Daddy wakes me up early.
“Can you wake up for me, Lilybug?” he says. He pulls my blankie off and I reach for it – it’s so cold! – but it’s already fallen down to my feet.
“It’s early,” I say.
“I know.” Daddy smiles. “But you don’t have to go to school today.”
Immediately, I feel more awake. No school! Well, then!
I sit up a little and scratch at the side of my cheek. “How come?”
“It’s Victory Day, little girl,” he says.
Oh, right! We get to see James today!
Mummy picks out a blue dress for me to wear and socks with bows. I don’t normally like these socks, except with my blue dress. She ties a ribbon in my hair and I jump up and down a little so I can see how bouncy my ponytail is. My hair is extra curly because I washed it last night. It feels like a holiday, except without presents.
After breakfast, we all Floo into Hogsmeade. I know a lot about Hogsmeade because Uncle George works there sometimes. I know his shop and the Three Broomsticks and Honeydukes and some others, but I don’t remember them all. Mummy brushes sparks of my dress and then we all hold hands so we can walk to the Memorial, which is at Hogwarts.
When we get there, I feel serious. Mummy had told us stories about the War and the Memorial so I know it is very important. I know that I have another Uncle, but he died here. I know that Teddy’s mum and dad died here too, and lots of other people we love. I wait quietly while Mum and Dad spend time with the names of our old friends.
First we find Gran and Grandpa and then Uncle Ron, Aunt Hermione, Rosie and Hugo. We wait a little longer and soon the other Aunts and Uncles are here, too. Waiting is better with company, but it still feels like everything is taking forever. We wait even longer until finally, I see all the big kids from Hogwarts walking down the hill, down to the Memorial where we are standing. A lot of people see their mums and dads and go to meet them. James takes a long time to come, but finally, there, I see him! He walks over and I hug him and then Mum hugs him too. He groans a little bit, because boys hate hugs, but I don’t mind. I’m glad to see him.
He punches Al in the shoulder, which is what boys do for hugs, I think.
Then it is time to be very quiet.
“We call today Victory Day,” says the tall man in front of the crowd. “And undoubtedly, there is a lot to celebrate.”
He pauses. “Yet, today is a sad day for many of us here, too.”
He points towards the Memorial and as everyone turns to look at it, I look too. It is covered by piles and piles of flowers and looks very pretty.
“We feel this tension,” the man says. “We feel torn between joy at what this day represents and sadness at the reality of what happened here.”
My nose is very itchy.
“But we must take comfort,” he says. “…comfort in the …”
He says a lot more, but it is hard to listen. Instead, I think.
Victory Day is confusing. Victory is a happy word. And today feels like a happy day, because I get to miss school and wear my socks with bows. We wake up early like on Christmas and we get to come to Hogwarts.
But on Victory Day, we don’t get presents or eat special food. We don’t sing songs and dance to Granny’s old music. We remember people who have died and we are sad or happy or both.
On Victory Day, we get to see everyone in the family. We don’t get to play or tell jokes, but we do other things. We see James, even though he doesn’t like hugs, and all my big cousins, too. Grandpa lets me sit on his lap and Gran does my hair in a braid starting all the way at the top of my head.
I don’t think I understand Victory Day yet, but I bet I will when I’m older.
For now, though, I just think it’s nice. Because today, we all get to be together. Even though some of us are dead.