I think a pretty good way to gage whether an experience is life-changing is if you remember the tiniest of details surrounding that event. I've already written about what it felt like to hold that book for the first time, but there are other moments that are just as clear:
- I was really ornery during the 40-minute drive home from the Orem Barnes & Noble because Shannan was reading the family copy of the book by flashlight and I had to be responsible and drive.
- I was sitting on some drink crates at Domino's when I found out that Norbert was a girl. My manager was bitter that he didn't think to bring his copy to work with him, so he hid in the office during the slow hours while I grinned my face off in my little corner.
- I was sitting under the swamp cooler trying to stay cool when Ron came back. Bored Tyrel kept stopping by to sigh at me, completely flummoxed that I was wasting a perfectly good Sunday afternoon on that orange Harry Potter book.
- I read the last 400 pages alternating between bouncing on my bed and sitting on the floor. I had to remake my bed that night because my wide range of intense emotions caused it to combust. I cried the whole time I was putting my bed back together.
- Because when I read the last page, I felt like life as I knew it had ended. And it had.
Yeah, Harry Potter is "just" a book and a cultural phenomenon. But there isn't a day that goes by that I'm not grateful it's been part of my life.