“You’ll write to us? Tell us once you’ve settled in and if you’re doing well?” It’s more of a statement than a question and it feels like they’re a normal family, like a normal doting mother to her daughter who was going off to boarding school, if she didn’t see how her mother furtively glanced around the platform and her tight grip on her purse, so tight that her knuckles turned white, looking as if she was ready to bolt out of this place any second. A formality, she felt. But little Dorcas ignores the little things and instead concentrates on the fact that her mother was here to bid her goodbye, even though her younger siblings weren’t because she didn’t think she could handle saying goodbye to them again, and nods her head and says she will.
“Take care of yourself, Dorcas.” And she opens her arms and Doe leans into her, hugs her tight, and savors the moment because it is too rare and too special not to. She resists the sudden urge to cry and tell her mother how scared she is, a little girl being thrown into a world she has no idea about except for the books she’s read, not knowing anybody in it but she keeps it all in because, ever since she’s announced her decision of going, her mother has spent more time at home with them in that month than she has the whole year.
When they break apart, she can see her mother’s eyes a bit watery and her heart is filled with hope because… maybe. “I love you, mum.” And when she just nods her head and nudges her to go after gently running her hand through her cheek one last time, she tells herself she only imagined saying it out loud and gives her mother a smile of goodbye and heads towards the train. This is for the best, she tells herself and when she turns back to have one more glance at her mother, the only familiar thing in this whole place, she only sees students hurrying with their luggage and families saying their goodbyes. She pretends she doesn’t feel her heart sink a little more.
“Witches and wizards! All aboard!”
And Dorcas Meadowes straightens her back and squares her shoulders as she smiles at the conductor and takes a step into the train that would take her to Hogwarts, because here she finally was, just another witch among many others and, scared though she was, she was ready for whatever the wizarding world had in store for her.
She just hoped her mother was finally going to be happy.