George made his way, as he always has, into the attic. He stood in front of the pensieve and leaned over. In a matter of seconds, he was transported to the very day he wanted to remember. And the day he wanted to forget.
“How do you feel, Georgie?” whispered Mrs. Weasley. George’s fingers groped for the side of his head.
“Saintlike,” he murmured.
“What’s wrong with him?” croaked Fred, looking terrified. “Is his mind affected?”
“Saintlike,” repeated George, opening his eyes and looking up at his brother. “You see… I’m holy, Holey, Fred, geddit?” Mrs. Weasley sobbed harder than ever. Colour flooded Fred’s pale face.
“Pathetic,” he told George. “Pathetic! With the whole wide world of ear-related humour before you, you go for holey?”
“Ah well,” said George, grinning at his tear-soaked mother.
“You’ll be able to tell us apart now, anyway, Mum.
And as the last words left George’s mouth, he found himself back inside his room, the silvery surface of the pensieve behind him.
“Well then, that’s it for the day, Fred. I need to get back to work.” Fred has been dead for a year now. George knows it very well.
“Okay then, Fred. It’s 8 o’clock in the morning. I better open up the shop or we’ll lose customers. I would not want to delay our expansion plans.” George knows very well that no one, not even the ghost of his twin brother, Fred, would answer him.
A customer enters the shop and looks at the items on display. She went over the stall where the Extendable Ears are displayed and showed great interest in them. By then, George was busy cleaning the counter. “How much are these?” the lady asked. George had no time to look up from where he was so he shouted, “What?” No response ever came from the lady customer and so George continued cleaning up the counter when he saw a pair of sneakers down below. George looked up and was surprised. George looked up and saw a face he never thought he’d see again after the war. It was someone he wanted and tried so hard to forget but he just couldn’t. It was Angelina Johnson. For a moment, no words came out of his mouth but he managed a shaky “Hey” at the very last minute. Angelina laughed and replied. “Hey, George. Fancy seeing you here. I see your shop’s still in motion.” George didn’t know how to respond and so he motioned for Angelina to go inside his abode. He practically lives in his shop, anyway.
“How’ve you been?” she asked.
“Uhmm, good. I have been good. Uh, uhm.” At a loss for words, he motioned for Angelina to take a seat at his sofa. His house in 93 Diagon Alley is quite simple out front but very spacious on the inside. A large kitchen, a long table for dinner guests, and a big wooden door to greet customers and visitors alike.
Angelina sat down and they started chatting.
“I wasn’t expecting you’d come. It has been so long.”
I wanted to see you. Fred’s death anniversary is in another week.
Oh, you didn’t have to bother. It’s not like we were that close back in Hogwarts. It was always you and Freddie who were close friends.
Awkward silence in between both of them, Angelina still replied, “Well, I felt like I had to tell you so you wouldn’t be surprised.”
George could no longer bear the hurt, by then. He wanted to apparate and leave the place. His mind still wandering from the very moment Angelina showed up at his door. Thoughts filled his mind, everything came back all at once – the happiness, the joy, and then sadness, hurt, the pain, anger, and regret. ‘Why are you here? I told you I wanted to forget you, remember? Well, guess what? I haven’t!’ He wanted to shout the words and relieve himself from the surge of emotion but all he did was stare at her, helpless and pitifully frustrated. His thoughts were all jumbled up he didn’t realize Angelina was already leaving.
“Wait!” Even George was shocked by his sudden reaction. “You want to grab some coffee some time soon?”
Angelina stopped walking and faced him, grinning. “Sure, I’d love that.”
Day 1, Wednesday
I saw her once again. After nearly a year, she showed up at our doorstep and greeted me with that beautiful smile of hers. She asked how I was and I told her I was fine. I neglected to tell her I was still grieving for your death and but I think she knows it. She was always the only person in the group we couldn’t fool. I asked her out for coffee. You’re not mad are you? I mean, it’s just a cup of coffee after all.
Day 2, Thursday
We went out to Hogsmeade and ordered beer. Yeah, I know, I asked her out for coffee but, who cares? She didn’t. We started talking about ourselves. She’s doing really well as an auror, Fred. You’d be so proud of her. I asked her how she’d been after the battle at Hogwarts and she admitted she’d had a rough time sleeping with all the nightmares. It was a good thing her aunt and the rest of her family were there to support her and help. Fred, you should have seen her. She was still as glowing as ever. Her dark skin was still as flawless as silk. She gained weight but her body was still as perfect as it was before. She hasn’t changed. She tried to pull out a prank on me with the Ton-Tongue but I was still a much better prankster than her and I saw through her plan in no time. We left Hogsmeade at about 8 o’clock in the evening and I walked her home. We talked mainly about you and how she handled the process of getting over. She is still the tough girl we once made friends with but at the very mention of your name, I see tears stream down her face. She really loves you, man. I wish you were the one experiencing this. It pains me to be the one being with her when I clearly see it’s you she wants by her side. At times, I think I am just a face and a name for her. I do hope it will change, and perhaps it someday will. Sadly, that day isn’t going to come soon. I have waited. It is a sad thing really Fred, to be good at waiting.
Day 3, Friday
I did something unimaginable today. I told her I love her. I told her I loved her from the start. I told her how hurt I was when you asked her out to the Yule ball. I can’t believe I did it, but I did. I guess she did not hear though. We were underneath the starry skies at the plaza. She was leaning next to me when I said the words. But after I spoke, she didn’t respond. It was only then that I noticed. She was asleep the whole time!
You were always the one so confident when it came to women – when it came to all other stuff, really. I was always second best. You were the one who asked out the hottest girl in our year nonchalantly, and she said yes. Fred, tell me what to do. I love her. How do I tell her Fred? How do I tell her without breaking her heart even more than she had broken mine?
Day 4, Saturday
I: What are you doing?
She: Just staring at the sky. You?
She: A funny joke.
I: Joke’s are half-meant?
She: So you are half-thinking of me?
I: Huh? What a literal interpretation.
She: Haha. Just kidding.
I: I miss our conversations.
She: I do, too.
I: Do you still love him?
I: Never mind. Forget I asked.
I: Do you have someone you like?
She: Just some guy I know would never be interested in me.
I: Who in their right minds would not be interested in you?
She: Haha. That’s a funny joke.
I: I mean it.
She: If you only knew.
She: Pain is a blessing.
I: Pain is a curse.
She: Pain is a gift. Without the capacity for pain, we can’t feel the hurt we inflict.
I: Time heals all wounds. All we need to do is to wait and the pain will fade.
She: But how long must one wait to call it waiting?
Day 5, Sunday
Should I tell her? Help me, Fred.
But then I know you would not. How could you?
Day 6, Monday
I: You really don’t get it do you?
She: Yes, I don’t! Why don’t you tell me George, huh? Enlighten me, please! What am I to you really?
I: I love you for chrissake! I have loved you ever since! I thought I could forget you by distancing myself but I was wrong! Ever since you showed up at my doorstep, all I could think about is how I never fought for you before. How I never told you how I felt. How I never told you how jealous I was when you chose Fred over me. Now are you happy?
She: It is you who does not get it.
I was really mad but I still asked her, “What is it that I don’t get then?” We stood there in between the streets of Privet Drive, the moon high above and we were shouting at each other. She uttered her next words in between sobs but I couldn’t then say who was the most after she said them “It was you. It has always been you. It will always be you.” And then she ran away. I wanted to chase her and hold her tight in my arms but I couldn’t bring myself to move a single step. ‘Get over it, George. This is for the better. You have said your piece, and she had said hers.’ I told myself. I went home alone that night, walking in the rain. I was glad the rain covered up my tears, they just couldn’t stop falling.
The very next day, George visited Fred’s grave at Godric’s Hollow. He brought his letters with him, read it, reread it, cried, and by the time he reached to the last letter, a familiar silhouette approached. Angelina. George wiped away the tears and tried to put a smile on his face. It came out all crooked and lanky. Angelina didn’t seem to mind. She sat there beside George, in front of Fred’s tombstone and listened as George read the last letter.
I am sorry. I love her, Fred. I knew I should’ve said it to you sooner. But I couldn’t bring myself to. I was jealous. I was selfish. I was self-centered. But no amount of truth can cover up the lie I showed both you and Angelina. I still love her Fred. I do hope you’ll forgive me. Because this time, I will fight. I know you’ll always be in her heart, and that your place is something I could never replace. But I will fight for another spot. A spot she won’t regret giving me. I love you, dear brother. But I love her, even more.
And with that, Angelina uttered five simple words George would never forget.
“Fred, I love him too.”
They were engulfed in a beautiful air of silence. The kind of silence that makes you walk on air. It wasn’t long after they both wiped their tears, when George asked her.
“Will you cry when I die?”
She didn’t respond. She leaned in close and under the pale moonlight, they held hands.