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The Habits of a Sleeping Body

By KalinaJulia

Other

***

 I

Every day when you wake up, the world is a little bit blurred. You close your eyes then, only to savor the escaping blackness from behind closed eyelids. A thick blanket covering your body makes you feel so comfortable that the prospect of revealing even a piece of bare skin to the almost-arctic cold of the room is undeniably daunting. You remain for a minute or two thinking about giving up. But then you can smell the coffee that someone has prepared in the kitchen for you and at that very moment another kind of warmth allures you and your drowsy senses.

He wakes up, too, every day, but his mornings aren't filled with caffeine scent or with sounds of deep inhales made by someone who is sleeping on the very same pillow that he lays on. He doesn't actually care about goose bumps covering his arms when he throws the covers away. He just rubs his eyes absent-mindedly to unglue eyelashes one from the other and then stares at the ceiling thinking if there's any point to waking up at all.


II

'Being thrown from the edge into the abyss of uncertainty must be exactly something like this,' Remus thinks, looking at the closed door of his school. He feels naked and exposed. There await for him all the vulture-like opinions and preconceptions of the society that he is a part of. An ill-fitting part. He leaves, slowly, heaving a deep, heavy breath.


He brushes the dirt off of his trousers and follows the crowd entering the London Underground. He clutches a handrail and he sways slightly while the train moves faster with every second. He observes how people stare dully into the dirty windows as if they were looking for some excitement behind them. Remus notices that some of the commuters seem to be lost in their hopelessly consuming routine that instilled itself in their enviably ordinary, tame bodies. He wonders then, and at the same time calls himself a lunatic, if they can somehow see that he is so much different from them all. Or maybe he isn't. Dumbledore once told him that magic is everywhere, in every single thing. The fact that these half-asleep, tired people can't change a pencil into a mouse, doesn't mean that they can't perform magic. They probably have families, they can kiss during a full moon, they can rest peacefully without somebody breaking into their minds. Surely, there is some mystery to it.

His magic forces him to change into a bloodthirsty creature every month. Who has it better now?


'It will be okay, mate,' James told him once when they were doing their homework, 'you worry too much.' Actually, James was trying to hide his crumpled parchment under the table and Moony was smiling at his friend's feeble attempts to write without slouching in a curious manner. 'How do you know that?' he asked and handed James a hardbound book as a board to write on. The other boy sighed heavily. 'Maybe because you are the smartest of us all, and besides,' he paused, 'nobody said it will be easy, but nobody said that it'll be impossible, either.'


Remus reaches a little bookstore that is his temporary workplace. He looks at his gaunt face mirrored in the glass as he is opening the door. He suddenly remembers his plans and wishes that he had while still being this hopeful, fascinated, twelve-year-old. A Hogwarts teacher, an auror, an employee in the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry. He smiles wearily. The truth is that with growing up came the realization that, unfortunately, he sticks out from the crowd of those who can sleep peacefully every night or watch the sky without any trace of hesitation. Dreaming is quixotic. His real job is keeping others from him, to protect them from harm.

He hears a couple of steps and swishing of a coat's fabric. His attention shifts to the person who disturbed his meditation. He lifts up his head and sees someone browsing the bookshelves. His eyes readjust to the red color of the garment that is almost radiating in the dimness of the shop. Red momentarily reminds him of the auburn locks of Lily Evans and of her smell that always lingered in the air. He can hear her calm voice and her comforting words spoken to him on one cruel, painful night. 'You have to put all the strength you possess to remain who you are, Remus. Don't you sometimes wonder if there is a meaning to all those unjust and awful things that happen to us? Don't you think that everything that comes our way is for a reason?' He also recalls the look in her emerald eyes, the distant but hardened look. 'Maybe-, maybe we shouldn't think about what's going to happen to us, but how we are going to make use of the time we are given.'

He thought for a minute back then that she was talking about herself. But when she embraced him, suffocatingly tight, he understood that there is no use in fighting. He is an inextricable part of the creature dwelling inside him (or the other way round) and accepting himself is his only deliverance.

He snapped to attention. The red of the coat became an illuminating imprint hanging in the air. And though the person standing between the shelves was long gone, he could still see Lily's hair there, penetrating his vision like the light absorbed by hungry eyes.


III

He felt a pang of acute longing for Lily and James' company. There is a dissonance in his world without them. And without Sirius. It's dishearteningly empty.

When they were still at school, it was scary enough for Remus to let his friends accompany him once in a month while the uncontrolled expedition with a guide blinded by primal needs lasted. It was exhilarating to feel wanted and tolerated by people whom he trusted and, most of all, needed. Nothing was as terrifying, however, as the idea that he might have feelings for somebody that sunk so deeply as his fright of hurting.

The more people that surrounded him, the more dissimilar he felt. And the less he allowed himself to feel towards someone, the less he felt guilty of inflicting his burden on that person. Every time when he felt this fluttering sensation in his stomach or when he felt the desire to be close with somebody, he run away. He wished he could lock these treacherous emotions, but he wasn't as strong and impermeable as he thought he was. Once or twice it happened that a girl smiled at him with her eyes and he caught himself being mesmerized by them so intensely that it was too hard to turn his head away. And it scared him. Scared to the bone. Friendship was one thing, but love was just like another monster to live with.


IV

He comes back home late in the evening. He turns on the radio and the dull voice of the announcer penetrates the room.

'Kierkegaard came to the conclusion once that the majority of people run after the pleasures of life so fast that, it the end, those pleasures that they were chasing for flash by in front of their eyes,' he hears the man say. He sighs and shakes his head in bitter comprehension. The discussion continues. 'But what exactly can a man do with his life when a purpose is lost somewhere in the haze of expectations? What if a man seeks for some kind of private salvation? It is definitely challenging to answer.' 'Like hell it is,' Remus thinks as he covers himself with a woolen blanket. 'The problem lies in perceiving the reality. We are restless and anxious creatures. Perhaps, if we focused on the little things that make us feel better, then it may be easier to explore those affecting us unfavorably in some way. If you think that freedom means disposing of something that is a constant burden to you then you haven't, in fact, grasped the idea of it. We should try to cross this fearsome line of hesitation to move on. Who knows what's on the other side?'

Moony gulpes and brushes his sandy-colored hair with his fingers. He stands up to turn off the appliance when he hears the last bit of the broadcast. 'When you take a step after step, be aware of every one of them. That will help you breathe freely.'


V

He wakes up next morning or rather unfinished night and thinks about how the yet-impotent sun is fighting with the starlight. A delicate smile creeps on his lips. It's time, possibly, to get his messy life together. And he listens to the almost inaudible sounds of a new day, sounds of his own, not anybody else's heart beating.

He concentrates on his breathing for a moment. To his astonishment, for the first time in his life, he is calm.


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