Friday, July 15, 2011
Coach Taylor parked outside Hagrid's hut. Cars weren't allowed on the grounds but it was 3am and Julie just called him on the cell phone he bought her for Christmas. She sounded drunk.
He looked out through his windshield at the hut. He watched the candle light illuminate their silhouettes. There was his little girl. And the wall that moves was Hagrid. What were they doing in there? He kicked in his seat. Thank goodness the car was in park or he would've accelerated right through the wall. The candlelight was moving toward the front door of the hut. It swung open and there she was, Julie Taylor, sweeping her blonde hair over her ear and Hagrid behind her adjusting his pants and leaning down to kiss her goodnight but his eyes drifted and caught Coach Taylor. He jolted up and readjusted his clothing again. As quick as lightning Coach was out of his car and walking toward Julie. He grabbed her hard on the arm and moved her aside. He was staring at the mountain now. Hagrid's beard was at his nose. It had bits of food stuck in it and stunk of pumpkin juice. Coach lifted his finger at the beast's round droopy nose and couldn't say a word. He was embarrassed. Frustrated, even. The idea that his girl was with this thing that was more oaf than man was more than he could respond to.
"Julie, get in the car," he said as he himself backed toward it.
"Eric," Hagrid started.
Sharp as an eagle, Coach turned back to Hagrid and his breath formed only enough sound to warn "don't you dare."
In the car there was only quiet. Julie could think of things to say but her thoughts would only culminate in her rolling her lips into a seal. She had called her father and she had gotten him. The light in the hut was snuffed and like a spell had been lifted, Coach was again able to speak.
"I can't have you seeing him."
"He used to be a teacher here and then he wasn't. I don't trust him and he's too old for you. That's it. It's not a discussion."
The drive back to the castle was long. Even the creature in the lake didn't stir.
In the morning, Julie was upset but she understood her father's anger. She learned a lot about Hagrid that night and though at the time she wasn't ready to admit it, she knew that no good was going to come from it. Coach had told Tami and they decided that it'd be best to let Julie be for now.
As the afternoon's rain coated the castle, Coach Taylor spread out his fingers searching for the Texan sun. He was not himself here. He couldn't help but think about Julie. Tami was busy teaching Muggle Studies and Gracie Bell was exceeding expectations in all her day care activities. Mrs. Flupplebupple went as far to predict that Gracie Bell may well be a witch. To this Coach Taylor pasted on a smile as he lifted Gracie Bell from under the arms and took her away.
"Thank you, Mrs. Flupplebupple but Gracie's going to work with me today..." he said insincerely.
But Gracie Bell was more than he could handle, making glass walls disappear without warning, and she was back in day care by the end of the day.
The rain smacked him on the face as his thoughts went back to Julie.
She was exiting Trelawney's class which she enjoyed sitting in on. Late one night after bonding over ping-pong Julie felt like she could tell him anything and admitted that she went to the class to get a sense of her future. Coach didn't know how to respond to this and said nothing. Julie always thought of that night and how dismissive he was to her thoughts. Only Coach knew that it was that moment he first understood that Julie has lived through a past that could only make one question what's next to come. He loved her for that but that night holds a place in her heart as the one where she felt more alone and distant from her father than ever.
"Come here," he said to her as he sat on the stone wall of the courtyard in front of the giant clock. She sat next to him and again was a child, kicking her feet over the edge. From a paper bag he took out a milkshake in a wax paper cup.
"What is that?" she said, knowing the answer.
"Fresh from the Alamo Freeze," he added as he sipped from the straw.
"Mmm, this one's yours," he said tasting as he handed it to her. And then he took his out from the same bag.
"But how?" She pushed, knowing her father was no fan of magic.
Just then three Snowy Owls flew out from the Owlry.
"Ain't they somethin'?" he said rhetorically.
Julie nudged her father and the Whomping Willow shook off its snowy branches.