Lily Evans, a fifth year at Hogwarts, sat by the lake on the school grounds late one Saturday morning. She had dark red hair that cascaded to her shoulders and dazzlingly green almond-shaped eyes. With her arms outstretched behind her, Lily closed her eyes and leaned her face upwards, breathing in the warm summer air.
A slight breeze blew in from the west, taking just the edge off of the early summer’s heat from the sun shining brightly in the sky.
Today was a day when most of her friends were at Hogsmeade. Lily, who didn't feel much like going this time, had told her friends that she wasn’t feeling well and would rather stay behind. Her friends immediately understood this to mean that she needed to be alone; this usually happening whenever Lily was nervous or stressed out.
Their O.W.L. examinations were over, but they had to wait until later that summer to find out their results. That anticipation in and of itself was nerve racking, but starting next year they were going to be preparing for their N.E.W.T.S. which (as their teachers loved to remind them) would play an important role in determining their futures in the wizarding world. The very contemplation of this had sent a goodly number of students into crying fits and eating binges.
But nervousness wasn’t the only thing bothering her, Lily knew, sitting up and gazing at the lake, its smooth surface reflecting the sunlight and glittering like a thousand gems.
On a day like today, when she was feeling out of sorts, she would probably have been spending it with Severus Snape (whom she called Sev). They were best friends, having met each other even before coming to Hogwarts.
But something came up that changed all that used to be between them.
Sev had chosen a path in life Lily just couldn’t condone. She realized that she had run out of excuses to make for him when he finally proved to her that he’d never change by “accidentally” calling her a mudblood.
He had chosen his path and she had chosen hers, and the friendship that had been there for years had to finally come to an end.
Her anger that originally manifested at this realization had now turned into deep regret and remorse.
If only this all hadn’t happened…
Lily got up and walked to the very edge of the lake. She took off her shoes and socks, stuffed them into her bag, and dangled her feet in the cool water.
If only Sev had listened
to her, Lily had thought over and over. How many times had she told him that he was hanging around the wrong sort? Mulciber and Avery, for crying out loud! She always knew that they would prove to be a bad influence on Sev.
Everyone in the school had always thought badly of Severus, making fun of him and thinking that he was up to his armpits in the Dark Arts. Lily was the only one to see the real
Severus Snape -- the passionate and intellectual person that she knew he was inside. If only that person hadn’t been lost, lost a little bit everyday as Sev really did
become submersed in the Dark Arts.
The breeze, which had been blowing so pleasantly, slowly died out and the air was still. Lily used her hand to shield her eyes as she looked up at the yellow sun above her. Without the breeze blowing, it seemed much hotter outside.
As Lily sighed and closed her eyes again, quite suddenly a giant tentacle arched above the sparkling water and fell down again, upsetting the water with a giant wave that soaked Lily from head to toe.
Sputtering and coughing, Lily stood up and tried to regain her composure, something that is very hard to do when you are drenched. Wringing out her robes, Lily looked out at the water and saw the ripples still moving rapidly throughout the lake.
And then she laughed.
Lily couldn’t remember the last time she had laughed so hard.
Still smiling, Lily decided that she should go up to the castle and put on some dry robes, since she had accidentally left her wand (with which she could perform a simple drying spell) lying on her bed. However, just as she was wringing out her hair, she felt something caught in it.
Freeing the unknown object, she saw what it was: a water lily.
Lily cupped the little white flower in her hands, looking out at the other lilies on the edge of the lake. All of them were still open, but the one she held in her hand was half-closed.
It wasn’t quite afternoon yet, which is when water lilies close for the day, but this one had apparently taken an early start. If only it had been open all the way
, thought Lily, starting towards the castle. And then she stopped.
If only… How many times over the past week had she said that to herself?
Lily looked down at the flower in her hands. If I keep doing that, one day I might close in on
. Lily blinked her bright green eyes. It was this -- the little, wet, half-closed flower in her hands that made her realize that she needed to look forward in life, not backwards. Many things happen in life, and mere humans, wizards and muggles alike, cannot change them no matter how
many “If only”’s there are.
Lily looked out at the lake once more, where the giant squid was still having fun splashing and agitating the water with loud splursh, splat, whoosh!
Lily, amused by the giant squid’s antics, felt a little bit better than she had earlier that morning. Placing the water lily behind her ear, she started up the castle steps in her bare feet, dripping along the way.
Hopefully Mr. Filch won’t mind the water I will be trailing through the castle
, thought Lily, grinning.