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The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness.

Fyodor Dostoevsky
On January 27, 1980, Maggie Cook gave birth at quarter of two in the morning. Ten months prior she completed the last of her university exams and adjusted her focus toward a career and, better yet, complete independence. In other words, she was latching onto the last dreams which her education hadn’t been able to shatter. She rented an inexpensive flat near the heart of London and attended all the parties she caught wind of. Maggie had, after all, been an exceptional student throughout her life, the cost of which had been her ever enjoying a social life that permitted youthful partying. She now could relish the recklessness she felt while putting away a drink in a room of blasting music, playfully answering the advances of attractive men and devilishly avoiding the lonely beasts. It was in one of these parties that Maggie met, slept with, and almost forgot about the heavily accented and broody Mishenka Savin.

Aborting the child had crossed Maggie’s mind while as she floated hopelessly through her life for a month. She thought about it while she did her laundry in the launderette. She thought about it while eating alone in some drab restaurant. She thought about it while shredding her scanty club clothes with scissors, while walking past a display of newborn clothes in a storefront, and in the last minutes prior to picking up the phone and sobbing a confession to her mother on the other line. She never thought of it again once she stepped into her parents’ house, but she continued to resent the child as her size doubled each time she peaked at herself in a mirror.

When Rolan was born following a ten-hour delivery a consensus was achieved among Maggie's mother, the doctor, and the nurses on staff that he was truly the ugliest child any of them had ever seen. Maggie burst into tears as the nurse dropped the blotchy wailer into her arms, and no one mistook them for tears of happiness. Once released from the hospital she exercised vigorously to remove any trace of the pregnancy weight, found a part-time job to compliment her schedule as a new mother, and slowly fell in love with her child.

Wesley Boyd jogged around a street corner one day in 1983 and found himself face to face with mother and child. He was jogging back to his hotel; she was juggling Rolan and a bag of groceries while returning to her new flat in a quiet section of the city. They had known one another well enough at university that they might have said “Hello” in passing or shared a meal in order to not be lonely, but he was a year ahead and she always her eye on some book. Maggie would learn that he was now a junior executive at a media consulting firm in Marseille in their subsequent dates. A year following their fateful meeting they were married, Rolan was adopted, and they all were bound for France.

Mishenka Savin had been an exceedingly handsome man yet Maggie took to stressing herself over the absence of her own features in her child. Wesley would point out he had her smile, but, as Maggie would note in time, Rolan smiled little during his childhood. As Rolan grew he appeared awkward and seemed to be incessantly clumsy due to his unnatural height. These deficiencies were noted by his peers, and as only child brutality can do, Rolan found himself rejected nearly as soon as he met someone. Only when his body had balanced its features would the social barriers collapse, and fortunately this occurred by his tenth birthday. The year later his life made an unexpected turn.

The letter from Beauxbatons Academy of Magic explained that Rolan was gifted with the rare abilities of magic. Despite the initial absurdity of the letter, Wesley and Maggie, with the help of four more letters, considered the possibility of magic. It was true, when one thought of it, that children who bullied Rolan fell victim to falls and accidents leaving them in casts and stitches. Neither Wesley nor Maggie knew of such magic in their bloodlines, though suspicion gew that Rolan had acquired more than his father's appearance. In 1991, Rolan left home and began a new life at Beauxbatons.

Rolan merged effortlessly among the first-generation wizards and witches, half-bloods, and pure-bloods assembled at Beauxbatons. He formed an immediate attachment with the wizarding sport of Quidditch, his height allowing him to excell in the position of keeper. Quidditich did not, however, distract Rolan from his drive to excell in the classroom, Maggie had succeeded in impressing the importance of an education on Rolan.

Simply put, Rolan thrived during the next five years at Beauxbatons, but Wesley and Maggie were less content. They were unsuccessful at having a child of their own, Maggie moved unsatisfactorily from job to job, and Wesley was offered a board position at the firm's headquarters in Manchester. While both their families were located in the London area, Wesley and Maggie felt themselves favorable with the idea of living back in England. Rolan was given the option of remaining at Beauxbatons and traveling to England for breaks, or enrolling in a closer school. There was limited attraction for him to move closer to home, as he spent so little time there during the year, but Rolan chose to make the transition.

Hogwarts, the hailed institution tucked away in Scotland, presented a significant contrast to Beauxbatons. The pomp and snobbery of Beauxbatons had always pleased Rolan the least, and the absence of these features at Hogwarts made for a pleasant change. Overall, however, there was little difference between the two schools, they excelled in various different areas. Abandoning Quidditch, Rolan put forth his greatest efforts in his academics, reinforced by his placement in Hogwarts's Ravenclaw House, where the wise reside. From 1996 until his graduation in 1998 he managed to achieve the recognition as one of the top students of his year. In addition to top marks on his N.E.W.T. examinations, Rolan was an attractive catch for any employer. Ignoring better possibilties, including further studies at England's St. Emrys University, Rolan took a desk job with the leading wizarding newspaper in Britain, The Daily Prophet.
- 1998
Avatar is (still) Marat Safin: upper photographs by Erez Saba; lower image by unknown artist.

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