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The Force

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Once, not that long ago, it had been dolls and ponies and each trip to the store meant she came home with new clothes, or miniature pieces of furniture. I always got a place at the table, even if it’s more on the floor, laying with my nose up over the edge waiting to see if she’ll let me have one of the cookies on the plate that she shared with the rest of the table. When she played at the table, there were always cookies.

After a while, the dollies lost their clothes and got put on shelves and her time at the table was replaced by time in the back yard. That used to be my favorite place, too. There’s a big house back there, just her size, and she used to let me go inside with her where it was warm. We’d roll around in the grass and even when we got yelled at later for tracking in dirt or grass, she would collapse in giggles on the carpet, and she would pat my tummy while my paws got wiped clean.

When it got cold and we couldn’t go outside as much.

That was okay by me, my bed got put in a corner of the living room where I could watch everyone, and that became my new favorite place. My toys were close by, and I watched as a big tree was put up on the other side of the room. There were lights all over the house, inside and out, and then big shiny boxes under the tree.

I wasn’t supposed to go near the tree or the lights or the boxes, but she went near them all the time. She would shake them and listen to the different noises they made. She would tell me all the things she thought were inside and because she was excited about opening them, I got excited too.

Once, I thought I could help her to find out what was inside. I pulled one of them into my bed and chewed the paper off and thought of how happy she would be when I showed her. I got caught before the box was open, and then it was back to waiting.

Finally the day came where all three of them gathered under the tree with the big, shiny lights and they did just what I wanted to do. Well, they didn’t eat all the boxes and paper, but they opened them and let me chew on some of the paper. There were squeals and giggles as the paper tore open and she scritched my ears and gave me a box of my very own.

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Dad says I’m too young to know what Star Wars is all about.

I don’t care though, even if I don’t understand it all, I think everything is so exciting! There’s spaceship battles and these guys in white suits that shoot at the good guys. And a lot of the guys have these sword like things-

Dad says they’re called lightsabers.

They’re like swords, but made out of light and they make this cool vhoomp-vhoomp sound when they slash through the air. But, you really have to know how to use one or you could get really hurt or at least that’s what dad says.

He told me that when he was a boy, the Star Wars movies were his favorite. Well, not all of them because I guess the weren’t all out then- like some of them are new and some of them are old, like him.

In one of the new ones there’s this boy that’s my age and he races around in these super fast things. Everyone calls him Ani, and that’s my name, only I spell mine different. I asked mom if I could change the spelling on my bedroom door so it’s spelled the same as his, but she said that my name is spelled different because our names aren’t really the same. His name isn’t really Ani, people just call him that because it’s short for his real name, Anakin.

I don’t really understand what the difference is, people call me Annie, I just want it spelled like his.

Anyway, in the other movies, Ani grows up and he learns all this cool stuff. He learns about the force and knows how to use one of those lightsaber things. But, bad stuff happens, and he gets hurt and then-

In the other movies, the old ones, the ones that my dad says he used to watch, he’s all grown up and he wears this black suit and he can do things with his mind, and his voice is all deep and pssshh-chssssp. Dad says he’s the bad guy and that the other people are the good ones, but he’s really cool- and he’s got this big ship that belongs to him.

Mom and dad bought me all six of the movies for Christmas and it was so exciting! I wanted to watch them right away, but I had to wait until the next day. And then, I couldn’t watch them all on the same day... but I wanted to.

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It was supposed to just be for Halloween. She went trick-or-treating, she brought home an entire pillowcase full of candy. And then, she wouldn’t even take the helmet off to go to sleep. I found her later that night, helmet half-way over her head, and the filter inside made all her little sleepy wheezes sound like Darth Vader.

I let her sleep that way and the next morning she wanted to wear it again. Not to school, I told her.

But, as soon as she came home, she was pulling it on, helmet first.

A few times, I caught her with the television. That was easy- if she didn’t know I had the remote, I could turn it off and on and the giggles of Darth Vader floated through the house. She caught me at it soon after though, but it barely phased her. And I think it made her more determined.

When she went out to the car, that was the best. Jack turned it on while she stood there concentrating on it, and we both got a thrill out of the way she jumped away from it. And then, there were her little excited flails as she ran back into the house-

“Mom! Dad! Did you see? Did you see? I made the car turn on! Just like him! I used the Force! I thought really, really hard and it turned on.”

“Yes, Annie, we saw,” we said and smiled and it was like Christmas in our house all over again.

It started a little ritual with them, her and Jack. She’d greet him in the yard and he’d turn the car on as soon as he made it into the house. I think she knew, eventually. When nothing else worked, when “the force” only worked on the car, I think she started to figure it out. But, I don’t think she minded. They would watch one of the movies over the weekend, and by Monday, she was always ready to try it again.

For Christmas, she’s getting a lightsaber. Just one of the ones that lights up and makes the sound when you swing it through the air. Jack’s getting one too, and I imagine great lightsaber duels are about to happen all over the house. That’ll make for a pretty nice Christmas.