For Better or For Worse For Better or For Worse

Some girls have Bat Mitzvahs and others have confirmation ceremonies. My coming-of-age was a bit different. I can pinpoint the exact time of my coming-of-age to 10:23 p.m., July 21, 2007. At that moment, I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I had spent a day and a night poring over the book, and as I turned that final page and finished that last sentence, realization hit me. Harry's story was over. He was an adult now, and so was I. This stunning truth placed a weight in my heart as I forced myself to close the book.

Even though I was exhausted from my long, last adventure with Harry, I could not sleep. In my mind I chronicled the epoch we had spent together. I recalled my father reading the first book aloud to me when I was in first grade, and then my mother and I going to the bookstore together to by the Goblet of Fire when I was eight. I remembered my first midnight release party, and when I finished Half-Blood Prince in a matter of hours.

For the past nine years, I had pined for and anticipated the release of the next Harry Potter book, and now there was nothing to wait for or theorize about. I had grown up with Harry. I was a child when he was a child, and though I didn't have to face deadly basilisks or bloodthirsty werewolves, we did face all of the same basic conflicts of growing up. When Harry was worried about asking a girl to a dance, I was fretting about the dress to wear to my eighth grade formal. Even though Harry had fantastic powers, he braved hormones and hurtful gossip just like ever other teenager did: without grace.

As Harry trudged through his childhood and adolescence, he made friends and suffered losses. His complete and utter normality despite of his unreal abilities was part of his appeal to me. Eventually, Harry got through his childhood. He faced his demons and he grew up. Closing Deathly Hallows was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. My life had been so intertwined with Harry's for such a long time, and closing that book felt like closing a chapter of my life. Harry and I were going our separate ways, for better or for worse.

A/N: This is for an essay contest, and it has to be fewer than 500 words, which this is. I really would appreciate some honest criticism.