flavour of life
It is an overwhelming feeling.
It threatens to slip forth, from centers of her eyes to her lips. It is Saturday night. So remarkably unremarkable. The night had long slid into the sky, ink upon glass and the world was resoundingly silent. It was the sort of silence that strung through tree branches and kissed the air to move curtains. It was the sort of silence that molded days together and splattered them across the back of her mind along with toys she had once cherished and butterflies that she had once seen fly.
Molly thinks she is waiting, though she isn't sure what for.
It is Saturday evening and the trees outside her window scratch the glass and two floors down, her mother is making dinner. Her father is on the same shaky chair that he adores, reading. Life is at a standstill. It is as though three years haven't passed at all.
Molly brushes her hair, frowning as the ends of her brush snag on her auburn hair.
She pulls at her features. Her skin is pallid – overly so – with the smooth texture of paper. Her eyes are too small and her smile too big. There's nothing left, she thinks bleakly. Nothing left to comfort her. She has neither talent nor beauty. And unlike the millions of people who similarly have neither, she isn't happy.
It is an overwhelming feeling. Being back here, at the beginning of all things and knowing that it is not the beginning this time. Every crevice and hole of the house seems to whisper to her. You've failed. You ran away to follow your dreams and you've failed. Now what?
She stares at her reflection, lost in the small space behind her and before the wall.
It frightens her. She feels like no time has passed between the last time she set down her brush – was she seventeen? – and now. And that after everything, nothing has changed. Perhaps nothing really has. She's still the same person, isn't she? Filled with the same, stupid, silly hopes and dreams. Perhaps with one less dream now.
Her room is bare, made more of memories than of materials. Where she made Rosie cry that one time. Where Roxanne gave her her present three Christmases ago. Where her mother whined futilely about her daughter’s messiness.
She feels as though if she turns around, a younger version of herself will stand placidly, smiling back up at her.
Lucy opens the door a crack and peers in.
“Can I talk to you?”
Molly smiles a little. “You already are.”
“Uh – “
“Just come in.”
The silence of the world outside seems to creep through the open window.
“How are you?”
Molly resists the urge to push away her sister, though she hopes she doesn't sound it. “Fine.”
“You can drop that tone,” Lucy says coolly. “I haven’t talked to you in a while. I wanted to see how you were. That’s all.”
“No – no – it’s not that.”
Winds roll outside. The lamp flickers feebly and her sister’s face is draped in shadows.
Lucy rolls her eyes. “Whatever. God, you’ve changed.”
“I have not," says Molly slowly, though the prospect is alarming. Could she have changed without noticing? "If anything, you've changed. Remember the day I left? You cried.”
Lucy sticks out her tongue and Molly laughs.
“I’m glad you’re back, Molly. Even though you’re annoying and bossy and nag a lot.”
Molly pauses. "You give the worst compliments."
The curtains fall and rise, lifted with the undulations of the breeze. The world is cast in the darkest blue, which darkens as it moves away. The wild grass that surrounds her home ripples and rustles and breathes.
Molly hears her mother call for her and her sister feebly. Audrey Weasley’s voice filters lightly through the house and it strikes Molly again – she is back, she is back.
A new wind breaks and washes over her and tinges her skin lightly with the scent of the night.
Lucy begins leaving. She turns and pauses by the door, her palm resting on the heavy wood. This is her sister. Eighteen and loudmouthed, bold, and free. Never having to once question herself or her future. Perhaps Molly doesn't need to imagine a younger version of herself anymore. Not when she has Lucy to remind her.
Author's Note: The lovely chapter image above is by Musicbox at The Dark Arts. Thanks so much for reading -- I'd love to know what you thought of the chapter.
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