by Lang Leav
You and I
against a rule,
set for us by time.
A marker drawn
to show our end
etched into its line.
The briefest moment
shared with you -
on my mind.
Parvati stood on the platform hand in hand with her twin sister Padma as their parents fawned over them last minute, wishing them luck and telling them to write often. She looked out over the faces of the other people on the platform. Fretting parents, reunited friends, nervous faces. Strangers, all of them.
The final whistle began to blow. Their parents swooped down on them one more time ("Be good for Papa!" "See you soon, mere mishti!") before they were shuffled onto the train. Parvati held tight to her sister's hand as they walked down the corridor. Students stuck their heads in and out of compartments, calling to each other and laughing as they tried to find their friends. Parvati pointed at an empty one and Padma nodded. They slid in and sat next to each other, hands still joined.
They were quickly joined by a boy with sandy hair. He sat opposite them and grinned.
"Wow, ye're identical!" he exclaimed in a thickly Irish accent.
Parvati wanted to bite out some statement about how they had no idea - like they hadn't heard that their entire lives - but refrained. She and Padma weren't talking at the moment, so they just raised their brown eyes to his and gave him their best icy stare. He frowned after a moment and was about to comment when a few more students came in to the compartment.
"Oh, it's the Patils!" a girl exclaimed, beckoning someone over. "Here, let's sit with them!"
The girl entered the compartment and sat next to the Irish boy. She had a squashed face and short black hair and unfortunately the twins knew her. Her name was Pansy Parkinson and her father worked with their father, so they'd often seen each other at holiday parties. Two boys entered the compartment after her. One had dark skin and cold, slanted eyes. The other was small and skinny with mousy brown hair. The former sat next to Pansy and the latter sat next to Padma, who scooted even closer to Parvati.
"This is Blaise Zabini - " Pansy indicated the boy next to her. " - and Theodore Nott." She nodded at the boy next to Padma. "Boys, these are the Patil twins." Pansy paused. "What are you names again?"
Parvati scoffed inwardly. Pansy couldn't even be bothered to remember their first names. But instead of responding, she and Padma simply turned their heads and looked out the window.
"Oh, I see," Pansy said, rolling her eyes. "They do this thing where they stop talking for bits at a time. It's supposed to intimidate people or something." She turned to the girls and said very loudly, "Well you're not going to intimidate us!"
The Irish boy frowned at her. "They're not deaf," he said. "They're just not talkin'."
Pansy raised her eyebrows imperiously at him. "Excuse me?" she said stiffly, then leaned closer and narrowed her eyes. "I don't believe I caught your name. What was it again?"
"Erm - "
He shifted uncomfortably and looked to the twins for help. Parvati felt a pang of guilt and almost opened her mouth to tell Pansy to shut it when Padma squeezed her hand to remind her to be silent.
"Oh, I think I hear me name now," he said, getting to his feet. "Got to go, sorry."
And he was gone so quickly he left the compartment door open. Parvati felt bad for him, but at least he got to escape. A girl with long dirty blonde hair was walking in the corridor and poked her head into the compartment and looked around.
"What do you want?" Pansy snapped.
The girl went as pink as the bow in her hair. "Sorry, I - sorry." She closed the door quickly and moved on.
"Honestly, the riff raff on this train," she said with exasperation. "So, Theo, what do you think..."
Parvati tuned out Pansy's voice and looked out the window again. She thought about what Pansy said, about how the purpose of their silence was to intimidate people. She wondered if, subconsciously, that was true. It was something they had always done in times of turmoil or change. They would hold tight to each other and shut the rest of the world out. Because as long as they had each other they had all they really needed.