I'm a coward. I'm standing in the corner, holding a butterbeer. I'm smiling a smile that is not mine, I'm laughing a laugh that is not mine, and I'm watching something that I try to never watch.
I never interfere with anyone's affairs deliberately. I'm the type to sit back and clamp my mouth shut. I partly do this because sometimes I don't really care. I don't like the attention. Other times it's because I don't think I should be the one to stop fate from happening. But now, more than anything, I wish I had the will to say, "Stop."
Ron and Hermione are kissing. Her left hand is entwined in his fiery hair, and her diamond ring blinds me.
The room is loud, filled with laughter and excited squeals that are mainly from the girls. I hear applause and words of rapture and surprise. I think I even hear myself join them.
They don't know that I'm trying not to give in to my screams, that I'm trying my best to be a good friend. They don't see the way I'm grasping the bottle of my beverage as if I'm squeezing the life out of it. Funny. These people have known me since I was twelve, but they could not even detect a lie from me. That's alright, I suppose. It keeps my secret hidden. I won't be exposed as long as I act the way I am acting right now.
I think everything in my life is going okay. Just okay. Not spectacular. Not magnificent. Okay. I know that people think my life is spectacular! Magnificent! Perrrr-fect! They think, naively, "Oh, he defeated You-Know-Who so he must be so happy!"
I want to tell them that they're wrong, but I know that the media would just continue to badger me with their questions. "Why, Mr. Potter, are you not happy?" I know that my friends will ask the same. I'm not ready for that. I will never reveal my secrets to the world, to anyone. I've heard people say that it's unhealthy to keep things inside. They say it'll eventually lead to suicide or to a certain breaking point where you do something that you will always regret.
I've learned the art of keeping my feelings a secret. I'm sure I can do it for as long as possible.
I promised myself that I would do it ever since I first saw her lying in the Hospital Wing with him holding her hand. I can pretend because I do it every single day of my life. I do it every time I'm here at the Burrow. I do it every time I see her face and remember our times when we were young.
But promises are sometimes broken.
My eyes search for Luna and I can see her staring at the couple like I am-in a daze. Her eyes are wide as usual, but I'm the only one who knows that she's just trying not to blink because people might see her tears. I give her a look that only she can understand.
Don't. I had told her the same thing when we first stood together in the Hospital Wing.
But this time, Luna shakes her head, a gesture that I had never seen from her.
It's…done. Her eyes are resigned, and I stand there, helpless and hopeless, as she turns and exits the room. For the longest time, we've held on to the hope that they would remember what used to be. The free recklessness we had during wartime, the moments when we threw caution into the wind, and became the people we were meant to be. Now how can we find that type of love again?
I see his mum, my second mum, smile and clap her hands together. She's happy, of course. Her husband stands behind her and puts his hands on her shoulders. He watches his son with a proud look in his eyes.
I suddenly feel horrible because I don't feel the same way.
What would happen if I stepped into the middle of the room, and announce my objections to this engagement? The anger in Ron's eyes. The horror in Molly's face-a happy ending disrupted by a man who waited until the very last minute to announce his true affections. I can't ever imagine being forgiven, and I would lose my family, I'm sure of it. I have seen over the years the depth of the Weasleys' sorrows, and I know that I am to blame for leading them to constant misery. I can never repay them, because even though they've lost so much, they still gave everything to me. Everything that's happy in my life right now … I owe it to them.
Ron playfully pushes me by the shoulder. Talks about how he wanted to throw up before proposing, how he couldn't believe Hermione had said yes, and would I be his best man?
I take a glass that someone-at least someone with red hair-hands to me and I raise it up to Ron and Hermione, who joins him a few seconds later. I say something, we all do, and everyone drinks a small sip from their glasses.
I don't know what it is, but I down it in one gulp. The taste is somehow missing. I think I'm clapping louder than anyone else. I'm surrounded by people. Radiant.
I can't help but feel so alone.Document created with wvWare/wvWare version 1.2.7