Kayenta won a college scholarship on the strength of this compelling tribute to the story-telling artistry of JK Rowling, and in so doing, illustrated the refreshing and touching appeal of her own artistry. I hope to see much more of her writing!
You are known to millions of readers, millions of eyes, millions of fingers reverently turning the pages of your magnum opus. You are spoken of; praised; adored – in every corner of the Earth.
And yet – you have always been mine.
Yours were the words tickling and shivering in my eardrums; you in the scent of fresh paper and fresh ink that I closed my eyes to breathe; I laid cautious palms flush with your hardback spine; I tripped clumsy-footed through labyrinthine bookshops in search of you. Yours was the mind superimposed upon my own for the better part of nine years. Yours were the hands that reached for mine through the pages and led me to the path of literature that now, nine years further on, I still tread.
From my earliest reading days, I remember Harry Potter. The bedtime ritual of a few delicious pages intoned before I was left, clutching my blankets in small, sweaty fists, to imagine just what my best friends were getting up to without me – so close, just behind those damned slips of parchment. Hermione was my idol; Harry my first crush; Ron the antidote to my dull Muggle life. They guarded me against the Dementors under my bed and in my closet; taught me spells alongside my spelling; imbued my lovingly crafted Lego creations with breath and soul.
In first grade, weary of the never-enough doses of magic jealously rationed, I took matters into my own hands and wrested The Order of the Phoenix from the dozing clutches of my mother at bedtime. Cradling the book that weighed perhaps a quarter of my own small bodyweight, I remember the furtive lamplight and feigned sleeps when my parents would check in on me, a corner of this navy-silver Bible of mine digging into my stomach beneath my sheets.
Hogwarts didn’t leave me when I left home to move across the globe; I threw a tantrum on the day of The Half-Blood Prince’s release to coerce my parents into driving miles out of the way to a backwoods Walmart. I scudded with high winds across a sea of linoleum and dust-bunnies in my white socks and sneakers; my quest in search of the Holy Grail lead me to a container-sized bin of the green-and-purple swirl that was to consume me for the next two and one-half days. I emerged teary but with my passion for Potter re-kindled.
The last book was black and gold; its jacket flimsy and ethereal. When I turned that final page, I felt an indescribable falling away, a finality, as though my existence too had turned over a sheaf.
If I had been able to collect those tears as did Snape, perhaps I could have shown you these fragmented recollections in a Pensieve; share with you the incredibly personal space in my life that you held, and will perhaps never know. But for your ever-present guidance, I could not thank you in any other way than to solemnly swear that I, still and forevermore, am up to no good.