Characters belong to J.K. Rowling.
I spend my days in untold folly.
There's folly in the way I spend hopeful minutes in front of the mirror taming my hair. It's there in the arrangement of the collar of my shirt. When I swipe the blusher across my cheeks and add a chain to my neck, it's there — ever present in the inevitable and cold realisation that no ounce of frippery will make any difference whatsoever.
There's folly in the way I arrive early to work and feel frustrated when he's not done the same. Each glance I send to the window in anticipation spells only one thing. When he's at his desk and I offer to make his morning tea, it's there. And when I gently admonish him for the state of his cup, it's there in the satisfaction I get from washing it — by hand.
There's folly in the glow I feel when he asks me to join him on his calls. It's folly because it's my job to accompany him and it's his to ask. When we meet other potioneers, they look at me and say:
'This your apprentice, is it?'
He nods indifferently, and though the reminder of our positions causes my folly to sting ever more painfully, I smile bravely.
There's folly in the pleasure I feel when I think I've impressed him. 'What do you notice here, Miss Granger?' he will ask as he inspects an apothecary. I feel my heart begin to pump.
'The springwort should never be stored like this; it could be dangerous if used in this condition.'
He nods again.
And while a spark of happiness burns within me long after, I know the incident will be surpassed quickly in his mind by more pressing matters.
There's folly in the way I sometimes imagine — from the turn of his expression or the tone of his voice — that he may even enjoy my company as we travel from apothecary to apothecary. Yet, when I see him interact with his peers and realise I've misjudged, it's there too.
There's folly in the disappointment I feel on the days when he decides to send me out with another colleague instead.
'Go out with George today, Miss Granger, he's got some potions to inspect at St. Mungo's,' he says.
I simply nod, trying desperately to ignore the dead weight in my stomach.
There's folly in the way I have to guard my expression when he looks at me. It's there in the way I try to appear aloof, but allow my eyes to flick towards him when I know he's occupied and unaware. My ears strain to hear his conversations and any personal insights I manage to glean from them, I file under 'folly'.
There's folly in the laughter I exhibit when he turns good-natured and joins in the office banter. It's there in the delight I feel when he appreciates my own ripostes. But, later, it lingers starkly in the ringing emptiness that tells me it all, actually, means nothing.
There's folly in the way we never talk about Hogwarts — he for his own reasons and me because I wish to ignore all reference to our shared past. Twice now he has been my teacher. It's there when I try to pretend we could ever be on an equal footing.
There's folly in the way I sit at my desk and hope he will call for my assistance.
'Can you find me the records for this patent, Miss Granger?'
Efficiency and competency I practise for the completion of such requests, and the evidence of my folly will quash any indignation I feel when, in an absent-minded moment, he will refer to me as 'kid'.
I smile bravely again. There are too many years between us.
So too when he seeks more learned opinions than mine; the burst of irrational hurt that disperses through me as I listen to him debate and discuss with another is underscored by only one thing: folly.
And when Friday afternoon comes all too soon — the eve of the weekend — and he marches from the office without a single backwards glance, there's folly in the way my throat tightens and my treacherous heart quails with insignificance.
I know it is pure folly.
But there is nothing else to be done.
The folly of all follies is to be lovesick for a shadow.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson