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Just another Alley
“C, D, C, D, D, C-“
“Oh Abbey! Abbey! Abbey! Your repot card is here daaarling!”
I lifted my hands from the piano keys and sighed. I could hear my pulse race and the ominous haze of failure embraced me. I started playing again.
“C, D, C, D, D, C-“
“Darling, Sugar, come look at your grades!”
I shut my eyes and tried to block out his voice.
The clip-clop of cowboy boots against tile enhanced the dreaded symphony. I had to keep playing.
“C, D, C, D, D, C-“
“Abbey, peach, why won’t you answer me!”
I saw the figure standing beside me; he was wearing a red flannel, wrangler jeans, and a tan cowboy hat.
“I don’t wanna see it.”
“Why? You’re a great student!”
He put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed it with reassurance, His “I heart NYC” tattoo moved up and down with the veins in his wrist. He sighed as he put the white envelope next to my sheet music and kissed my cheek.
“Its really good sweetheart, despite what you think.”
I starred down at the piano keys and imagined myself away. Away from the report card, the failure, the blanket of despair wrapping itself around me. I was suffocating.
My phone vibrated in my pocket. I looked up at my dad, but he was already turned away and heading back to attend the horses. I sighed, resting my head on the piano keys, listening to the ring of the random sound.
I groaned and pulled out my phone. One text from Daron and one from Emma, that was just great! I opened the two messages revealing the same two letters hidden beneath each.
S and O, why did two simple letters want to make me cry? I dumped the phone on the piano bench and ran to my room. I collapsed right on my bed as the ocean’s salty spray sprung my eyes. I clung to my pillow and looked around the room. Ribbons, clothes, books, were all spread around my carpet, and posters of Harry Potter films were plastered all over my purple walls.
I started crying again.
“Who am I?”
Harry didn’t speak; confined to looking at a hippogriff behind him in the picture.
“Like really, I’m not smart like Emma so I’m not Hermione. Daron's a better writer then me so she’s Luna. Who am I? Lavender!”
I started bawling as the faces of Harry Potter and the gang watched unaltered.
“You’re an alley.” A quiet voice penetrated my wailing.
“I said you’re an alley. Your not a person, you’re more special then that.”
I turned around to stare face to face with a wiry old man with a long bear as white as snow.
The man laughed and sat on my bed next to me.
“Oh come now Abbey, don’t say how you don’t recognize me.”
I blinked twice at the old man sitting in front of me. Long beard, a few wrinkles, and a little smile, which circled in a childlike innocence.
I smiled as I embraced him, his aura of understanding lifted the tears from my cheeks almost like it was magic.
“What are you doing here?”
“Well I saw you crying, and a lovely lady like yourself should never cry.” I blushed and averted my eyes to my red ring, which I nervously started twisted around and around my finger.
“So as I was saying you’re an alley Abby.”
I looked back up at Dumbledore as my eyebrows twitched together.
“What are you talking about?”
He smiled and stroked his fingers through his beard.
“Well you were saying how you weren’t a character. Not a student of mine.”
“Oh Dumbledore,” the ocean let it’s wrath pour down my face, “How am I suppose to feel. Daron is my best friend, but she’s the best writer I’ve ever seen, or read, or whatever. How am I supposed to compare to that. She’s Luna, a great character!”
I watched as Dumbledore nodded and stroked his beard. He sat silent with the boyish grin still plastered on his aging face.
“And Emma,” I waited for him to say something, but no syllables left his mouth.
“She’s perfect! Her grades are amazing, she’s beautiful, and everyone wants to be her! Everyone wants to be Hermione!”
Now my sobs were unstoppable as I hugged my knees to my chest. His silence was destroying me, how could he be so insightful and suddenly go blank. He was like a typewriter who had suddenly run out of ink, run out of any stories to tell.
Slowly, very slowly, I felt my eyes start to dry and my gasps become full breaths. I looked back at him.
“What do you mean I’m an alley?”
Now Dumbledore laughed. He laughed at me! With his little Santa Clause giggle he was laughing.
“Well you said-“
“I was curious to see how long it’d take for you to remember.”
He started laughing again and I feel might cheeks get hot and I could picture their cranberry red coloring
“Now, since you finally asked, let me explain my visit.”
I crossed my legs and put my hands in my lap. It was finally story time.
“You, Abbey, are not a main character. You aren’t as bright as Hermione, or as creative as Luna. Even though you have no one to compare it too you’re not as athletic as Ginny either.”
I nodded and bit my lip nervously. Where in the heck was he going?
“Instead, you are something better. You are an alley, but not just any alley. You are Diagon Alley.”
Thoughts played in my heads like little beats and finally, all the notes of the song were coming together.
“Diagon Alley is one of the best places in all the Wizarding World. There’s fun, laughter, even some education.”
He winked at me.
“However, only special people can unlock the wall and see the true beauty within. So yes, on the outside some people might see you as a stonewall. Simply something there, with no real purpose. But, to the trained eye, like Daron and Emma, you Abbey, are a world of fun, talent, and endless possibilities.”
This time I felt the tears fall down my face in gentle droplets the size of ocean pearls.
“Thank you,” I cried as I hugged Dumbledore. His warm embrace reminded me of Uncle Willis, a soul who was diseased long ago.
“No Abbey, thank you. Thank you for being yourself.” He unwound his arms from me and got off my bed. He walked over to a space on my wall between Hermione and Luna and took a step in-between the posters. With one brisk movement he disappeared in-between them.
I jumped off my bed and tried running after him, but for me the wall was solid and impassable.
“You ok Abbey?”
I smiled and touched the space on the wall.
“Yeah Dad, I’m better. I’m much better.”
I touched the space on the wall one last time before leaving and walking to the half cracked open door.
“Who were you talking to anyway darling?”
My dad asked as he starred around my empty room. I smiled and laughed at his concerned face.
“Don’t worry Dad, I just…I was just talking to Uncle Willis”.
I laughed and walked out the door, thinking about how the poor Muggle would never have any idea.