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My Mother's Dreams by Brandon Rhea

The man I love is dead. Our son…something far worse happened to him. But that's not what the men and women around me are thinking. To them, a terrible fate that had fallen on a distant world would never be suffered by another. All I can think about is Han Solo—pirate, husband, father—becoming just another casualty in a war that never ends. Yet the celebration goes on. Pilots and soldiers hug one another. They welcome the returning pilots and mourn the dead. All while another hero passes into legend, just as I will one day.

In the middle of it all, as the celebration clears, is one solitary girl. Her eyes are wet with the tears of a heartache that no one so young should ever feel. Yet even in her mourning, there's a hope that never seems to die. I don't know her, but I feel like I've known her forever. And so we embrace, comforting one another with the love we have for our friends and family, those we've lost and those who may still be found again.

In her eyes, I see myself, the woman I used to be. I see the hope that burned so bright that it fueled the fires of rebellion. And in this moment, my mind wanders.

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