From My Place…
While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.
"Go away!" the little boy said angrily, tossing a rock into the lake for emphasis. "I don't wanna talk to you any more! You can't help anyway! You're all dead and stuff!"
If it were possible for an apparition to sigh with a deep breath, the spirit of Anakin Skywalker would have, but for the lack of such an ability, he made a good show of it.
"Ben," he said gently, still perhaps finding difficulty in using the name. "I am here because you need me…"
"I don't need you!" the little boy shot back, another stone flung farther than the rest, scattering a flock of birds who squawked in righteous indignation. "Go bug cousin Jaina, or cousin Jacen, or even Pem." Another stone. "Maybe not Pem 'cause she's probably chasing some boy again." He paused and considered. "You never bug Pay-pa, and Ma-mere is probably all moony over Auryn, because he started to learn how to use the 'fresher now…"
"Your father…" Anakin started then paused, for even as a Force spirit, he didn't have all the answers. "Your father is a very busy man…"
"Yeah, with all the Jedi and stuff," Ben stopped throwing stones long enough to wipe his eye with a tight fist. Ghost or no ghost, he wasn't going to cry. "Just because I can't lift rocks and stuff as good as my cousins…"
Without thinking, Anakin reached out to his grandson, momentarily forgetting that he couldn't touch him, no matter how much he longed to. "Ben," he said softly, the name word coming easier now. "Your parents love you so very much…"
"How can they?" He rose to his full height, but being barely seven seasons old, it wasn't very much, and the spirit of his grandfather towered over him on the Naboo lakeshore. A lock of brown wavy hair blew over his face, but Anakin was desperately aware of the anger brewing there for he had seen it reflected in the glass far too many times himself. "I'm never gonna be a great Jedi like my Pay-pa – like you were!" the young boy spat. "I'm just gonna be a farmer like Joachim! Or I'm gonna join the circus and see the galaxy anyway! See? I already have my stuff!" He pointed at a small pack, laying on the ground beside him. "Me and Vitty are gonna run away, startin' today!"
Anakin cast a glance at 'Vitty', the stuffed Bantha with a broken horn in question. "And who's going to fix him?" he asked, arching an eyebrow quizzically. "It seems your Vitty has suffered a rather grievous injury. He's losing his stuffing, there in the back…"
Alarmed, Ben reached down and seized the toy, cradling it close to his chest. "I don't know…" he mumbled into the worn pelt. "I was going to ask Ma-mere to help him tonight…"
"Your mother would be heartbroken if you left without saying goodbye, you know…" the spirit said sagely. "A boy always needs to tell his mother goodbye properly…"
"Did you get to say goodbye to your ma-mere?"
"Yes…" the reply came slowly, and it amazed him that even in death the pain was still very physical. "But I never got to say goodbye to your grandmother…"
"Pay-pa said he never knew her," Ben said with the air of one who has learned. "But Ma-mere grew up with hers!"
"So did I," the spirit said with a sad smile. "Until I was nine or so…"
Tears forgotten, the boy's blue eyes grew wide. "Nine? Wizard! You were even older than me! Why did you have to say goodbye? Did she DIE, or something?"
"I went away to learn how to be a Jedi," Anakin said simply. "It was the way things were…"
"Do you think she would have loved you, even if you couldn't lift up rocks with the Force and stuff?" The question was earnest, pleading.
"She would have loved me, even if I had remained a slave my entire life," Anakin said softly. "And your 'Pay-pa' loved me, even when I didn't love myself…"
"Why was that, Grey-pa Skywalker?" Ben gripped Vitty tighter. "Why didn't you like yourself? Did you do something bad?"
Anakin grimaced. "I think I hear your father calling," he said abruptly. "Are you sure you want to join the circus? You'd better get going if you do…"
"Maybe after I turn nine," Ben replied thoughtfully. "I think Ma-mere is making bantha steak for last meal tonight – and pali tarts! Did you like pali-tarts Grey-pa?"
"Yes…" the spirit said, slowly beginning to fade. "Almost as much as your Pay-pa does…"
A smile lit up Ben's face as he began to wave at his departing grandfather. "I'll have an extra one for you then!" he called, as his father, Luke rounded the corner.
"Have what for who, Ben?" he as scooped up his son in to his arms. "And your mother and I have been worried about you! Are you all right?"
Blue eyes met blue. Skywalker eyes. "Pay-pa, can I ask you something?" Ben asked, surrendering to his father's embrace.
"Anything…" Luke murmured into the boy's soft curls. "Anything at all…"
"What if I can never lift rocks with the Force, Pay-pa?" Ben asked in a voice barely above a whisper. "What if I never make a good Jedi? Will you still love me?"
"What?" Luke asked, genuinely taken aback. "What ever would make you think that?"
"Would you?" Ben repeated, on the verge of fresh tears. "Maybe I just can't be a Jedi!"
"Oh, Ben," Luke cried, sinking to his knees and embracing his son more fully. "I would love you even if you ran away from me and joined the circus! You don't have to be a Jedi, but you'll always be my son…"
"That's good," Ben sighed contentedly. "But I wanna still try!"
"I didn't even know about the Force until I was nearly 17 seasons," Luke told him gently, even as he shifted his son around to his hip. "You have a long way to go yet!"
"That's even older than Grey-pa Skywalker!" Ben exclaimed, impressed. "He told me so…"
"Did he now?" Luke replied, fingering the hole in Vitty's back and pushing the stuffing back in. "You know, I think your mother can fix this when we get home to the Villa…"
"Will she have time?"
"Always, for you my son… Always for you…"