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Life Is Either a Daring Adventure or Nothing

I walk to her gravesite as I so often do; the steps have become worn in the dirt with my passing. The trees, they will never be too familiar, but only a reminder of what happened. The smells, as they may change with the seasons, they will never let me forget. The feeling that I get every time I cross the bridge, that feeling of melancholy and forlornness that plagues me still – it is all too much to bear, yet I go everyday, willingly, and with utmost respect. I will never forget her, though she has probably already forgotten me, up there in her divine paradise.

Carrying the bouquet of flowers as I always do in the early morning, I step into the small cemetery, opening the wrought-iron gates that rusted with age. As I walk through, I almost always see the sight of newly dug ground, and it saddens me. Most of the people in that cemetery, her included, all died very young deaths, and often are martyrs, which may be honorable, but sad all the same.

I tread lightly through the path I have worn to her grave. Though the earth is not fresh, I still remember it and see it as if it were. I remember the great sadness that plagued me, watching her beautiful body being lowered into the grave. It merely looked as if she were sleeping, and if I kissed her on her cheek, as I always used to do in the morning, her beautiful blue eyes would open and she would smile that sunny smile. Alas, it was not so. Neither kisses nor spells can bring back the dead.

I remember her at Hogwarts, where we received our education. She and I were great friends, though we argued constantly, from first through fourth year. When I turned fourteen, I realized my feelings for her were stronger than I’d first imagined. We went through a dramatic three years with our friends, Lily Evans, James Potter, and Frank Longbottom before we came to realize that we were meant for each other since birth.

Even now, as I look back on our time together, short as it was, I realize that I could’ve done more for her, so much more. She was beautiful, witty, and charming, and always helping out with the people that needed her most. I was selfish, stupid, and lazy. Most would say I’m being foolish now, but I realize all the mistakes I made through her short lifetime. She would always say those quotes, the important ones, which I still remember to this day. Though I never understood them, most of them still evoke such painful memories.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing,” she would often say, taking that quote from the illustrious Helen Keller, whom she often looked up to in her times of need. I remember that she even sewed it into some cloth, the Muggle way, and had it framed and hung atop the mantle. Every morning, I caught her reading it, over and over, in her head, taking meaning from someone so great.

I stare at the rising sun as I pass several well-known graves among my people: Harry Potter, Hestia Jones, Remus Lupin, James and Lily Potter, Hermione Weasley, Ronald Weasley, and the memorial to the great and honorable Albus Dumbledore. They all died in the war that recently ended, in which she also died. I pause here for a minute or so, though that is not my true cause for being her, and I take a moment of silence, honoring those who brought about the downfall of the most feared wizard of the age, whom many people are still afraid to speak his name, even though he is long gone, and finally dead.

Now I continue walking to her grave, at the end of the row, the last on the right-hand side. Though it is not a place of honor, I will always remember it. Sometimes I pause at my mother’s grave, though I hardly liked the woman, but not today. Today I am coming for her and her alone.

My children often worry about my health, my coming out here. I am old now, and susceptible to many things, but I do not care, nor do I want to. They make so many arguments, stating that with my fragile health (I have refused to see a Healer for my rheumatoid arthritis and my heart disease), that I could die at any moment. Again, I do not mind. If God sees fit to take me, then by all means, take me, so long as I get to see her one last time.

As I finally reach her tomb, I stare down at it, and at the magnolia I planted beside it. She always loved magnolias, and dogwood, told me so on every occasion we saw one, so I planted it right there, where she could see one for all eternity. It is tall, and resolute, though that is not how she was. She was outgoing, funny, and lived by that famous Helen Keller quote. She urged me to do so, also, but more often than not, I refused, which I look upon sorrowfully now. I made her life miserable, though most would tell me that I was just like any husband, unobservant, emotionally absent, but still present.

It is late fall now, so the trees’ leaves have turned golden, red, and brown, and fallen. They lay upon the ground, in great piles, as though waiting to be raked into a Muggle garbage bag, but that will never happen. They will only have to wait until the wind blows them away from here, from this atmosphere of sadness and devastation.

I stand there for a moment, remembering her appearance, and then I notice my breath turn white as I exhale. Knowing I will be there at noon, as always, I begrudgingly take a last glance at her final resting place and turn around, toward home, the place I have lived for all eternity, which is located near the place of her death.

Then the sun rises high in the sky, almost directly overhead, and I know I must go visit her once again. I wrap my scarf around my neck, slid on my coat, and then put the cap upon my head, knowing that if she were alive she would kill me if I didn’t do so.

I walk, kicking up leaves slightly, as I take my first step on the bridge. My thoughts are diverted and I pause as I see the river. It is so beautiful, so majestic, just as it was when we first moved here. In fact, it was the reason we moved here – she fell in love with it at first sight, and always wanted to be in walking distance of this “painting” as she so truthfully named it.

Feeling my eyes water, I continue on my second journey of the day toward the grave, and notice the birds flying south overhead. She would have laughed and watched them until they were all gone, one by one. I always paused and waited with her, impatiently, of course, but I never noticed the birds until after she passed. I was still young then, in my late thirties, when I noticed a whole flock of birds just squawking away. It appeared that I was the only one to hear it, as no one else turned to look at the birds that were squawking so loudly. I stood there and stared, as if shutters covering the windows of my eyes had been opened, and I was looking at the sun for the first time. Then I realized what she meant when she said that there just was no other sound than that of birds living their lives happily.

I wait until the sight and sound of the birds dissipate, then I continue on my way to the cemetery. Even though it is cold, the sun causes beads of sweat to form atop my head and on the back of my neck, so I take off my scarf, but not my hat. I tread carefully now, as I notice that many more are out than this morning, and no one nowadays wants to be slowed down by an old man. I slowly, but quickly, walk to her grave, and thankfully I did not knock into any of the young people who are so busy and driven.

My eyes begin to water as I stare at the statue I had put up, on the ground five feet or so behind the tombstone. It is the perfect likeness of her, though it is made of marble. Her wide, blue eyes are staring curiously about at the world, and her wispy, curly hair falls down past her shoulders. Her very pale skin was always very noticeable, and many people’s first impression was that she was a walking, wingless angel that had decided to see what Earth was like.

Unable to see anymore, I walk slowly back to home, though the statue’s appearance is still imprinted in my mind.

At dusk, I exit the house once again for the final visit to her grave. My legs are even slower at night than during the day, so it is a little harder for me, and the dead cold is causing my joints to freeze up, but I daren’t complain. She would have taken her life for mine, so I must do this as she would have done.

As I walk, with fewer people about, I remember her death. She was out with family, something her mother had arranged, and I was at work, the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Death Eaters attacked her, and even as this happened so long ago, a tear wells up in my eye. She was out in broad daylight, surrounded by so many people, and the all just attacked. Little children, the elderly. It made no difference. Of course, Voldemort, the ringleader, decided they weren’t important enough for his appearance and intervening. From what other Death Eaters said before their deaths, Dunstin Travers, Antonin Dolohov, Bellatrix Lestrange, Reginald Avery, and Lucius Malfoy killed them. I never quite got over it, but I did forgive them. I even visited them when they were sentenced to die. They didn’t say a word to me, just sat there and stared. I wasn’t present when they were pushed through the Veil in which Sirius Black died, because I realized the importance of another saying she so often used: “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Finally, I arrive at the tomb, and gaze down at the name:

Marlene Evangeline McKinnon-Brown
Life is Either a Daring Adventure or Nothing
– Helen Keller

Then I finally realize that she live whole-heartedly up to her favorite quote, as she always wished she would.

A/N: So, what do you think? Is it too sad, too horrible, or just not emotion-tugging enough? I was sifting through OOtP the other day, and I realized that no one had every really thought about Marlene McKinnon, what her effect on others was, and if anyone would have remembered her. Please review.

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