There wasn’t much that Ginny remembered about the day that Harry broke up with her. The memories swirled in her mind like a kaleidoscope of colors- all blurred shapes and jagged fragments, only a chaotic patchwork of what really happened.
She remembered that the sky had been a clear hard cerulean, stretching endlessly overhead in a smooth, unbroken expanse. She remembered that she had stumbled as she stepped off the curb, and that a puddle of icy slush had spilled inside her shoe and seeped into her sock, cold, uncomfortable. She remembered that a tiny dog had barked at her as she climbed the stairs to her flat, a puffy white ball of fluff emitting high pitched squeaks, its mismatched ears sticking out at odd angles.
She also remembered that the weather had been flawless on that day. In the books that Ginny read late at night, curled up under the covers with the dim light flickering overhead, the weather was always dreary, wet, miserable on the day something that monumentally horrible happened. The skies were meant to open up and pour sadness upon the broken earth; the wind was meant to rattle the glass windows, bitterly piercing fragile skin and soul; the lightning was meant to scream and illuminate the utter hopelessness of the world. So of course on the day that Harry broke up with her, the sunlight glinted off of the pure white snow in crystalline winks, the bright sky was vibrant and unmarred and infinity, and the air smelled of the sweet promise of spring.
He had done it gently, regretfully, softly. Nicely. There was no other way to describe it. Or him. Harry Potter was a Nice Boy. It was the one thing he entirely, wholeheartedly. Take away the hero, take away the fame and the loyalty and the courage- strip everything one possibly could from his character- and underneath it all he would still be a Nice Boy.
Ginny remembered this. She remembered how his eyes had earnestly pleaded without words, how his shoulders had slumped with apology, how one strand of jet black hair- the exact same shade as an overturned bottle of spilled ink- had lay across his forehead, reluctant and relived at the same time.
What she didn’t remember was what he said. Or why he was breaking up with her. Every word that came out of his mouth was silent, incomprehensible, falling upon deaf ears- unable to be heard over the final, empty thud of grief inside her and the tiny crash as Ginny’s heart shattered into a thousand miniscule pieces of heartbreak. The shards rained down inside her, cutting against the pain and resentment, showering upon her organs. One of them landed on her liver.
She didn’t remember what she said back, or how she had even left him. For all she knew, she had shook his hand, tipped him two Sickles for the favor and whistled “God Save the Queen” as she walked away. Her next conscious moment was when she was standing in the hallway outside her flat, fumbling in her pockets for the key and unlocking the drab, gray door with trembling fingers.
Her expression was blank and her eyes were dry as she stalked into the kitchen, sinking gracefully into a chair. She stared at the far wall, immobile, keys still clutched tightly in her palm. Over her shoulder, a sparrow chirruped cheerfully as it hopped across the windowsill, reveling in the break from the cold winter weather. Sunlight streamed through the window, mockingly beautiful.
She remained at the kitchen table for the rest of the day, never once shedding a tear or even moving a muscle. Her fingers were curled around the metal keys, gripping onto them tightly until her hand grew numb, losing all feeling. Ginny didn’t notice.
She didn’t move until Hermione came home from work, bursting into kitchen and calling for her flat mate. Ginny turned her head to look at her, strained neck protesting from being held in one position for so long, and then at a single “Oh Ginny” from Hermione, she burst into tears, crying huge gut-wrenching sobs into her arms as the sunlight faded from the kitchen window and the sky melted to a brilliant red-gold.
Ginny ducked her head down, silently contemplating the chipped scarlet nail polish on her pinky toe. Beside her, Hermione was leafing through one of her unbearably large and ancient textbooks that took up half the loft, knowing that Ginny needed the quiet but keeping close by, should she require a shoulder to cry on. Ginny tugged at a loose thread from the quilt on Hermione’s bed, winding it tighter and tighter around her finger until it finally pulled free from the fabric in a satisfying snap.
“Is there such a thing as too much perfection?”
At first, Ginny wasn’t sure that Hermione had heard her, but the sound of shifting pages ceased and she knew the other girl was listening.
“It worked out so well between us, didn’t it? I mean, I was his best friend’s little sister, he was the boy I had loved since forever. Seriously, I pined after him for so long, ignored and invisible, and then finally he saw me and… It was like a fairytale.”
Hermione nodded solemnly, her soft gaze trained on Ginny’s face. Outside, wisps of cotton clouds drifted across a dark velvet sky, obscuring the silver moon.
“But the thing is,” Ginny went on, slowly, “fairytales aren’t real. Life isn’t meant to be that easy, that perfect- put on a cloak to evade Death, help your neighbor to lift a curse, cut out your heart-” she took a deep, shuddering breath- “to fall out of love. Fairytales always skip over the hard parts. But if we made it through unbroken and flawless, then we wouldn’t have lived, not really.” Her voice broke. “But I suppose none of that matters anymore. We were too perfect, and now we’re nothing.”
“Oh Ginny,” Hermione leaned over and wrapped a welcoming arm around Ginny’s thin shoulders, enfolding her into an embrace, “it’ll be okay, really. You’ll get over him. You just need time.”
Ginny thought of the aching feeling inside her chest, like someone was reaching up and tugging the scattered shards of glass-heart down into her gut. She thought of the pointy one sticking out of her liver. “How the hell does one get over a guy like that?”
The other witch was silent for a moment, contemplating. “Cry,” she started simply, “read a book that you love. Make mud pies. Stick pins in voodoo dolls.”
Ginny looked at Hermione, at her friend who somehow always knew the answers. “Uncover a deep, dark secret,” Hermione went on, “Eat ice cream. Take a long walk on a cold winter night. Stay up all night gossiping with your friends.”
There was a pause. Ginny closed her eyes, tilting her head back against the wall. “Dance,” she whispered, barely audible as she tucked a strand of vibrant hair behind her ear.
Hermione sighed, and leaned into Ginny. “Jump in puddles. Count the stars.”
“Bake cookies. Catch snowflakes on your tongue. Lie in the grass.”
“Catch up with an old friend. Paint with your fingers.”
Ginny could feel the edges of her mouth turning up. “Fly for so long you can no longer feel your arse.”
“Go skinny-dipping. Soak up the sun.”
The two girls smiled, falling into an easy silence. “We should write a book,” said Ginny, shifting slightly on the mattress, “A step by step plan to falling out of love. We’d make millions.” She laughed quietly, just a little.
Hermione wrinkled her brow, thinking. “Actually,” she said slowly, “I think we’re forgetting a step.”
Ginny looked up, surprised at the other girl’s serious tone. “Um, we are?” she asked, not aware that there was actually meant to be a best-selling book on the way.
“Yes,” said Hermione, almost sternly. She pulled back a little, looking Ginny in the eye. “I think that after that, after all of it and after the scars have faded a little and it doesn’t hurt so much to think of him anymore, you need to do one more thing.”
“And that would be…?”
“You need to fall in love again.”
Ginny didn’t say anything, instead pulling her hair out of its messy bun and feeling the long red locks tumble down her shoulders. She glanced up at the window, where small colorless flakes had began to drift past the glass panes, spiraling from the heavens down, down, down onto the cold, hard ground.
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