The snow was falling softly around us, giving the air a magical feel to it. It was a few days before Christmas, and the snow laid thick on the ground.
I chased my little sister around our front yard, tossing snowballs at her retreating figure. She suddenly spun around and a slushy snowball hit me straight across the face. I fell back in surprise.
"Oomph," I cried whilst breaking my fall.
Lily rushed towards me. "Tuney, are you alright? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hit you in the face; I just turned around and.. it was reflex…," she was rambling.
I opened my mouth, about to make a snippy retort, but decided against it. After all, this day was too beautiful to ruin with negative feelings towards Lily.
"I'm fine," I cut her mid-sentence. "You can't help it that you're a bad aimer."
We both laughed at the irony to that.
"Come on," Lily said, offering me her hand. "Let's make a snowman!"
I took her hand and helped myself up. We continued to play in the snow until darkness fell, when our mother told us to come inside and wash up in time for dinner.
Christmas came pretty quickly.
It was tradition for the Evans family to have dinner together every year on Christmas night.
The guests had started coming since mid-morning. Aunts, uncles, cousins; all gathered at our house. The children played together and showed off each' presents while the adults caught up with each other.
Lily was wearing the new sweater Aunt Dana got her. I glanced at the mantel of our fireplace where she'd kept the snow globe I gave her, well out of reach of the other children; in fear that they might break it on accident, she'd reasoned.
I absent-mindedly reached beneath my thick clothing for the locket Lily had presented me. It was in the shape of a golden heart. Very simple, yet if you opened the clasp, you can see why it meant so much to me. There was a photo of us both, smiling widely at the camera. I felt a pang at how beautiful Lily looked, with her flaring red hair and piercing green eyes. I looked plain beside her. Next to the picture, engraved, was the writing:
I remembered how I felt when I received that gift that morning. My eyes had watered; I was touched at how Lily felt about our relationship, considering the many times I've said mean things to her.
Don't get me wrong, I loved my sister dearly, but I was jealous of her. Very, very jealous. She had everything I'd ever wanted and more. She even got that weird, loner Snape boy drooling over her! Snape! He doesn't admire anyone, but he admires her! Not that I envy her for him. I shuddered at that thought. He gave me the creeps. I won't allow someone disheveled like him get anywhere near Lily. Anyway; still, she had someone – well not only someone, but you get my point – who adored her. No boy would even spare me a second glance.
Before we knew it, we were called for diner. Everyone settled in around the long, mahogany dining table. I took my place between Lily and my mother. Food was passed around, and cheery chatter filled the room.
As usual, my parents bragged about how well Lily had been doing in school. I just looked down on my plate and picked at my food as they did so; barely mentioning anything about me.
"Lily, your English grades are amazing!" Aunt Margie cried.
Lily blushed, and to my surprise she replied, "Thank you Aunt Margie. But it was really thanks to Tuney. She taught me a lot of things."
Uncle John turned towards me, "Is that true Petunia? How nice," he praised, smiling at me.
My head snapped up and I blushed even deeper than Lily had. "Um… I merely helped her out with one or two essays, that's all."
"Oh Petunia, you are too modest!" Aunt Nancy said.
"Yes she is," Lily laughed. "I'm so lucky to have a sister like her," Lily added, and I could tell by looking at her eyes, she was being sincere.
But actually, the truth was, I was the one who was lucky to have a sister like her.
That conversation soon passed and the adults started on a topic on politics, which of course none of us children really understood.
I turned to Lily to find her beaming at me. She took my hand and squeezed it. I gave her a small smile in return.
The next morning I went out to check the mail. I ducked my head and pulled my coat tighter against the raging wind. The wind was blowing really hard for such an early time of the day. There must be a storm coming up.
I managed to reach the mailbox and collected the mail when a particularly small envelope flew away. I sighed in frustration. I started to go look for it when suddenly a boy stopped me in my tracks. As he stood there before me all of a sudden, I did a double take in surprise. Where did he come from? Oh well, the condition didn't allow me to see too clearly, I guess.
He handed me the stray envelope.
"Thank you," I stuttered. Surprise after surprise; my mind was barely coping with all that!
He was dressed in a blue woolen cap and a matching navy blue jumper. The way he held himself made me certain that he was from no lowly family.
He extended his hand towards me, "I'm Vernon." I took it and replied, "Petunia."
Later on, that day became one of the most important days in my life.