I was poisonous and I was all too aware of it. The poison ran through me, making my veins pulse, my mouth run dry and I found myself unable to resist it. I once believed I would never come to know remorse or any kind of weakness. My years had taught me what it could do, how it could impact the frail human mind and I refused to be part of a plague that was common to humanity. A race ridden with regret. Instead I spent my years cultivating myself, studying books, both Muggle and wizard alike, wanting to feed my mind and to grow through knowledge. I prided myself in my tenable personality, in my strength and in my ability to rise above the mundane aspects of everyday existence.
But I was young and I had no way of knowing that I was foolish. I was certain that the poison I felt surge through me had left me void of the ability to love and in all honesty I had no curiosity to experience love, for I did not understand the need of it, as I understood the need for loyalty. Which is why the day the veil lifted from my eyes and I realized I had looked without seeing for so long, something in me shifted, so slightly that I had failed to perceive it at first.
Amidst all of my culture, I felt immensely ignorant, because I had failed to notice the undulation of her hips as she walked the bounce of her soft curls and the clear, crystalline sound of her laughter.
I dismissed it at once as infatuation, took back the veil that was for my eyes and my eyes only and carried on, with a new found confidence in my self-control. Sadly, she was unavoidable and I found my thoughts straying in her direction more than once as the days dragged on.
The inevitable occurred one evening, in the Common Room. I would go down to watch the fire burning in the fireplace; it held such fascination for me, a force so feared and destructive that had an unexplainable calming effect on me. That was my oasis. I sat in the armchair, contemplating the situation in which my ungrateful mind had placed me, when she came. Her step was soft and light and I didn’t notice her until I saw her shadow being cast next to mine by the side of the wall and I heard her breathing. I hated her in that moment, because she had invaded one of my most intimate moments.
“You couldn’t sleep?” she asked, her voice kind and timid, her eyes not meeting mine.
“I guess not,” I replied, hoping to dismiss her, as I had no desire to interact with her more than it was necessary for the sake of polite conversation. But she did not leave, as I expected, instead remaining still and silent by my side. The silence was worse than the forced conversation. I could feel it deafening me. In the end, I felt obliged to acknowledge her.
“Are you having trouble sleeping?” I asked her, making eye contact for the first time. As I remember it now, knowing what I have come to know, that was perhaps the first and biggest mistake. Had I not met the emotions that swam behind her bright orbs, I might’ve gone on as before, a statue, and nothing would’ve happened. But I saw in her a story I wanted to know, had to be a part of and I just couldn’t look away. The very blood streaming through my veins felt viscous and I struggled for breath.
I couldn’t tell you what she answered me or how any of our conversations went in the next few days. It is all a blur in my mind, my inner conflict overshadowing any exterior event. I had no prior experience of how situations like these were best handled, but in the end I came to a conclusion. That I had to have her, I had to know her, inside and out, curiosity eating at me. I would compose a stratagem worthy of only the best generals if needed. As it turned out, it was not needed after all, because she started seeking my company and finally our late night talks by the fire became a ritual.
I kept my distance at first, ensuring I had enough space for my comfort, but she gradually started coming inside that space, closer and closer to me, until one evening she spoke of the connection we had developed.
“I have grown extremely fond of you.” she confessed, as she lifted her gaze to meet mine. “I admit that you have moments when I don’t really comprehend you like I would like and sometimes you humor is really not to my taste, but this,” she pointed at me and her,” really is the highlight of my day.” And before I had time to reply to her words, she leaned in and pressed her lips to mine, in a chaste kiss that sent my senses in a blaze.
How could I reply to her words? How could I tell her that for me she was ubiquitous, without sounding mad? How could I confess the depths of my being, how far down my own sentiments ran, when even I was not aware of them? I circled her waist with my arm and pulled her in, our lips colliding, hesitant at first, but pleasant. And that first kiss held promises of futures to be explored, like I was exploring the contour of her beautiful mouth and of secrets unspoken that only my ears would hear. When my body was screaming for air, I finally broke the kiss.
“I don’t believe you would like what you discovered if I were to let you in,” I finally said, but my words did not match my body’s language, and I was stroking her cheeks, looking to memorize every aspect of her face as her features danced with the shadows from the flames. “I’m not always such an easy person to be around. I get quite difficult and sometimes I would like a break from my own mind. I’m afraid I might make a travesty of it all and I don’t want to put you through that.”
She bit her bottom lip as she listened to my words and I could tell she was thinking over what I told her. When she finally spoke her tone was confident and her words came out effortlessly.
“I’m willing to take that chance on you. I’ve known all along you were different, an intellectual if you will and I like that. I like that you are not preoccupied with regular things, that you don’t fall into patterns and don’t accept a routine of the mind and of the conversation. I want to find that part of you that draws me in like a firefly to a flame. Don’t push me out. Not yet.” she argued softly and smiled and with her smile came my last argument against the idea of “us”.
It was a whirlwind romance, even by my standards and I had read extensively on the topic. I was slowly pulled into her, piece by piece as I discovered she was both beautiful and ugly, that she could amaze and horrify me at the same time, that she was both flawless and ridden with imperfections. She in turn swam effortlessly in the ocean of poison I knew was inside and somehow, underneath it all, found the best in me. It was nothing like I expected a romantic relationship to be.
It was my belief then that love was like a vicious circle, in which one loved blindly and surrendered everything and the other would have the power to detach themselves, looking in on it all from an outsider’s point of view. Usually, the one that got detached was the one to leave and I could not and would not subject myself to abandonment. But inside her I found a soul and a mind akin to my own, a hunger for knowledge that would not accept raments and o passion that took every bit of me, everyday.
The moments when we couldn’t be together left a strange aperture within me, so large in size that if my soul, the very nucleus of my being were to have a material, palpable component, sloughs would fill the area around it when she was not around.
I wanted to be the best version of me for her, even though she had seen my mind and my heart and had accepted and opened up to me despite it. She would correct me when I said that, insisting it was because of it. I wished to open her up to new experiences, to nurture her wild spirit and at the same time I tried to keep myself from becoming overbearing. I longed for her so much so that if I were to express it at its true intensity, our bond risked becoming vituperative and it would have crushed her. I was always located at the margins of an extremity, be it the higher margin or the lower margin, but I was never mediocre. And it would be this arrogance of mine, of thinking I knew best and accepting no error in my ways that would lead to our downfall.
Our intentions for each other were tantamount in the beginning but I slowly started trying to winnow her character, while she in turn always accepted me for who I was and never made so much as a suggestion for change. It was during that time that I realized something about her that made my insides turn to ice. It had happened gradually, sporadically, but one day, a year or so after our story began, I knew that she was the one blindly in love. And in my panic at this realization I did something unthinkable. I started pushing her away.
She had always understood how important my personal space was to me and always made sure I had plenty of it, coming to me mostly in the evenings, when our ritual would take place in front of the fire. But as my need for her grew, I started detesting the idea of space without her and I had no need to occupy my time with activities that did not involve her in one way or another. And suddenly, I started requesting she leave me my space.
I couldn’t breathe properly when she was not around, yet I tried to distance myself, scared of the idea that she trusted me so fully, so lovingly and I was perfectly capable of destroying everything in a second. I hated the idea of being responsible for somebody else’s misery, much less hers.
While she had one of the softest and sweetest voices a human could ever poses, she had a temper as quick as lightning and she would flare up in an instant when something did not sit right with her. Even with her little patience (which I had pushed more than one time) she was always the bravest out of the two of us. She had had the courage to open herself up to me first, back when I chocked on my words and I was reluctant to even look at her and she had the courage now, when everything we stood for was crumbling at her feet, to address the problem.
“You’re pulling away from me and I need to know why.” she requested bluntly one evening as we sat by the fire. I tried not to let her see the shock on my face, yet she had caught me completely off guard and I was at a loss once again.
“I don’t think I’m pulling away,” I tried to assure her, but my mind had suddenly sprung into action and words were coming out of my mouth before I could control myself. “It’s just that you perceive our relationship as putative.” I finished, signing my own sentence.
“What did you say?” She whispered, her voice low and dangerous.
“I said you perceive our relationship as putative, it means generally considered…” I was cut off by her words.
“I bloody well know what it means, don’t mistake me for a fool! I want to know the meaning behind your words.” she hissed, shooting daggers at me with her eyes.
How could I explain, in that moment, that I feared her love, her attachment, how I couldn’t stand to crush her and be responsible for the wizening of her spirit. I looked away from her, not wanting to face the hot tears that were spilling from her eyes, leaving stains on her perfect face. She had read me like a book from the first time we spoke and I had been foolish not to realize she was doing it now. I shouldn’t have doubted the fact that she would know, when it was her alone that had dared to venture into the darkest corners of my being. She got up and left and as I watched her back slipping away from me and recalled that once I had felt like I was pulling her inside myself and now I felt like she was being ripped out from inside my very flesh. I wanted to go after her, to beg at her feet, to grovel and to curse my twisted mind, but as I felt the hurt of the wound from where she had been ripped out moments earlier, I felt the poison returning and the sensation paralyzed me, rooting me to the spot. She was gone.
What followed was the darkest time any human could have passed through in the history of love. As much as I tried, I could not revert back to my former self. I had tasted love in much the same way in which Eve had tasted the forbidden fruit in Eden and just as she was cast away, cursed never to return to the Garden, I was cursed never to know ignorance again.
To live is the rarest thing in the world, most people just exist. The first time I had read his words, I took pride in being one of the select few that, in my opinion, lived. Now, as I think about his words, I would be very content with existing. I was neither. I was subsisting.
I still watched her, picking apart her actions in my mind in the same way in which a child picks at a healing scab. This action of watching her, it was a balm for my wounds, the only raiment for my otherwise bare soul. She was as stubborn as she had ever been and elegantly picked up the pieces of her life and moved on. To me her new relationship was an abozzo of what we had had. Our bond, our connection, was something I was sure I would never experience again even if I lived to be seven hundred years old.
As she rebuilt her life, I steered mine in a new direction. We finished school and I became a bellwether of sorts, daringly going where nobody had ventured, making my presence known everywhere and all the time being reckless and cruel. I did not care how history would remember me when I died, because I had already died once and now I had a burning desire to forget myself.
I could have found solace in hating this other man, the other me, and I call him that because in many ways he was my homologous, our similarities running as deep as even sharing the same jocoserious traits that refined our personalities. And I had every right to hate him, except for the fact that I didn’t. I had walked away and hurt her and I had realized it, even though it pained me to see him gazing in the eyes that I adored and holding the hand that had once made my senses light up with passion.
In the final hour of my torment, as I felt the day in which I would forever lose her approaching, I went to her. A part of me still harbored hope, like a long lost fugitive from a life I would not regain and I had to find out if maybe in speaking to her I would find some kind of luciferous closure.
I soaked in her features as she answered her door, looking at her like I was seeing her now for the first time, even though I knew the curves of her face better than I knew my own. I was taking her in to carry with me for the rest of my life, because she would soon seal the distance between us forever, even though her trip would only take her to the end of an aisle. She invited me in and as I accepted the drink she had offered me, I was suddenly a teenager again, admiring her petite frame, her wild hair and her bare feet, discovering her by the fire. I had made her mine piece by piece and piece by piece I had pushed her away, I had lost her.
She speaks with a serenity in her voice that assures me she holds no resentments towards my foolish boyhood mistakes. She is ready to move on and for the first time I feel that I am ready to do so as well. The time for our goodbye had come.
“I could’ve loved you forever, Sirius.” she confesses, the ghost of our romance appearing briefly on her face. I raise my hand to stroke her cheek for the last time
“Be happy for the both of us, Lily.”
AN: The words in bold are those that I was given to write this story. The quote in italic is by Oscar Wilde. I don't own that or the characters of this story. Thank you for reading!