Ron hasnt spoken to me for two months. Actually,
he hasnt spoken to anyone. He just sits in his bedroom and stares
out the window. The seasons have changed, and a blanket of snow covers
the Burrows back yard, but I doubt he even sees it. From the despairing
look on his face, my guess is that all he can see is than night replayed
over and over.
Everyone says hell snap out of it, that hell
find his way past the shock, but Im not so sure. I know how much
Harry meant to him, to the both of us. He was more than the Boy Who Lived,
more than the hero of an age, he was our friend. I know Ron, better than
I know anyone, and I know that he wishes he had died for Harry that day.
I worry that he still might.
That farce theyre now calling a battle robbed
me of my two best friends. Harry may have died, but Ron spends every day
trapped in his own private hell. I know he feels guilty. I want to tell
him he shouldnt. I want to make him understand how much I need him
here, but I cant get through and this helplessness is slowly killing
I used to yell at him, scream that he was a coward
just to lie there and avoid the rest of the world. It didnt have
any effect on him, and it only made me feel worse. Now I just hold his
hand, trying to offer whatever comfort I can.
Ron responds now, when you talk to him. He takes
walks in the garden and picks the early flowers. He always smiles for
his mother, but I can still see the vacant look in his eyes.
Everyone says hes making progress, but it
feels like hes slipping further away. He treats me like a casual
acquaintance. He likes to talk about the weather, and answers my questions
with polite detachment. I used to struggle to hide my tears, until I realized
he doesnt even notice.
"Ron," I say, attempting a conversational
tone, "Do you remember Harry Potter?"
His eyes are vacant as he looks through me. "Of
course I do," he replies in that maddeningly detached tone of his,
"I killed him, you know."
A thousand tiny daggers pierce my heart. "No,
Ron," I whisper, "Voldemort killed him."
Ron just shrugs, as if the matter wasnt terribly
important. "Well, I didnt do much to stop him, did I?"
He frowns slightly, the first show of emotion Ive seen from him
in almost half a year, "Why didnt I try to stop him?"
Molly comes in then, bringing his lunch on a tray.
Ron retreats back behind his wall, smiling blankly at his mother, and
I want to scream in frustration that all my progress has been lost. Why
didnt I try to stop him? The cruelest part of his affliction
is how he cant even remember the answer.
Summer is coming. The days are beautiful and sunny,
but I cant bear to go outside. Ron is much the same; never sad,
never really there. I realize now that I love him. I
just as he always loved me. It breaks my heart to think
that I may never really be able to tell him.
Everyone says that time heals all wounds, but mine
are just growing deeper and more painful. Sometimes I creep into his room
when hes asleep. Without the constant reminder of his dead eyes,
I can pretend that hes still the Ron I love. I lay down next to
him, rest my head on his shoulder and tell him all my worries and regrets.
"Ron," I whisper, "I miss you. I
keep thinking of that time in Seventh Year, when you asked me to marry
you...do you remember?
Right in the middle of Charms? I just laughed;
we were so young. Then, well, there never seemed to be any time, but I
want you to know
I do love you."
He stirs suddenly and my heart catches in my throat.
"You cant," he rasps.
I sit up and stare at him in amazement. His eyes
are closed, but I can see tears brimming in the corners. "What did
His eyes open, and the clarity of his gaze amazes
me. "You cant love me," he insists, "I am a worthless
human being who let his best friend die."
"It isnt your fault."
He continues as if he hadnt heard me. "I
was standing right between the two of you. I saw Voldemort point his wand
at Harry, but I didnt stop him. I didnt even try, because
he chokes back a sob, "
because I could see Malfoy pointing
his wand at you."
"Ron, sometimes life forces us to make appalling
choices. You could only have saved one of us. If you had to do it again,
would you have chosen Harry?"
I waited an eternity for him to respond. "No,
Hermione, I would still save you. God help me, Ill always choose
And with tears of blood he cleansed the hand,
The hand that held the steel:
For only blood can wipe out blood,
And only tears can heal.
From "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" by Oscar Wilde