Chapter 27: Nineteen Years Later. ACT VI of VIII of Merry Christmas!
“SNOW! WE LOVE YOU! KEEP COMING DOWN! WE NEED ANOTHER TWENTY CENTIMETRES! AND WE NEED IT NOW!” Madison shouts to the clouds as they still plough down buckets and buckets of the white stuff. She grabs clumps of snow off the ground and tosses them into the air, as if giving the heavens an example of what she is talking about. “I WANT TO HAVE RECORD BREAKING SNOW! WE NEED TO HAVE A GAZILION MORE TONS OF SNOW! AND WE NEED IT NOW!”
“Let me get this straight,” Collette states as she peers over Susan’s shoulder, who is checking her smartphone’s weather app, “Madison miraculously brings snow on the day when none was forecast, confounding meteorologists worldwide, and now she wants more, all to break a world record?”
“Yes, that is her goal, to yet again do six impossible things before breakfast. It shall be interesting to see if she succeeds. Will it snow for the seventh day straight? We shall see…” Susan wonders as she continues to scroll through the endless information the weather app generates.
“I will say Madison’s efforts have produced lovely results. It is wonderful to see all these snowmen, snow forts, and snow angels gracing SummerFall. Some are exceptionally brilliant,” Cynthia says as she and the rest turn to survey the heavenly mayhem surrounding them.
Ilona keeps trying to count all the snow fixtures populating the landscape, but every day more show up, and the already existing snow creations become bigger and more complicated all the time. The joy of the snow has been contagious this week, and Madison obviously wants the happiness to go on forever.
The school bell rings and slowly the citizens of SummberFall detach themselves from the fun of the white Christmas and merrily ramble over to the school doors. All thoughts, including Ilona’s, are on making time speed up to recess and even more so to the wonders of lunchtime, all to play in the beautiful snow again.
Class time blinks by, with Ilona mentally noting to ask Susan what Mr. Micheals babbled on about, all because the hunger of recess looms for her. Those precious fifteen minutes of outside time have snowball fights erupting, and Ilona discovering the uncanny accuracy of Susan’s aim. The rest of the morning flies by for Ilona, with twin desires filling her heart for the coming lunch break.
Besides another day of playing in the snow, Ilona has in the last week, between catching up on her schoolwork from when she was down and rushing to complete Christmas gifts with Collette in art class, lovingly slammed through almost all the rest of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. Ilona found the remaining chapters very soothing, healing even, for all that has occurred over the last while with Arlene. She has saved the very final chapter for noon reading, to be followed by one of the best group high fives ever.
How could it not be? Finishing Harry Potter is the ultimate group high five.
Lunch in the gym whizzes by and in a heartbeat Ilona and her friends are in the hallway preparing for outside. No one else brings a book, since the allure of the snow is everywhere. Spying The Deathly Hallows tucked under Ilona’s arm, Madison gives her a look of approval. “Ya almost finished the greatest series ever written?” She slaps Ilona on the back as she shouts the question out.
“Yes. One chapter left,” Ilona replies.
Susan sidles up to Ilona, patting an umbrella in her hands.
“I have mastered the fine art of walking in inclement weather with an umbrella in one hand and a book in the other. Someday I shall teach you this invaluable skill grasshopper. But for today, I offer my services, all for the glory of J.K.” Susan explains, finishing the last part with a courtsey.
Ilona has not taken into account the snowfall into her reading time and is suddenly very grateful her more experienced friend is offering a solution.
“Thank you Susan, I had not thought of that,” Ilona says.
“No problem, live and learn. Now onwards Hogwarts freshman,” Susan exclaims.
Soon they are all outside. Ilona leans against the wall, out of the way of the snow carnage, with Susan holding the bright red umbrella over her. Carefully, Ilona flips open the book to the final chapter. She slips the bookmark, the scrap of paper with Cynthia’s neat handwriting of all her friends phone numbers, into her jacket pocket. All the noise and cold and wind and snow that exists around her never touch her senses.
Everything is Harry Potter.
Page after page float by Ilona’s eyes. Her soul fills with these final moments in this amazing story. The final, last paragraph of this wizarding world plays out before her. She reads it twice, not quite sinking in that the journey has ended. Slowly, Ilona shuts the book, looks to Susan, and thanks her.
“Everyone, Ilona has finished ALL of Harry Potter!” Susan shouts to the other girls.
In a blink, Cynthia, Collette, Clara and Madison huddle up with Ilona and Susan.
“GROUP HIGH FIVE!” Madison shouts.
A small circle forms, hands shoot into the air, and slaps of various strength greet Ilona’s palm. the hardest being the one from Madison of course. She had done this many times before, for herself and for her friends, but this time feels even more special, even more like an accomplishment.
Ilona has completed Harry Potter and the world is perfect.
Breaking out of the group high five huddle, Clara immediately whips out her smartphone. “Got to text Josh that you finished Harry Potter, have to keep him in the loop.”
“Send him the message by Owl post instead!” Madison whoops.
Laughter erupts from all, with Ilona loving the fact she now gets so many more of these references her friends make.
As they all mill about discussing the magic of Harry Potter, Collette and Clara start chatting up Ilona.
“Okay, we have a schedule for you,” Clara states.
“One we both agreed on,” Collette continues.
“After school I am going to loan you Tracey’s Doctor Who dvd’s. I got them from her last year, and well, will return them someday. But before you watch those…” Clara explains.
“You have, have to,” Collette stresses, “Read one of my favourite books of all time, A Christmas Carol by Mr. Charles John Huffam Dickens. Perfect and wonderful in so many ways. You will truly love it.”
Ilona stares lovingly at her friends.
“Thank you. Thank you both. You are true friends” Ilona says.
Feeling like the time is finally right, finally perfect, Ilona turns to Cynthia.
“And thank you for calling my parents. It helped make everything right,” Ilona says, looking at her friend.
Cynthia smiles and gently takes Ilona’s hand.
“And one more thing, one of the reasons I was out of sorts for awhile there is because of something I want to tell you all about,” Ilona explains.
All her friends gather around, patting Ilona’s arms and back.
“I want to tell you about my sister Arlene.”
Song For This Chapter: White Christmas by Irving Berlin.
First serialization started on Friday, June 7th, 2013.