Secure in the knowledge of my own geeky-ness, I walked to my car, head held high. Perched atop my head was a pointed black hat, which was threatening to fly off in the breeze.
My shoes were making a terrible racket on the concrete that forms the interior walkway of our apartments, and my husband was asking me questions in a vain attempt to cover the noise.
Two of our neighbors saw us in the parking lot, and we nodded as we walked past.
I could feel their smirks burning into the back of my head.
I reached the relative safety of the car, and hopped into the drivers seat.
Keeping busy is the key to avoiding embarrassment.
The looks followed us as we drove to the bookstore, although the closer we got, the looks became more appreciative.
My sister met us at the doors, and I handed her a plastic wand and her own hat.
She would be a third-year now. A Ravenclaw, most likely.
She took us to the food court and found the table that her friend’s mother was using as a home base. One of our group stayed at the table to watch the paraphernalia as it accumulated while the others were out accumulating.
My sister and I headed off to find the guy that was selling “Butterbeer.” It is something she always wanted to try, so we bought some. It turned out to be butterscotch syrup in Ginger Ale. It was so sweet, we could hardly finish it.
We found the area where a person that was trying to pass himself off as one of the Weasley’s was asking trivia questions. If you got the question right, you won a tiny bag of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans. We quickly determined the flavors were limited to “Grass,” “Dirt,” and “Sardines” and decided to skip the prize.
We had three hours until the book was released, and we were trying to figure out what to do, when the costume contest started.
The girl dressed like Dobby won the kids contest, despite my sister’s costume: “Hogwarts Student of Undetermined Age and House.”
A woman dressed like Trelawney won the adults contest. I didn’t enter partly because I didn’t want to, but also because I didn’t see where the sign up was until it was already underway.
After the contest, a group from the Medeival Village outside of town came and re-enacted some kind of battle using swords and long metal finger extensions. Unfortunately, only the people in the front row could hear any of them, and the rest of us quickly lost interest. We explored other areas of the bookstore.
One of the private rooms near the food court was occupied by a palm reader. My sister and I were both told that we have very long heart and life lines. However, our head lines do not connect to our life lines. The palm reader said this means we are tempermental. Given that we had known the woman socially for ten or more years, I’m almost positive she made that up.
For the last hour, a magician took the stage. He had the good sense to use a microphone so we could all hear him, and he proceeded to dazzle the audience with several illusions. Toward the end, he held up a book - the very book we were waiting for! He cautioned not to skip to the end and demonstrated the dire consequences if his advice went unheeded – snakes on springs jumped out when he opened the back cover. He admonished not to think you got away clean if you survive the snakes. He re-opened the back of the book and a small fireball erupted!
He then led a countdown to the release, and as we stood in line, we all counted down to midnight. “3….2….1….” My husband and I shouted “Happy New Year” trying to be funny, while cheers and shouts erupted throughout the store.
Finally, the wait was over, and the line went very quickly. Soon, we were left with the dilemma of reading it as soon as we got home, or in the morning.
My sister stayed overnight with her friends, who attempted to read the book, but ended up falling asleep.
I decided the best course of action was to get some sleep and have fresh eyes for the book in the morning.
Saturday morning, I got my husband off to work, finished a few chores, and settled down to read. I cried several times, laughed several times. I took a short break to make dinner before my husband came home. Then I laughed and cried some more. When the book was done, I immediately wanted to start it again.
Instead I went to bed and had dreams strong-willed girls, half-giants, redeemed villains, and the boy who lived.