Everyone lived. When Harry was born, Lily hardly saw him because Sirius was fitting him into a tiny leather jacket, Remus was reading to him, and James was already trying to sneak him to the Quidditch supply store to get Harry his first toy broom. Christmases were spent with full bellies and rooms stuffed with laughter, and there wasn’t a single person without flushed cheeks from all the wine. Lily’s eyes sparkled, and there was always a joke on the tip of James’ tongue. All Harry knew was love, love, love, from every corner of the universe.
Everyone lived, and every Thursday afternoon, Sirius and Remus took Harry to the “library”, which was the secret word they taught him for the ice cream parlor. With each trip, they ordered the biggest sundae that was offered with three spoons, and Harry always ate nearly all of it. They kept it up until the day Harry asked Lily to take him to the library and, when confronted with the shelves piled high with books, he asked her where they went to order their ice cream.
Remus and Sirius got married when Harry was three, and Harry was the ring bearer. Lily cried the first time she saw him in his tiny dress robes. They were just long enough that he nearly tripped halfway up the aisle. There wasn’t a single pair of dry of eyes in the audience that day.
Everyone lived, and on Harry’s sixth birthday, he celebrated alongside Neville with all their friends and family. James gave Harry his first set of toy Quidditch balls. He, Ron, Neville, Draco, and Ginny all played together until Draco pushed Neville off his broom and into the cake Alice had spent hours working on. Lily tried so hard not to laugh at Neville’s frosting-covered face, but instead she went beet red and gave herself away to everyone.
Draco said he was sorry. He actually meant it.
Everyone lived, and the moms had a Lockhart book club, which consisted of everyone getting wine-drunk and complaining about their husbands together. Draco, Neville, Harry and Ron eavesdropped and reported back to their dads, who were standing around the kitchen armed with beer, about what they did wrong that week. Each of the meetings somehow coincidentally ended with each of the men stopping by to bring their respective wives bouquets of flowers or boxes of chocolate “because they just felt like it.”
Everyone lived, and Draco and Harry were friends, believe it or not. When Narcissa and Lucius had a date night, they dropped Draco off at the Potters. James told them scary stories in the darkness of their blanket tent. Lily used magic to cast shadows all over their living room, and Harry and Draco wouldn’t sleep for the rest of the night. But Lily kissed each of their foreheads and assured them each that everything would be fine, because she and James would never let anything bad happen to either of them.
She meant it.
Draco and Harry stayed up until their eyelids were simply too heavy to bear, but Harry managed to remain awake till Draco was completely asleep before closing his eyes. It was one of the most peaceful things he’d ever seen. He wasn’t exactly sure why he thought that. Not yet, anyways.
Everyone lived. Everyone got a little bit older. The kids all went off to Hogwarts, somehow managing to stuff themselves all into one train compartment, even with Hermione once she joined. Draco and Harry got put into different houses, which was a relief to everyone around them. “they already bickered like a married couple without rooming together,” Ron said when they were first sorted, “I don’t want to think about what we’d have to deal with if they were sharing a dorm.”
The only time Harry and Draco forgot about their friendship was when they played against each other in Quidditch. There were no rules when you needed to be the first one to the snitch.
(I suppose there weren’t any rules when it came to making out with your best friend in an empty corridor after drinking half a bottle of fire whiskey, either.)
Sixth year came with sly glances and brushing fingertips in the hallway; throwing all caution to the wind and risking friendship for feelings Harry and Draco had been denying since they were kids. Ron and Hermione exchanged knowing looks, but no one said a word. Not even when Harry inconspicuously crept out of bed nearly every night at half past two with his Invisibility cloak in tow, not returning until the sun was just peeking out over the mountains, if at all. He looked happier than ever that year, secrets tugging on the corners of his mouth every time he spoke.
Everyone lived, and when Draco and Harry came out to their families their seventh year, everyone groaned. “You owe me ten Galleons,” was the first thing James said to Lucius, and Harry knew then that everything was going to be okay.
Because everyone was here, surrounding him, breathing, alive. They all hugged him and Draco at once, cheeks smooshed together, a mess of laughter and “I love you’s” and kisses on foreheads. They were all connected then, their pulses stitching them together with a bond Harry knew nothing could break.
They all knew hurt; they knew pain and suffering, and they knew loss, but most of all, they knew each other. They knew love, and they knew hope.
As they stood there, a giant amoeba of people from all walks of life, some more challenging than others, Harry let go of the breath he felt as though he had been holding for his entire life.
Also: funny, isn’t it, then when the only musical I’d ever been into was Les Miserables nobody questioned my status as a musical theatre fan. If someone has only ever listened to Les Miserables, Phantom Of The Opera and Jesus Christ Superstar, they’d never be questioned about the “reality” of their musical fan status. But for some reason, when people have only listened to newer/non “classic” musicals such as Wicked, Dear Evan Hansen, Be More Chill, Heathers, or Hamilton, no matter how many they’ve seen they’re not a “real” musical theatre fan.
Newsflash: get the hell over yourselves idiots. If you like musicals, any musicals, if you enjoy musicals and enjoy finding new musicals to listen to, you’re a musical theatre fan, whether you listen to or like the classics or not!!
Hello there! Long time, no see (my bad I know) but, here: an Alicia Zimmermann-centric piece as she goes to Parents’ Weekend during Jack’s freshmen year. [focus on Alicia, Jack, and Shitty] 6k
Somewhere, deep in her heart, Alicia Zimmermann knows she is a bad mother.
It started out as a worry, as maybe it does for all new mothers, that she will be a bad mother. That she won’t know what to do with a baby or a toddler that one day she will accidentally drop him or forget to feed him or feed him something he is actually allergic to or maybe she’ll scar him emotionally somehow and she worried but she survived his childhood okay. And then, after he was five or six, she stopped worrying about it. She thought she was doing pretty good. Jack had hockey and loved hockey and, sure, they didn’t have deep emotional talks but she didn’t exactly have any basis of comparison. Television families told her she was doing okay. No teenage boy wanted to have deep talks with his mother. And, look, if Jack didn’t talk to her all that much as he turned 12 and then 13, at least he was still talking to his father. Mostly still about hockey but she… she thought that had counted. Hockey was like French, to her. Another language she could understand but couldn’t quite speak. But Bob could. He was on top of it. Jack was taken care of.
She loved Jack. That was never the problem. The problem was that her love wasn’t enough. It didn’t matter. It didn’t alert her to any of the facts and maybe it even blinded her– She loved her son and her son loved hockey and so she loved hockey too. She loved her son and then her son seemed to love a boy named Kent and they never talked about it but she let Kent come over all the time and she figured they would discuss it at some point. She just… assumed everything was okay. Even after he was diagnosed with the anxiety disorder and given pills. It was always… well, that was a little problem but it’s handled and under control and everything is okay now.
See. Bad mother.
A good mother would have known somehow.
A good mother would have pushed and prodded or sensed it without even having to be told.
A good mother would have paid attention to how hard Jack was on himself. A good mother would have made sure her son had interests outside of hockey. A good mother would have known that Jack’s long silences after losses weren’t normal. A good mother would have preached balance and fostered friendships with different types of people and stopped the fucking hockey.
She didn’t though. Stop the hockey. No, not Alicia Zimmermann. She encouraged it. She went to the games and cheered the loudest and she even loved it a little bit because she thought it brought him joy, like his father. She bought into the vision: Jack playing hockey like Bob, the Zimmermann legacy continued throughout the ages…
God, she even used to tease Jack about how it took his father three years to win a Cup and she was sure Jack could manage it faster than his old man.
A good mother wouldn’t have done that. So, see, she’s always been a bad mother. Even now, now that she’s almost lost him, now that she’s promised to do better, now that she’s finally read all the books and online articles about anxiety and pressure and the danger of sports and hockey culture… now she’s still just as bad. Just for different reasons.
Now she is a bad mother because it’s Saturday afternoon and he’s been at Samwell for almost three months and she does not feel like mothers are supposed to feel in this moment.
She glances around. At the sea of other mothers and fathers crammed onto Samwell’s campus for Parents’ Weekend. They are not nervous. They are excited. Happy. Enthusiastic. Overjoyed to see the teenager they had left just a couple months ago again. To her right is a father almost (but not quite) breaking into a run to give his son a hug. To her left, a mother has burst into tears. Happy tears.
And then there’s her. She’s not excited to see Jack. Well, no. No, it’s not that she’s not excited. She is. She is. (She is. She repeats it once more just to remind herself). She is just…
She is nervous too. More nervous than she is excited.
hey i just wanted to say that if you’re already scraping by to make ends meet, the holidays are really hard. and that puts pressure on you and on your whole family. and if there’s one thing i hope you know it’s that you don’t need to prove you love someone by buying them something. i know we all want to get the people we care about really fancy things. but i’m okay if you get me like a smooth rock you found by the ocean. i know it’s true of other people, too. i’d rather you hand me a diy picture frame from popsicle sticks than something you had to go into debt to buy, and i think any person who’s worth their socks will tell you the same thing. and on that note? everybody loves socks, and they’re pretty cheap. yes, it’d be great if you and i stumbled on enough money to actually afford things. but love, i’ve learned, isn’t about the buying.
and on that note? for those of you out there who find the holidays a particularly dark time… i hope you know there will always be someone willing to open the door for you. even when it feels like there’s no one. even if that door is a window you have to crawl through.
and for those of us who have more than we need, i hope we open those doors. if you notice someone who is going to be alone during the holidays, or who is usually depressed but for no apparent reason seems markedly happy and is giving away their things, please invite them over. hang out with them, no matter how awkward it is. sudden cleaning and long notes about how much they love you are also signs of suicide. with recent changes in insurance, it’s increasingly harder to find mental health care, so help a friend out (and maybe even yourself!) by figuring out who still takes the insurance offered so we can all give ourselves the gift of coping mechanisms, the gift that keeps on giving.