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See You Around
I look up, terrified and scared. He stands there; carrying a plant I believe is called a Mandrake, and smiles a big, toothy grin.
“Hi,” he says in a friendly manner. “My name’s Neville. Neville Longbottom.” Neville. I do not believe I have heard that name before, and in my time in England, I’ve heard a lot of funny names. He sticks out a hand, balancing the Mandrake in the other.
“J-Jenny,” I say, shaking his hand shyly.
“That’s a cool name. Is it your first semester here at Edge Grow?”
“Yes. I transferred here from Ireland,” I reply, relaxing a little. He looks slightly baffled.
“Blimey, from Ireland? We haven’t had a transfer from there in a long while. Well, at any rate, I got to go deliver this plant to the greenhouse. See you around, Jenny.”
“See you, Neville.”
He wobbles off down the hallway. I breathe a small sigh. Although he doesn’t appear very athletic, and his nose seems rather stuffy, I find him charming. His manner is adorably modest, even though I have been told by my roommate that he is among the smartest in the school. His dark hair with curly ends and thick eyebrows are rather attractive on him, although on some other men it might be overbearing. I give my head a shake. I must get to class and forget about the ever-popular Neville.
A few days later I am hurrying along in the long corridor on the second floor of Edge Grow when suddenly I bump into none other than Neville. He drops his books, and I feel awfully embarrassed.
“Oh!” I cry. “I’m terribly sorry, Neville!”
“It’s alright,” he says, stooping to pick up his books. “Are you alright yourself?”
“Yes, I’m fine,” I say. Determined to keep this conversation alive, I say the first that pops into my head.
“Is there any French homework today?”
“No, not today,” he replies. After a moment of silence, he says, “Well, see you around, Jenny.”
“See you, Neville.”
Jenny. He remembered my name; I didn’t think he would. Oh, my heart feels aglow! I smile to myself as I drift towards my dorm room. I flop myself on my bed and stare up at the faded white ceiling. My roommate Sarah asks me why I keep smiling, and I lie and say I got a good grade on my French test. Wait, I told myself to forget about Neville! I am not supposed to like him; I have heard previously that he fancies Hermione Parkinson. Why waste my time on him? Oh, the confusion! I sit up and quickly say I am going for a walk on the grounds. I must clear my overcrowded head. As I roam among the gardens and fountains, I force myself to think of something tangible, like literature or sums. It doesn’t distract me, though. My thoughts seem to circle one thing: Neville. I think I might fancy him. After all, he is quite handsome. And friendly. I return to my dormitory an hour later with my mind more confused than ever. Oh, Neville, I think, you are truly driving me mad.
A week or two later Neville passes me by on his way to the greenhouse again. He is carrying two large plants, and I politely offer him my assistance. Thinking he will refuse, I am surprised at his consent. I pick up one of the plants, which is actually quite heavy, and make conversation.
“You seem to be interested in plants.”
“I am,” he replies. “I find them fascinating. Gram always says that I will grow up to do something with plants, but I didn’t believe her until I came to Edge Grow.”
“That’s interesting. I’m not much into plants myself, but I appreciate them well enough,” I say.
“Well, everyone has different tastes.”
“Although, I myself inherited my plant enthusiasm from my parents. Well, at least, that’s what Gram says.”
“You don’t live with your folks?” I blurt out. An uncomfortable look passes over his features, but before I can assure him he doesn’t have to answer my tactless inquiry, he replies,
“No, they currently are hospitalized at Saint Mungo’s..for insanity.” He looks rather embarrassed about the name of the hospital, but I don’t see why. However, I feel incredibly sorry for his misfortune.
“Oh, Neville, I’m terribly sorry. I didn’t mean to pry, honestly.”
“It’s alright, you didn’t know.” He seems to mean. We have reached the greenhouses by now. I ask him,
“Where do we put these?”
He brightens a bit.
“Over here, in the corner, near the Mandrakes.” We set down the heavy plants. I wipe brow and discreetly check my reflection in the glass walls of the greenhouse. Decent, I compliment myself.
“Hey, Jenny?” Neville asks. I turn back to him.
“Yes?” I say.
“You’re the first person I told about my parents residing at Saint Mungo’s.” I smile.
“I’m glad you finally got it off your chest. I won’t tell anyone, though.” He looks relieved.
“Anytime.” He looks at me for a moment. Sensing it time for departure, I say, “Well, I must be off to mathematics. See you around, Neville.” He smiles.
“See you, Jenny.”
I awake the next morning to a cold, stormy day. My eyes find a faded white ceiling, and my mind finds Neville Longbottom. I held his trust. My heart stutters. I sit up and look out the window at the dreary landscape. A slight dusting of snow is upon the ground, and flakes are falling from the cloudy sky. I find this endearing and cheerful, despite the cold and the gray tone everything seems to have taken on. I hum a little while I dress, and at breakfast I am friendlier than usual to everyone. I scan the room for Neville, but I do not see him. I figure he is at the greenhouses, so I do not worry myself. However, he does not appear in my French class, which is our only class together. I am slightly troubled, but not enough to ask any questions.
Over the course of the week, however, Neville remains absent not only from French, but from school as well. I fret over his absence. What if he is deathly ill? Or if he went on vacation? Or moved without saying goodbye? Finally out of sheer desperation I ask my classmate Maria about it.
“You haven’t heard?” Her eyes widened in amazement.
“Haven’t heard what?” I ask, feeling a sense of dread.
“Well, apparently his parents died in some hospital. His grandmother flew him back in London, and I hear he’s not coming back. He was really upset about it, I hear.” I am stunned. Neville has to come back. Then it hits me. Everyone knows about his parents. I didn’t say a word. My stomach drops. What if he thinks I said something about it? I gasp aloud in horror. I cannot fathom him leaving Edge Grow with that kind of opinion of me. A kind of frightening horror consumes me the rest of the day. I arrive back at my dormitory around six o’clock mentally exhausted. I flop on my bed. I feel something on it, so I sit up and find a letter, addressed to me. Heart pounding, I open it up and read.
I am sorry I left without saying good-bye, but my parents have…passed away. Gram and I are in London to arrange everything.
I had to tell the headmaster at Edge Grow why I was leaving so
suddenly, so I suspect word has got out about my situation which
I told you about yesterday. This leads me to say, that I do not think I am
coming back. I think you will understand why, but I will miss you, Jenny.
You are the only one I’ve ever told about my parents, and I know you
didn’t say anything. Please write back; I think we could still be friends.
See you around,
He knew I didn’t say anything. He wanted to be friends. I smiled happily, took out a sheet of paper, and began to write.