“Teddy, are you ready?” His grandma’s voice came floating up the stairs. Teddy did his best to ignore it.
“Teddy!” Her voice was more insistent this time and getting closer.
He sighed and closed the book he was reading.
“Yes,” he replied, leaving his room to meet her on the landing.
“Teddy! Why aren’t you dressed? We’re supposed to leave in five minutes.”
“I am dressed.”
“Don’t be cheeky – you know what I mean. Where are your dress robes? I put them out on your bed this morning.”
“Then that’s where they are I suppose,” replied Teddy, shrugging.
“Honestly, Teddy, we don’t have time for this today! We’re going to be late.”
“No we’re not, because I’m not going.”
“I don’t want to go. You can, but I’m staying here. I have homework to do.”
His grandma seemed at a loss for words.
“But…Professor McGonagall allowed you this weekend off school especially. You have
to go. They were your parents – you can’t just not go to the memorial.”
“Why? It’s the same every year. We go, people make sad speeches about brave everyone was and then they come up and tell me how much I’ve grown and how much I look and act like people I never even knew!”
His voice had been gradually increasing in volume and he almost shouted the last four words.
There was a silence that seemed to last forever. Teddy couldn’t bring himself to look at her; of all the ways he had planned to tell her, this was not the scene he had imagined, but somehow, the feelings he had been bottling up for so long, had exploded in a sudden rush of emotion.
“I’m sorry,” he muttered after a few seconds, his voice hardly audible.
“I don’t understand,” she said softly. “If you’ve been feeling this way, then why didn’t you say something.”
“I didn’t know how. It all means so much to you. But I never really knew them, Grandma – I can’t feel sad about people I never met. When everyone tells the stories about wonderful they are, all I can think about is the fact that if they were so great, they’d have stuck around to be with me.”
“But, you know it wasn’t like that.”
“No I don’t. People have only told me that. I know nothing about them other than what people have told me, and how am I supposed to know who to trust or who to believe?”
His grandma gave a small shrug of her shoulders. “I can’t tell you that. It’s up to you to make up your own mind about who they were. And they might not be here, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist anymore – they still live on through you. And perhaps I can do more to show you what they were really like. But please, Teddy, come to the memorial. If not for them, for me – I need you there. I don’t think I can stand it without you."
Teddy stood for a minute, torn between his desire never to attend one of the damn events again, and his love for his grandma. But then he realised his decision was easy. He may never have known his parents but his grandma was the closest thing to a mother he had ever had and if she needed him to be there, and to remember, then he would be.