A Turn For the Worse
By definition, a living creature is a thing that needs to eat, breathe, reproduce and grow. Dogs are, rocks aren't, trees are, plastic isn't. In that sense, fire is vibrantly alive. It eats, breathes, excretes, grows and moves. It eats everything from wood to flesh, excreting the waste as ash, and it breathes air just like a human. It needs oxygen to survive, and carbon dioxide is released. Fire grows, and spreads, and creates new fires that make new fires of their own. Fire drinks gasoline, excretes cinders, fights for territory and it loves and hates.
Sometimes, when you watched people trudge through their daily routines, almost lacking energy, you thought that fire was more alive than they were- brighter, hotter, more sure of itself and where it wants to go. Fire doesn't settle; fire doesn't tolerate; fire doesn't 'get by.'
Looking back on it, I suppose thats what captivated you. Fire was wild and untameable, while humans, to you, were boring and uninteresting. You were an artist, one of the best I know, and you were interested in the beautiful things. Your first painting was of a meadow in a valley, and I remember being dragged along with you, and sitting on a little hill while you painted, but I wasn't allowed to talk to you, so I just plugged in my headphones and drowned out the world in my music. You showed me your painting afterwards, and the detail was superb, minor things seemed the most significant part of the painting.
I remember sitting next to you, watching the news, and you leaned forwards, your eyes bright, when there was a story about a burning down building, your artist eyes craving the colour, seeking out the details. You told me later that you thought the fire was so beautiful and alive, and that made it entrancing to you.
It was a couple of years after your first painting that you came to me with the idea of combining all four elements into one painting. Fire, earth, water and air. You painted a tree in water, with one side of it in flames, and the other side waving in the wind. I kept that painting, afterwards it was one of my favourites, and it completely captivated you, I felt.
I remember once you found out about a group of Muggle dancers that danced with fire, and you insisted on dragging me, and cousin Roxanne along as well. It was spectacular. The way they danced was so elegant, you almost didnt worry about the risk. You took a picture of them at one point, and enlarged it, to the point that you could paint it.
That was when you took a turn for the worse, I think. You always had a box of matches on you, or a lighter. Your painting took a back seat with you, and it was a shame, because you were amazing at it Molly.
You started sneaking out at night, but never told me where you went, and I kept waking up and seeing my window open (as you had to use my window, because it was above the garage) even though I had definitely closed it the night before. You always returned about two hours later, and I remember once I saw you come back in, and your hair was ruffled and your cheeks were red and your eyes were bright. You refused to tell me anything, and shut youeself in your room for two days.
You'd stopped being chatty and amiable, and had become antisocial and recluse.
The next few weeks you got quite good at covering your tracks, and I never noticed you sneaking out. One night however, I was lying awake in my jeans when you crept through my room and opened my window. I waited five minutes and then followed you out of my window, down the street and across the river into the fields. I hung back, watching you make your way to the derelict-looking barn that stood there, and I watched as you lit a match. Within minutes, the barn was ablaze, and you were mesmerised. I stepped back, but you must have heard me, for you whipped around, and dragged me home. Standing at my window when we got back was our mother, furious. You told her that I'd snuck out and you'd gone after me, as it had happened for a while. Bars were put on my window, after that, and you stopped going out at night, as far as I knew. Two weeks later, you tried apologising, but I refused to listen, as you had just dobbed me in for seemingly no reason. I wish I'd spoken to you, as it might have stopped what happened next. I feel like it was my fault, Molly. I'd stayed up late reading a book that night, and I didn't hear you leaving the house through the front door. None of us knew you had done anything stupid until the police came knocking at our door. That was the moment I knew something was wrong, but I felt as if I was detached from my body when our world came crashing down in front of us. I hardly remember hearing what the police officer said, I just remember seeing my family break down.
You'd set a fire, and was so entranced by it, that you didn't move when the fire started to spread.
After the police, it was the Daily Prophet Reporters, having heard that one of the famous Weasley clan was dead. Rita Skeeter was there, and she insisted on interviewing us, but Dad promptly shut the door in her face. An article was soon released about how you were depressed, and had set yourself on fire as an escape from domestic abuse.
After that, we didn't function for a while. I didn't leave my room, and my mum never left her chair. My dad, who'd experienced the death of a sibling, kept moving, distracting himself, but I know he was just as upset as us, possibly even more.
He had to plan the funeral, and I remember he came to me, asking if I had any music requests. I thought about it, and I told him to play Dont Stop Me Now by Queen, as it summed you up perfectly, and it was one of your favourites.
I remember how I started to move on from your death. I'll never get over it, and I'll never truly move on, but I remember how I started to move on. My cousin Dominique visited us often, and she used to sit next to me on my bed, as I faced my wall, and she used to just talk to me. That was a little relieving because by listening to her I could almost distract myself from you, Molly. Then, two weeks after your death, Dominique must have been fed up with me just lying there, for she opened my curtains and my windows and pulled my duvet off me. She forced me to have a shower, and go outside with her, as she thought I needed to be around people before school started the following week.
The train ride up to Hogwarts was strangely quiet. For the first time in a long while all the cousins who still went to the school sat together in the same compartment. Your friends Gina and Susie joined us.
It was also odd being at school for the first term or so. I kept hearing your name everywhere, and while everyone went quiet whenever I walked into a room, all the paintings whispered to each other and offered their condolences when I walked past.
And then by Christmas, you, Molly Weasley became old news. And the thought that Molly Weasley could ever really become old news still makes me smile.
Anyway, even though everyone was silent, or whispered when I walked by, they were all strangely nice to me, including the Gryffindors, which surprised me, but then again they probably knew how close we were, given that they were your lot. It's funny I guess, but Jason Cortez came up to me soon after Christmas. I don't know if you'd remember him. He was the really cute guy in Ravenclaw that we used to crush over together. He offered me his condolences and said that he had waited for things to die down so that I didn't feel too pressured. He suggested that we went for coffee, and I soon started dating him, which Dominique was overjoyed by, because she thought I was finally living my life again.
As we were dating he noticed that my grades were nowhere near how good they used to be, and he started helping me with my homework, and my grades slowly started to improve again.
We both graduated that summer. Jason graduated with O's in his NEWTs, I graduated with O's and EE's. You should have graduated with us Molly, and got Outstanding in all of your subjects, and gone on to work in Gringotts like you wanted.
Jason got a job at the Ministry as a reporter for the Daily Prophet, and he is no Rita Skeeter, thankfully. I got a job as a Medic at St Mungo's, and I love seeing all the injuries that I can possibly see, and it amazes me to this day how stupid some people can be.
Jason and I got married about five years after Hogwarts, and we're still together, so I guess our marriage vows really meant something to us. We got married in both the Wizarding World and the Muggle world as we wanted our marriage to be as official as possible, everywhere.
There was some sort of agreement between all the rest of the cousins, because I noticed that many of them gave their first female child the middle name Molly, but none of them used it as a first name, and I guess I always knew that they'd let me name my first daughter after you, Molly.
We had two daughters and a son and Jason and I agreed to call them Molly, Erica and Stephen, all names that I know you liked.
Molly, my daughter, is nearly sixteen now Molls, and she was given prefect status when she started fifth year. She was sorted into Hufflepuff, and she looks the spitting image of you. Stephen's fourteen now, and a Ravenclaw, like Jason. He has Dad's hair, Mum's hair colour, and Jason's face, with my eyes. And then there's Erica. Sweet, yet sassy Erica. She's just turned thirteen, and was sorted into Gryffindor in her first year. She's the only Cortez who has the famous Weasley hair, and she has your nose and eyes. She has Jason's sister's face, and she has your personality, without a doubt. She'd make you proud Molly, they all would. I just wish you could see them today, I really do.
Molly, my daughter, looks like she wants to become a Wandmaker. She wants to pick Wandlore as one of her NEWTs, and she wants to do Care of Magical Creatures, Transfiguration and Potions as well. Stephen, like Jason has an interest in Journalism, and looks like he'll be finding a career working for the Daily Prophet. Erica is a Quidditch nut, Molls, and she wants to go on to be a Chaser for the Holyhead Harpies or the Tutshill Tornadoes, she's not quite sure. It's all she and Aunt Ginny ever talk about when they're together.
I guess this would be the moment when I'd say "Enough about my life, let's hear about yours" but even if I did say that, I'd never get a response, not from you Molly Weasley. It must be fitting in a way, you leaving me the same way I left you, without saying goodbye. If I could go back and change one thing about my life, it would be forgiving you about lying to Mum about sneaking out. Looking back on it though, you probably would still have walked out that night with your long brown hair and leather jacket and leggings, and it was inevitable I guess. Either way, you have to take responsibility for your actions, and I don't think you ever did, Molly.
Beautiful, reckless Molly.
You always were the Girl on Fire.
You were my sister, and I'll never have another; I'll never have another one quite like you were.
I miss you Molly Weasley