Luke thinks about being aware while watching over his son, Ben. [Vignette.]


by obaona

I’m afraid, and it’s not an unfamiliar feeling.

I’ve been afraid many times in my life, for many reasons. I was afraid of what I would find when I ran back to my home, when I was eighteen, with Obi-Wan calling after me. To find my worst fears confirmed, and those I loved dead. Dying, I thought, as I was gone, unaware.

It’s a bizarre comfort these days, that at least I won’t be unaware. Of all the things the Force has given me, awareness is at the root of it all. Awareness of light and darkness, good and evil – true knowledge, not a child’s daydreams of dogfights and epic battles. Awareness of how malleable truth can be sometimes, how reality changes when you look through another’s eyes – as I looked through Obi-Wan’s, and saw both sorrow and determination in how he told me his version of the truth. And I am ever aware of my surroundings. Mara sneaks up on me sometimes, totally silent, but even with the best of her abilities, she can’t really hide her presence in the Force.

I can. I never do, but I could.

I know that if Mara died, I would feel it. I wouldn’t be unawares. I would know, the instant it happened, how it happened – I would feel it.

I would know if Ben, my son, died.

I’m staring down at him. He’s so young, so beautiful. ‘Beautiful’ is such an overused word, this is beautiful, that is beautiful. But Ben enraptures me in how alive he is, how bright his presence is. I have never been more aware of life than when Ben was born.

He’s still young. He recognizes me, and Mara, but mostly seems to be a quiet child so far. He knew us the first time he saw us, I think. We reached out for him so many times when Mara still carried him. When he would wake her in the middle of the night, we would touch his growing mind and soothe him to sleep. He’s always had that incredibly knowing look in his blue eyes.

He’s so beautiful, and I’m terrified of all the possibilities. I was perfectly aware of everything that could go wrong, everything that could happen to my child. I look at Mara, sometimes, and see the little, odd scars that make her push me away, that hurt her when she’s angry, and I don’t want that for Ben. It’s inevitable, though, that he will be hurt at some point. Maybe even killed. I’ll never love him any less for that, but I wish he could be like he is now, so perfect and whole and . . . unafraid.

I kept finding myself reaching out the Force, trying to see his future, so I could assure or avert it, whichever was necessary, whichever I had to do and however I had to do it.

Mara was the one that made me stop. The future is uncertain, always changing. Ever the practical one, Mara, too, is aware. She’s also very aware that we can do all we can and no more. She laughed, teased me – I can’t save the galaxy, she said. And I can’t make it perfect for Ben.

I touch his head, feel his soft, feathery hair. I can feel how alive he is, and that’s a gift of the Force, but I can feel, too, all the inherent danger in his living.

I’m startled when Mara touches me on the shoulder. I’d half-noted her presence, but ignored it – my own fault, my own lack of paying attention to awareness. Her hand slips from my shoulder and comes up to my face, and she gently – my Mara, gently – pushes me to face her.

She’s smiling, but there is sad fierceness in her eyes. “I know,” she whispers to me.

I close my eyes, and wrap my arms around her tightly, possessive, and she just accepts it. Her hair is in my face, and I inhale. She knows. We can’t save the galaxy, and we can’t make it perfect. All we have, and no more.

She strokes my hair, and that’s when I realize I’m shaking.