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"I Have a Secret"
(Why moving on is hard for some)
by: Rachel Barrett
Nestled deep in the pages of The Deathly Hallows lays a bookmark. If you were to see it, it would strike you as completely unremarkable. You would open the book and watch it fall to your feet, and probably not notice that it has spent years manning its post just a few pages shy of the concluding script. It's position is inconspicuous, but deliberate and accusing.
I never finished reading Harry Potter.
Even whilst typing I check over my shoulder to make sure I'm alone. I stare suspiciously into the corner, convinced I see a shoe revealed by a swaying invisibility cloak. I pray the smiling subjects in the photo on my desk can't read. It is this committed submersion into another world that prevented me from acknowledging its end.
For me, ending the book was like ending a chapter of my life. I found this difficult not just because I love the books, but because their influence has had a dramatic effect on who I am and what I do. Like hundreds, maybe thousands of 11-year olds across the country, I waited for my letter informing me of my secret yet oh-so obvious magical status, and when it didn't come I assumed there must have been a mistake. A lost owl, maybe? I was completely convinced that this secret world existed, and although the complexity of this power was lost on me as a child, I now understand how precious it is.
Harry Potter taught me to suspend disbelief, and eventually to acknowledge the limitlessness of my own imagination. To me there is no greater gift than being able to unquestionably and wholeheartedly lose yourself in fantasy, it keeps the forgotten corners of your imagination alive, and that has helped me achieve so much. I know that without these important lessons throughout my childhood, I never would have nurtured my creativity, and my life would look a lot different.
Even in my adult life, Harry is helping me out. After graduating University I landed an interview for my dream job as an Events Manager. Knowing that my future depended on this interview, my hands were shaking as I opened the preparation pack - a task to be prepared and presented in the meeting. I slid the paper out of the envelope and read the words, "You must create a proposal for a Harry Potter film Premiere." See, magic exists.
I know my ignorance of the final Potter chapter will be perplexing to most, but they must understand that it is not done out of laziness or disappointment, but because with every turning of the page I felt like I was going to lose a part of me. I didn't want to say goodbye to the girl who spent her nights in castles and dungeons, who fought alongside the brave and valiant. So she has stayed, and now she has to go and feed her Hippogriff.
Read the other Finalists here: Finalist 1 | Finalist 3 | Finalist 4 | Finalist 5
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