Disclaimer: I forgot to add one to my last story, but
of course none of the characters belong to me, only the words that I use to
Authors Note: My favourite description of Love has long
been a passage from Guy DeMaupassant’s “Our Hearts”. It inspired me to
write this. Many thanks for those who read, and of course review – you are
every writer’s dream J
I must thank my
lovely beta Aurelie, who writes me very entertaining emails to read at work
when I’m bored out of my brain J
“To love “very much” is to love poorly:
one loves – that is all – it cannot be modified or completed without being
nullified. It is a short word, but it contains all: it means the body, the
soul, the life, the entire being. We feel it as we feel the warmth of the
blood, we breathe it as we breathe the air, we carry it in ourselves as we
carry our thoughts. Nothing more exists for us.
It is not a
word: it is an inexpressible state indicated by four letters….”
“What is it about
snow that makes everything so….white?”
inwardly, at his bemused expression, and at his words, that are so inexplicably
she says easily, “snow is just…..”
interruption startles her, but when she looks over at him, he is grinning.
“Imagine if you
will, a world where science doesn’t exist. Don’t faint.”
She rolls her
eyes, yet looks at him expectantly, which he takes as permission to continue.
“How would you
explain snow then?? I’ve stumped you haven’t I!!” His excitement at the thought
“You know, just
because I have a brain doesn’t mean I’m short of a heart.”
untypical of her, and it throws him.
“I would say snow
is rain that comes from the moon. Maybe there’s someone powerful and good up
there, and he sends snow once a year to remind people that everything is
beautiful…..” She trails off, as she notices him make a grand show of
suppressing his laughter.
“Fine,” she snaps
angrily. “What’s your explanation? You started this ridiculous conversation, so
please, enlighten me!”
His laughter rings
out merrily in the cold. “So there’s really a man on the moon?? No, wait, wait…
a snowman on the moon!”
Her face is
burning now, and she is shaking, not because of the chill in the courtyard
where they stood, but because she is humiliated. He had tricked her into
revealing something of herself, of her dreams, and all he could do now was
She breathes out,
and a trail of mist escapes to dance with the late afternoon air.
inhales and strides away from him, wanting to cry but not knowing why. It was
so immature, because they weren’t children anymore, and she normally would
never, except that she had so wanted him to see something inside her, something
that wasn’t books and homework.
would show him her soul was alive.
Yet it was absurd
of her to even consider it. It didn’t matter, and she most certainly didn’t
care, and she was annoyed with herself for even thinking for a second
that she did, because she didn’t. And now that she had discussed the matter,
she could close it, and lock it away, deep inside her where all the most secret
He is calling her
name, she can here it on the wind that is chasing her. Or is it his voice
chasing her? She slows, because she must, even though she wishes she could will
herself on because wouldn’t that just show him?
She whips around
to face him. Sees him swallow nervously. Makes sure her presence weighs him
down like a storm in the summer.
“Um..” He is unsure how best to approach
the volcano that is Hermione. Should he tread lightly and escape the fire? Or
throw himself headfirst into the flames?
“Look, I don’t
know what your so mad about, I just got the picture in my head and it made me
laugh, that’s all!”
him. He is sinking at an extraordinarily fast rate.
“I…its not your
answer really, its more the image…..and it just sort of came out of nowhere you
know…?” He clutches wildly at the burning rock, trying to climb out of the pit
before its too late.
“Ok, I’m sorry!
Really, but it’s a compliment that you make me laugh! Its not like many people
He is exasperated,
and doesn’t really think about the weight of his words. He has just admitted
something strange and powerful, that he had never, ever wanted to let her know.
That she delights
Because it would
catapult their friendship into no-mans land.
A dangerous place
out of this disturbing reverie, he dares to look at her. A smile plays on her
The rock he was
clutching for before evaporates, and suddenly he is on dry, un-volcano like
land, and it feels very good.
“And,” he says, trying quickly to move
past his earlier slip of the tongue, “your description was much better than
what I was thinking of.”
“Which was what?”
She asks softly.
“Oh.” He is
suddenly embarrassed. “That its actually white coloured fairy floss being
pumped from a huge machine in the sky. And you can, you know, eat it and
He wishes his ears
wouldn’t go red, because it will show her that hers was actually quite a nice
sentiment, and his….well, his was just plain old stupid Ron at his nonsensical
This time it is
her turn to laugh, and laugh she does. Yet it is a kind laughter, because she is
kind, he thinks, and unexpectedly wants her to know it. That he thinks she is
kind. And that standing here, in the snow, basked in a pale light that is so
characteristic of winter, she looks as lovely as he could ever imagine a girl
But he pushes that
thought aside, (they’re best friends for goodness sake), and they head
inside, and he hopes there is no more talk on descriptions for a very long
slowly into the windows at first, without causing much ado. The heat rises
without hurry, clouds stroll by, and its gentle pace is undisturbed, until
without warning, the cymbals chime with glorious crescendo, and radiance and
colour are everywhere.
It’s a summer when
you just know something is going to happen. When time ticks loudly in
front of your face – a countdown begins. All the fun is in not knowing what
is just background. He knows it.
They are sitting
together, as they always do, because together is so much better than alone, and
they both know this even though they are a little afraid of what it all means.
It is still so
humid out, and she can see his clothes are sticky with sweat.
“Isn’t it great
the holidays are almost here?” He asks. For some reason there is an awkward
silence, and he is grappling for some conversation.
She shrugs. “I
She is distracted,
he can see. But only she knows why. And it’s awful. How, how did she get
herself into this horrible mess, where her brain is fuzzy with half formed
thoughts and feelings, and a dreadful, burning desire to ask him if he felt the
“Are you ok?
Hermione? Cause you look a bit sick.” He is frank, and she stumbles inside her
head to explain herself.
She turns and
looks him right in the eye, and wills herself to be brave.
The ticking stops,
and she knows that right now, in the middle of all this heat, with the grass
pricking her legs and the late afternoon sun making her face red, is the
moment. Sometimes, she realises, it just hits you right in the stomach - that
feeling that if you don’t say it now, you might never say it, and that,
unbelievably, is even more frightening than trying to get the words out in the
“What do you think
about love Ron? I mean….how…how would you describe it?”
He seems frozen.
And petrified. She’s ruined it, she just knows that she’s ruined it.
Could she have been more blunt? Now he would run away from the whole thing, and
she might never get a glimpse again.
He clears his
throat, and her eyes widen as she realises that his mouth has opened to speak,
to actually speak.
“What makes you
ask that…? Not that I think it’s a stupid question!” He rushes ineptly, and she
realises he doesn’t want to offend her, or embarrass her, and its strangely
“I suppose…” She
stops, and shyness overtakes her. There’s that burning again, but she doesn’t
think it’s from the sun after all.
“I suppose I’ve
been thinking about it a lot lately, and I just thought maybe you had
some…..thoughts” she finishes lamely.
down, and tugs unmercifully at their clothes and hands and feelings.
For a while, neither says anything, and
she begins to think herself insane for even attempting to bring this up, and
fear grips her.
When she thinks of
love, her core seems to explode with meanings and words, things that she
herself has felt because (and in an instant it all makes perfect sense),
she is in love! With him, Ron, her most wonderful friend in the whole
world, who sets out purposely to nag her and tease her and cause her all sorts
of trouble, whose opinion of her matters over everyone else’s, whose hand is
the only one she can ever possibly imagine holding when she is afraid, and who
is looking at her now as if he hasn’t got the faintest idea of what love could
ever feel like.
her, he’s never felt it.
To him, she
realises suddenly, she would always be just Hermione, who’s kind of fun to hang
out with, when she’s not yelling at him to finish his homework, and is
exceedingly useful at getting them out of critical, possibly life-threatening
And of course
their friendship is important, she admonishes herself, choking on her breath
and tears, and shock, and she’s lucky really, to have such a great friend as
he, whom she knew always looked out for her, as a brother would.
“Why are you
She has forgotten
he was there. He asks the question as simply as Wendy does the boy Peter, in a
fairytale her mother used to read her long ago. The thimble-kiss always made
her heart jump.
She can only shake
her head, even though she wants to scream at him that her heart is breaking,
couldn’t he hear it?
“Love.” He says.
For a moment her
brow creases in confusion. What?
“What?” She asks stupidly.
because you love someone.”
Oh. He always sees
right through her, and she hates it.
“But I think we
should get back to our conversation. You were asking me to describe love.”
She is taken
“I guess the only
way I’d really be able to describe love is….” Suddenly he looks hesitant.
“What?” Her voice
comes out in a whisper, she is unsure if he even heard her.
He brushes her
chin with his hand.
For a second she
is stunned, because sometimes one word is all it takes to make you feel like
that, as if the wind has been knocked out of you by some sort of strong and
turns everything upside down, and she thinks she hears something swelling, like
music, or her perhaps heart, as her face breaks helplessly into a smile.
“I knew you’d like
He is grinning
too, and all that tension is gone and everything is light and weightless.
She is dizzy, and
puts her forehead against his shoulder to rest, and he plays with her fingers,
and in the end, the only description that really matters is this one.