, I'd managed to make Hufflepuff home of the school klutz.
Then again, perhaps I wouldn't feel so badly about it if I weren't the klutz. Or at least I'd feel better if my random outburst of clumsiness weren't so frequent and easily spotted.
Instead of being known as the only metamorphagus in school I was a laughing stock. I was a joke.
My name didn't make people think much better of me either. Nymphadora. All I could think of when I heard the name was a sprite. Quite frankly I didn't want people to remember me as a klutz and for being a tree elf. Attaching Hufflepuff to that title didn't do much good either. People laughed at us anyway.
To the very few, very loyal friends I had I was Tonks. Noting less than that. Hufflepuff didn't matter. My bad relationship with gravity didn't matter. I was Tonks and they loved me for all that I was.
Madame Pomfrey walked back over to me pushing a small silver bowl and a bottle of blue liquid towards me on a cart.
"Hands in the bowl dear," she said. I placed them in there as she uncapped the bottle.
She poured the liquid over my hands. The tenderness in my hands melted away as did the burns. She handed me a towel.
"Now, the burns have all been healed but as you can see there'll be a bit of scarring," Madame Pomfrey said.
I scrunched up my face and concentrated. The scars on my hands vanished and were back to their normal state.
"Oh. . . Well maybe not," Madame Pomfrey said. "Be careful the rest of your day dear."
"I will be," I said turning and walking away.
I stepped out into the corridor. Many students walked by as classes had ended for the day. I was grateful. No more desk, chairs, book bags or awol potion vials for me to fall over.
"Oy, Tonks!" a voice called out.
I looked down the hall to see one of my friends, Bill Weasley racing towards me.
He was in Gryffindor. He got good grades. He was the star of the Quidditch team. Girls swooned over him, because he was actually pretty good looking.
He was the poster child of what a Hogwarts student should be.
Despite all this he was still friends with little old me which confused people.
"You know one of the perks to having you get injured all the time is that I can never lose you. I always know I can find you here," Bill said.
"I don't get hurt every time. Only when there are dangerous objects around," I said.
"Or chemical spills," Bill said. I frowned at him.
"You know about that already?" I asked.
"Tonks, you know with you people always know. You may be dead clumsy but you provide the students with lots to talk about," Bill said.
"I feel like I could crawl under a rock and die," I said.
"Oh you say that every time you have an accident. All you've got to do is keep on going and never let anything get you down," Bill said encouragingly.
"I'll be sure to inform gravity that I'm not taking anymore of his nonsense after I finish my homework. . . And make up my potions assignment," I said. Being clumsy was starting to ruin my 14 year old life.
"So what you're clumsy? Learn to laugh at yourself. All you've got to do is stay standing. Never let anything bring you down," Bill said.
I managed a smile.
"I guess everyone gets second degree burns on their hands once in their life and I have been meaning to break out those new robes my mum bought me for Christmas," I said. "The yellow in my Hufflepuff seal is a bit brighter than usual and goes perfectly with striped black and yellow socks. Not to mention my hair and my eyes."
I quickly changed my eyes to yellow, as well as my hair.
"I may be in Gryffindor but, hooray for Hufflepuff," Bill said.
"Slytherins aren't the only one's with house pride Mister Weasley," I said as I changed my eyes to purple, and my hair to short pink pigtails.
"I'll see you around, Tonks," Bill said.
With new found confidence I made my way to the great hall for dinner that evening.
I stood at the top of the main stairs and looked down at the small group of Slytherin girls at the bottom of the steps.
The girls looked up at me.
One of them, Madison, a girl in my year started to laugh. Her two friends laughed with her.
"Be careful you don't fall, Nymphadora," she said, mockingly. I glared at her.
"I won't," I said sternly. She and her friends stopped laughing. They just stared at me. I started down the stairs, not letting my eyes leave Madison's for a moment.
Then Peeves happened.
He spit balled me right in the back of my neck.
It was wet, it was gross and more importantly it threw me off balance. I tumbled down the stairs and hit the floor right at Madison's feet. She and her friends were laughing at me. All hopes of making a powerfully dramatic entrance into the Great Hall without falling were ruined.
"Bulls eye!" Peeves cheered, causing the girls to laugh even more, not to mention the few other student who had witnessed my fall as well.
I stayed on the floor what seemed a life time as they laughed. I was hopeless. Clumsy and hopeless. Why was I even going to school? It was pointless. No one took me seriously. I was a joke. People would listen to Peeves before me. Ignore the fact that I was brilliant. Ignore the fact that I had a gift.
I was Nymphadora. . . And I knocked things over and fell down.
...Keep on going and never let anything get you down...
I remembered Bill's words. They resonated with me... Never let anything get me down... Laugh at myself.
"I fall down. . . A lot," I began. "I knock things over, I knock other people over. I sound like a tree elf."
Madison cocked and eye brow and crossed her arms.
"Fantastic observation," she said. "Are you going to make a point now?"
"I may be horribly dangerous to be around a lot of the time. . . But that's okay. . . Because I still like me," I said. I climbed to my feet and chuckled. "Looks like I fell down. . . Oh well!" I walked past Madison who was still looking at, utterly bewildered.
It was a bit odd that I'd just given speech stating that I was okay with being a klutzy. Quite frankly it was out of character for any student (or anyone for that matter) to give random speeches in the middle of the halls.
When I was standing in the doorway of the Great Hall I tripped over my untied shoes and fell down. Many of the students laughed but I quickly jumped to my feet. I turned around and looked at Madison. She stared at me waiting on my reaction. The only thing I could think to do was laugh.
"You'd think after that whole speech I wouldn't fall down," I laughed.
This caused Madison to roll her eyes again. I walked into the Great Hall and sat down at my table with my fellow Hufflepuffs.
As I started to eat dinner, the girl sitting next to me tapped my shoulder. She motioned for me to look over at the Gryffindor table.
I turned around in my seat to look. Bill was giving me a thumbs up. I smiled at him and gave him a reassuring nod.
My first three years at Hogwarts had been traumatic not only for me, but for everyone unlucky enough to be in my immediate vicinity when my clumsiness occurred. For three years I'd run and hide until everyone else got out their laughs and the teasing was done.
But I was 14 now. This was fourth year and I couldn't run away forever. Maybe instead of shunning this curse of mine I should embrace it. After all, I wouldn't be me if I didn't spill things occasionally. It was my shtick and in retrospect all those accidents were kind of funny. That's why people laughed. I needed to learn to laugh at myself as well.
If I couldn't laugh at myself and keep my spirits up, even when I was lying on the floor, then I'd always be down.
Now was the era of the bubbly, happy-go-lucky, but still clumsy, Tonks. And to be honest I was looking forward to it.
"Tie your shoe," Bill mouthed to me. I nodded.
But just because I was embracing my clumsiness didn't mean I shouldn't avoid getting hurt when it was possible.