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Something Magical

Lydia Olsen
Class of 2016

(6/2016) Caroline sat on the curb in front of her driveway and threw pebbles into the street. Her bare feet splashed in the puddle of collected rainwater while she waited with as much patience as she could muster up. At three oíclock she saw the first glance of the white truck around the corner. Within moments, it pulled up to her mailbox. A quick hand opened the flap, shoving in a few letters and then quickly retreated. The truck then proceeded to the next mailbox, yards away. Within seconds, Caroline was flipping through the letters. "No, no, no," she said as she passed through a couple of bills and miscellaneous cards. She stopped at one with her name written in perfect cursive. For a moment her heart skipped a beat before she noticed the return address. It revealed that it was only a card from her grandparents.

Caroline looked up, searching for the mail truck down the street. She took off running towards it as she called out for the driver to wait. The truck slowed down and came to a stop. A woman with thick-rimmed glasses and hair in a bun leaned out the window. "Oh, uh, hi," Caroline said while trying to catch her breath, "I, uh, have been waiting for a letter and I just wanted to make sure that you didnít forget to put anything into our mailbox today." The woman looked over the top of her glasses sternly. "Are you saying you donít think I did my job properly?" the driver said with an attitude, "Iíll have you know that Iíve been doing this for longer than youíve been alive."

Carolineís face turned red as she apologized, "Iím sorry. I didnít intend to be rude, itís just, uh, itís my birthday and Iíve been expecting something else." The driver flipped through the letters in the bin beside her, "Nothing else for the last name Potter," she said. "Oh, okay, thanks," Caroline replied with great despair. She somberly walked back to her house, contemplating what could have gone wrong.

Caroline thought back to the third grade where she remembers making a family tree. She sat down with her mom and dad for hours and went over the information they knew about the generations before them. They displayed it all on a big white poster board with a tree outlined straight through the middle. Each person from her family received a leaf. Caroline was able to easily identify each, individual placed closer to the leaf of her and her sister. It was further up the tree that Caroline began to write names of individuals that she had never even met. One of the most puzzling family members to her was a great-great uncle on her fatherís side. Her father didnít really talk about him much but had mentioned, in passing, that he had taught him a few things back when they were both younger. Her great-great uncleís name was Harry and the mysterious elements about him fascinated Caroline.

Caroline always knew that there was something special about her. She had gifts that no one else seemed to have. She always caught the clock just as the numbers changed, she never needed caller ID to guess who was calling, and she luckily always seemed to sneak behind an invisibility cloak whenever her teacher needed someone to read out loud in front of the class. More events made her question her powers. Once in fourth grade she was sure she gave Logan Caulfield poison ivy, just by thinking it, after he had picked on Caroline and her friends. It wasnít confirmed that it was because of Caroline, since he had just returned from a Boy Scout camping trip, but it seemed like she had some influence on the situation.

When Caroline learned that she had a great-great uncle named Harry, everything started to finally make sense. Clearly she had to be related to Harry Potter himself. "I mean, how many Harry Potters in the world could there possibly be?!," Caroline thought to herself. That year for Christmas, her parents bought her all of the novels within the Harry Potter series. Caroline read them closely and carefully, interpreting them more as fact than as make-believe. She realized that the magical blood didnít necessarily get passed down from each ancestor. It was tricky like that. It sort of did what it wanted. Unfortunately for her parents, they were not lucky enough to have obtained any magical abilities. However, Caroline realized that she still had time before she had the same fate. She was only twelve years old.

On the morning of her thirteenth birthday, she woke filled with excitement. She looked out her window and eagerly searched for an owl. Her front yard was covered with robins and cardinals searching for worms, but she didnít see or sense any owls. She shrugged her shoulders, knowing that the day was still young and that sometimes they werenít the brightest birds.

Her day continued on. She went out to lunch with her family to the local hamburger place. They got cookies and cream milkshakes afterwards and she opened a bunch of presents with bunches of tissue paper all shoved in brightly colored bags . But the whole time, Caroline was wondering what was going on at home and if her owl had forgotten about her. She worried that maybe she had been wrong about her abilities and that maybe her great-great uncle, named Harry, was just a man named Harry and not the legend she hoped he was.

When Caroline returned to her front porch after chasing down the mail truck, she had almost given up all hope. She knew, like everyone else, that witches and wizards receive their letters from Hogwarts on the day of their thirteenth birthday. So why hadnít Carolineís come yet? Was it possible that she had been wrong this whole time? Maybe there wasnít anything special about her. Caroline sat in the rocking chair on her front porch and rocked slowly with her head in her hands. After a few minutes, her father came out to get her for dinner. He knelt down beside her. "Donít get discouraged," he said patiently with a soft smile. Luckily, her father always seemed to understand.

Caroline sat at the table while her family tried their hardest to have her engage in conversation. She opened the boxes of gifts she had received and tried to act excited to play with them. Caroline went to bed early that night. She grabbed her flashlight and her favorite book of the Harry Potter novels and sat underneath her covers reading.

After Caroline had fallen asleep her parents came in to kiss her goodnight. "I thought you said that her letter would come today. Isnít that how it works?" Carolineís mother whispered to her husband. "I thought it would come today too, but maybe something went wrong. You never know how reliable those owls are," Carolineís father replied as he flipped his wrist to turn out the lights.

Sometime later in the night Caroline awoke to a loud crash at her window. She was shaken and immediately became frightened. She kept her head under the covers for another minute before she took a deep breath and removed them. She tiptoed to the window and reached for the string to pull up the blinds very slowly. Caroline looked out from her window for what had caused the noise but didnít see anything that seemed abnormal. She turned and headed back towards her bed when she heard tapping at her window. Caroline quickly ran back to the window and peered out through the glass and screen. It was dark outside but the moon helped to illuminate her entire yard. Sitting ever so peacefully on the nearby tree was a snow-white owl. It glanced over at her with bulging eyes. Carolineís heart nearly stopped. Could that be a letter that itís holding in its beak?

Read other articles by Lydia Olsen