It is the penultimate day of the year, and I have just returned from James and Lily Potter’s wedding.
Sirius Black, who has grown up surprisingly since graduation—but then again, it seems we all have—was Best Man, and gave a speech that I do not think I will soon forget. He was speaking to James and Lily, of course, but also to all of us in attendance: We do not know what will happen in the New Year, so take your joy where you can. Seek moments of happiness when you can. Share your love as much as you can, because love is the one thing that cannot be taken from us.
I wonder if I will ever be married. I used to assume I would; then I assumed I would not. I know you do not need a marriage to love, or to be loved—we all saw, in Sirius’s eyes, how much he loves his friends, and how much they love him in return. But I also saw something in Lily that reminded me of my own face in a mirror, when I was her age and in love with Dougal McGregor. It made me want to feel that kind of love again.
I can take heart in Sirius’s speech: we do not know what will happen in the New Year! Marriage may still be in my future. But I also know what he meant; 1979 will be a year of struggle, of resistance, of fighting for and fighting back. There will be love in everything we do, but it will not be the kind of love story that ends with a wedding.
Which is why James and Lily had their wedding now. James’ parents were in attendance; Lily’s were not. “My family doesn’t approve,” she told me. “From the day I got my Hogwarts letter, they’ve been trying to put things back the way they were.” I never knew that, and I’ve known Lily Potter since she was eleven years old.
Also not in attendance: Severus Snape. He did send a gift, though; an owl passed overhead, wings shadowing the cake, dropping a small package into Lily’s lap and then perching on the back of her chair to claim payment for the delivery. No one saw what inside the package, save Lily and James; she hid both what it was and what she felt about it. James hid nothing, made a joke about Snivellus Snape striking again, and the party went on.
So will we all go on, no matter what comes. We will fight, we will dance, we will toast, and we will love—and I will teach, the students come back from Christmas holidays in a week, and I cannot forget that to them, I must provide stability and structure. Inside these walls I hope their greatest concern is whether they can finish their assignments on time. Outside, well… as Sirius said, we do not know what may happen.