A Letter from Petunia to Snape


Severus Snape,

I know you'll think this is odd, that I should write, I, of all people, and to you. But it doesn't matter. I'm not even sure I'll send this.

I was at my sister's wedding. She probably didn't see me. I was all the way at the back, outside the reception area, actually. Nearly at the fence, behind the barbecue grill. I'd had a hard time finding the place from the address she'd penned into the invitation. I thought she was being hopelessly redundant, almost insulting, because the church name and location WAS printed on the card, but when I arrived I realized she was only being a little over- cautious. The little chapel was very small and ancient-looking, and other people seemed not to see it at all. If I hadn't been looking specifically for it because of her double-underlined addition I probably would have missed it altogether.

I hadn't planned on going to the wedding. I hate that Potter boy, and I had really wished it wouldn't work out between the two of them. But it did, and I have to admit I was sad not to be up front with Lily, crying my eyes out. When we were little girls we used to tell each other that we'd be each other's maids of honor. We'd have matching gowns and little purses and she would make sure to toss her bouquet to me, or I to her, depending on who got married first. She didn't go to my wedding two years ago; I wasn't going to hers. But in the end the invitation made me change my mind. It was the first thing Lily had written to me in years.

So there I was, and I knew immediately that it was a scene I didn't belong in. Everyone was dressed so outlandishly, and I didn't recognize a single face. So I left my gift at the table, signed my name into the ledger, and then I retreated to the back of everything to wait for that glimpse of my sister in her wedding gown. One glimpse, that was all I wanted. After that I would leave.

That was when I saw you.

I don't think you noticed me. I didn't call out, either. We haven't been friends or anything. But I was sort of glad to see a familiar face, even if it was yours. Yet it was more than your face, that was so familiar. It was your expression. You seemed as out of place as I was. I found that strange - aren't you and she the same sort of folk, wouldn't you know the same crowd she did?

Then I remembered - some years back, she'd stopped coming home with you. Stopped talking to you. Stopped mentioning you, even. I don't know why. You always used to be such a large part of her life.

Instead she started talking about that Potter. Sometimes about friends of his, especially this Black - I understand he's the best man. The next thing I know, I receive the invitation to her wedding.

And there you were, way at the back, hiding just like me. That expression on your face, something between despair and regret, something a lot like loneliness. Like you were watching my sister walk away from you entirely, into a life you cannot share, and it was breaking your heart to lose her.

I almost liked you at that moment, except that, the last I time I felt that way, nearly a decade ago, it was you my sister was walking away with.

I understand, you know, what you're going through. I know what it's like to be the center of her universe, what it's like when she's got those green eyes intent on you. She could convince the world to spin, the sun to rise and set, with the intensity of those green eyes. I knew what she could do, that she wound people around her little finger - I envied her that ability - but that didn't mean I didn't fall for it every time.

I know, too, what it's like when suddenly she decides to pour her affections on someone else. You suddenly realize that you're not the focus of her life, but she's very much the center of yours, and all of a sudden you're on unsteady ground, if not completely out at sea. You could almost hate her for that - but... well.

Did you know that I hated you? That I blamed you, for a very long time, for stealing my sister from me?

We used to be inseparable, she and I, until you came along. Then she found more similarities with you and she left me behind. For a long time it was always Severus this, Severus that. And then...

Did your world crumble too, the corners slowly disintegrating into dust? Is that why you were standing there, looking like you didn't know if you wanted to jump right in and steal the bride - or run away and hide in the furthest, deepest, darkest hole you could find?

Did you crumple her carefully-worded invitation in a tightly-clenched fist, or tear it apart imagining it to be the man holding her in his arms? Because I did. I always figured I would, but at one time I thought I'd be imagining your face. I guess that would have made you very happy, wouldn't it?

You are probably the only person in the world who loves my sister as much as I do. It's ironic we both lost her, and a pity she will never believe in our love again. I bet that, just like me, you're too proud to try to make her realize it.

We'll never be friends. But that doesn't mean I don't understand.

I won't be seeing you around, Severus Snape. Be strong. Be happy. Forget Lily. That's exactly what I'll be doing.

Good-bye.

Petunia Dursley nee Evans