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The Certainty of Sand

Written for omniocular's Anywhere But Here challenge.
Locations: Tulum, Mexico & Mount Fuji, Japan.
This is a multi-media fic, in some ways. A collage.
Characters: Ginny Weasley (George Weasley, Molly Weasley, Arthur Weasley)
Disclaimer: the characters and concepts are based on work belonging to J.K. Rowling. I am making no money from this.


Ginny was brought up in a home brimming over with sunshine magic. Both parents were well gifted. Each child had talents of his or her own. Her mother used magic to slice the daisies onions and green peppers, to peel the potatoes and later to mash them, to carve the meat, to add the zest. Her father used magic to fetch his slippers, to change Ginny’s diapers, to go to work, to come back home. Magic was no more important than butter any given daily task or game. It was simply a mellow tool – a flashlight, a toothbrush, a matchbox, a plaything – but in the same way it was too important for any of them to imagine lacking it, like a pair of opposable thumbs.

She applies. They accept. She quits her secretary job – the one that she got right out of Hogwarts – and starts the next Monday. A month later she is a favoured employee – sharp as a fishhook, hardworking. Opportunities come up for people like that. Especially now.
It all happens more quickly than a sloth falls to sleep. Her mother’s strong arms enveloping her, the warmth of her chest and the scent of her hair. ‘I’m so proud of you Ginny. Have a wonderful time.’ GideonHer father clutching her clumsily; GeorgeFred patting her on the shoulders so enthusiastically that she stumbled;Fabian Percy’s dignified handshake; Ron muttering and hugging her around the neck; and Bill far away,Charlie finding treasure.
Waiting in the spacious grey muggle airport she only thought longingly of the portkey terminals that hadn’t been in business since the war. She was disembarking from the airplane into the humid weight of the Mexican air before she realized she was an adult. Her first ‘business trip’.

When she arrives in Tulum it is deep evening, red starry and warm to the bone. She and her colleagues go out to a ‘cantina’ – Una Bebida Para Mañana. They sit on a patio bordered by stout, poured-concrete fencing, and drink cool golden beer – Sol, Corona, Dos Equis –admiring the languid sway of the palm trees, the exoticity of the angular plant life, and the lilting Spanish-mayan chatter. All that Ginny can think about is the pallid stretch of sand that she glimpsed from the jeep through wind-tears.

Later Ginny will spirit herself away and sleep before the surf beneath a simple cotton-blend sheet borrowed from the hotel. She will wake in the morning and some of the beach will come away with her.

Bent over, wand before her, measuring the angle of El Castillo’s shadow. Noon. She
From then on: sand in her hair. she runs her nails across her scalp and feels the rough,
records the time. Her shirt sticking to her back. Quill unwieldy in her sweaty hand. Ink
calculous texture there like an extra layer of skin. she shakes her head and it falls from
drops on her freckled knee. A spell protecting her skin from the sun – her skin is so
her red locks like appalling dandruff. sand in the sheets, on her pillows, for all the maid
clammy. When she sees the blueness she knows something has gone wrong. She feels no fear,
changes the bedclothes each day. she wakes with odd grains stuck to her shoulders and
only anger. Memories rise like bile in her throat. Magic can do.
cheeks, leaving tiny pink dents after they’ve been brushed away. when she eats she bites
The hospital was a building like most of the others: simple, cement. The walls were white,
into the grit of sand between her teeth. She knows that there is sand between her legs,
with shabby greyness in the corners. She was tended to, released. ‘Error Mágico:pequeño’.
tangled in her private curls, clinging to her flesh – she feels violated, saturated.
But she is left angry. Angry at magic.

In Cancun again, shivering in the air-conditioned muggle airport. She is browsing the English paper-back racks, occasionally glancing up at departure times. Her Absence, This WandererShe doesn’t know where she is going but, she reflects, since the end of the war, that doesn’t make it different from any other day. For Those Whom God Has Blessed with FingersYes, she works frequently, she sees her friends, she has dinner with her brothers every Friday, she helps Fleur with the baby, she writes letters to the editor of the prophet when she’s so inclined. An Introduction to HaikuBut since the end of the war life has been alarmingly devoid of direction. Haiku…The unfamiliar word draws her attention back. What or who could Haiku be? A famous singer? A sport? Ginny pulls the book from its metal restraints and opens it to an early page.

…Like most Japanese poetry forms, without rules the haiku would collapse, his eyes are merely a collection of nouns and verbs, or simplistic word-strings at best. The main, unchanging characteristic of the haiku is its lack of analysis. It focuses strictly as green as a fresh on physical reality, and further meaning is derived by the reader alone…

Ginny buys it, and also purchases a ticket to Tokyo, Japan for the next day – though it is not a direct flight. She is lucky to be able to afford the ticket: many variables have whittled down the price – connecting flights, no meals, no movies, etc. She is unaware of all this.

Her knees touch the seat in front of her. She thinks stubbornly of everything but portkeys.
She is already on her second reading of An Introduction to Haiku.

…The rules of the Haiku place great restriction on the length of the poem. Many English writers pickled toad,who ignore old-fashioned specifications - such as required use of a seasonal word – regard the haiku as simply the art of writing with few words. The embraced structure for the so-called standard haiku is: three lines of seventeenhis hair syllables, distributed as five-seven-five. However, this is not always adhered to . . .

At one particularly long stop-over, taking a break from haiku, she picks up a TravelJapan brochure.
She reads and rereads the brochure until the folds become worn: at Hogwarts they do not have Geography, History or Geology; Ginny never took muggle studies; and there are no volcanoes in Britain – not today anyway.
In Tokyo’s airport, 7:30AM, she picks up a sight-seeing map. in a restaurant She visits one shrine – the Asakusa Shrine - and wanders dazedly, the architecture so alien to her: pillars, complexities, corners of the roofing reminding Ginny of her own upturned nose. She borrows muggle paper counting syllables from an american she sees writing in a notebook. It has blue lines across it, ("to write on?"). For a while she simply drifts through the city, walking aimlessly, peering into store windows, occasionally stopping to eat. She is shocked by the contrast between Japan’s starkly simple art and its abrasive, frenzied popular culture. on greasy fingersIn the afternoon she naps in a cheap hotel. She is working towards her final destination: Mount Fuji. Everything else just passes by her, slips through her. Sometimes she can see the mountain’s silhouette in the distance.

ginny takes the sleekwhite shinkansen ‘bullet train’ from osaka to the shin-fuji station, for the first

time tense on the lonesome journey – wrong time wrong station wrong side wrong seat wrong hair wrong

eyes wrong language. she feigns ease, An Introduction to Haiku open on her knee.

… The use of metaphor is haiku is often condemned. This is unwarranted. Comparison is as dark as is integral to haiku – but it takes on a slightly different form from what the western world is accustomed to. In haiku, two compared images are placed beside one another, and can be perceived a blackboardas a part of the same scene. A reader must look closely to realize that they are being compared at all . . .

she catches a bus up to the fujinomiya 5th station and begins her trek up the trail.

11:45PM by the precise Japanese clocks.

She planned to ascend the great volcano before dawn, to witness the sun rise. Dawn was at four-thirty, and she would hike through the night. She thought she would find herself solitary in the chill dark, but she was far from alone. All around her: climbers – both Japanese people and tourists – emerging from stations of various heights, she gasps as her lungs talking in hoarse morning voices, drinking from thermoses and flasks, eating energy bars, the whites of their eyes and teeth flashing as they hiked ever higher. Somewhere between the 5th station fumble with the thinner air and the summit she pauses, dizzy, and wretches by the side of the path, from her throat coughing chunks of shashimi, domburimono, tatsutaage. Someone asks her if she’s okay, and she rights herself. Saying yes. Kindly he sells her a bottle of oxygen that he bought previously. unable to grasp
At last she reaches the mountain’s height, where everyone is still, waiting for the sunrise.

This is the highest point in all of Japan, a single volcano, now dormant.
The sunbeams reach tentatively across the grand, undulating breadth of the land, the winding hills and waters. She expected to feel wonder, freedom, elation, inspiration, glory, accomplishment, appreciation, fear, weariness.
And Ginny feels a dreadful homesickness.

On the flight home, Ginny looks down to the ocean below her window, and sees a tiny dimple in the water – a boat perhaps? She yearns to tell her father about all that she has seen.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 20th, 2006 06:11 pm (UTC)
I've really been charmed by this, the nostalgic, melancholic feeling and the silence permating the whole thing. The way you wove poetry into this and made it fit is just amazing, and the sand part is both chilling and beautiful.

Ah, your italics are just so unverably gorgeous!! Loved the whole thing :)

And I must admit I clicked since I saw Mexico in the header, and well, a bit of patriotic pride is sometimes useful!
Feb. 20th, 2006 06:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for your feedback. I was nervous about this peice: departure from a sparser style is a bit of a risk for me.

Mexico is actually a country I've visited (I live in Canada myself) - it's very beautiful, and I hope to go back again.
Feb. 21st, 2006 05:44 pm (UTC)
I loved this. Bravo!
Feb. 21st, 2006 05:55 pm (UTC)
Feb. 22nd, 2006 06:11 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand it, but I'm a hundred perecent sure I like it.
Feb. 22nd, 2006 06:17 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm glad you like it, at any rate. I'm sure you understand it more than you think you do.
Mar. 8th, 2006 02:30 pm (UTC)
I have travelled like this. Heartbroken, numb, lost. Learning to see and feel again.
You say so much with what you don't say.
Maybe I'm just too used to the conventional, but I found this outstanding!
And dammit, you made me cry.
Mar. 8th, 2006 02:34 pm (UTC)
I glad that you found my work moving.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


Aolani Spylaris

abt. here

Harry Potter fanfiction is what I do here, but occassionally I might do something visual or multimedia.

If you believe you know my RL identity, please be discreet. I explore some sensitive issues here, and only your kindness and my anonymity makes that honesty possible.