Unofficial Portkey Archive

Rid of Me by littlebird

Rid of Me


By the time the package arrived, his side of the bed had risen back to its original shape. The Horlicks he left had gone rock hard in the jar, and the smell of his soap had disappeared from the bathroom drains. The advert had promised 'Delivery in four to six weeks', but by my calculations, it had taken closer to eight: The one week before he'd finished with me, and then seven more afterward.

It had been a fine surprise to come home and finally find the wrapped box nestled against the front door. Nudging it out of the way with my toe, I noted the weight of the contents then stepped inside, hoping someone would see it sitting unguarded, think it was something grand, and steal it in the night. That failing, I stashed it in one of the drawers he'd emptied. There it rested for weeks, waiting, ubiquitous, a hidden emblem of all my failings as his chosen partner- a persistent reminder that I had, indeed, been 'un-chosen'.

That drawer front, the dark, bevelled Cherry hummed to me. It was the first thing my bleary eyes focused on in the morning. The two silver knobs were the last things to flash before the light went out at night.

The time had come, and my hand was steady as I wrote out the invitation:


If you could spare a few moments this Friday, at 6:30, I'll spring for pain au' chocolat and a coffee at the Café Tortucci, 438 S. Arlington St.

No pressure. I have something that belongs to you.


Confident with my word choice and the overall ice-queen tone, I tied the note to the owl's leg. Of course, no sooner had it flown away, but I was beset by crushing doubt. I shouldn't have used the phrase, "No pressure"- it's just too lame. I never should have offered coffee and the pastry, with its implications of lingering about and chewing near each other. For that matter, I should have just named a street corner for a quick hand-off. There would have been an awkward Hello, a brief explanation, and then a forced, cheery Good-bye.

Yes. That's what I should have done.

This becomes more obvious by the second as I sit alone at the two-top by the window. The carrier bag with the package inside is under the table. The longer I wait, the more I feel myself nudging it with my shoe. I tap it. I prod it. By the time my watch reads 7:13, I'm actively driving my heels into it, rattling the bag and drawing stares. By 7:15, the hot cocoa I ordered is cold, the top covered with pale film, the bottom thick with fine, black grit. Maybe he's having trouble finding the place. I wait ten minutes longer.

If he'd show up, he'd see I pulled my hair back and braided it tight, just like he's always hated, just so he'd know that I'd come with zero expectations. He'd see I picked a Muggle spot, a place the two of us had never been before, well away from any dangerous point of reference. If he'd bother, he'd find a large, well-lit coffee shop with a glass front and mirrors running the length of the walls so he could find plenty to look at if he didn't want to look at me.

I swish the debris around and peer into my cup. His note said he'd come, so I wait ten minutes more.

Outside, it's begun to rain in earnest, and I stand to pull on my coat. I look down as I button-up, studying the blurred, foreshortened shade of myself reflected in the gleaming floor. Past the soles of my shoes, there is only the flare of grey wool, my elbows jutting out on both sides, and the pale, featureless oval of my face. I bend to pick up the crumpled, slouching bag, and, while the un-focused shapes of a mouth and nose rise up to meet me, the places where the eyes should be remain dark and hollow.

I try not to dwell on this as I dump my mug in the dishpan over the waste bin and walk out the door. Beneath the awning, I open my umbrella and think on which way to go. This bag, this package, they're not coming home with me tonight, but Ron's blown me off, Ginny's left the country, and the Burrow and the joke shop are out of the question.

That leaves Harry- if Harry even exists, anymore.

Standing here, static, the water is already bleeding from the hem of my jeans, rising through the denim to cling to my calves. My socks leech the damp down into my shoes. The rain whipping around me lights in tiny droplets on my coat, while the inside of each nostril and the space around my eyes, burns, the vessels and veins contracting with cold as I breathe in. I begin to walk, gulping quick lungfuls of frigid air, cooling everything fast, through and through. I indulge, drowning in the mercy of this chill, wet, darkness.

By the time I get to Harry's, I need to be unbreakable and numb. I want to be frozen hard, inside and out, before I even raise a knuckle to knock on the door.