Dreams Live On

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She was a young woman and she had just graduated from the Naval Academy in Maryland. For four years she had trained and worked hard and now she was standing in a line with her right arm bent in a salute to match the people surrounding her. On her body was a white uniform and atop her head was a navy hat. The stadium lights shone on the gold buttons on her top. The young women was very pretty with fair skin and brown hair curled into a bun. Her eyes were one of the most basic shades of brown but only the color was basic. They shone like the sun and everything about them was cheerful and friendly.
The graduation ceremony was long and the day was hot but the young woman smiled throughout the entire thing and her eyes shone with pride. After it was over her family found her and she smiled some more and accepted flowers and words of praise.
“Christina,” her mother said to her as she handed her flowers.  “I am so proud of you!”
The mother had put Christina on the path to becoming a Naval Officer and they loved eachother very much.
“Thank you!” Christina said. “You all mean so much to me.”
It was then when Christina saw her cousins, whom she hadn’t seen in a long time.
“Oh my god, look at my little cousins! You guys are getting so big!”
As she spoke she pulled the two siblings, one girl and one boy, into a hug.
The younger sibling who was seven let her hug him and then pulled away to show her his new toy.
“Oh wow! A fire truck, that’s so cool!” Christina said.
She had always loved children and she loved her little cousins very much, even though she was over ten years older than the eldest.  The girl had always admired how good Christina was with children.
She had stopped hugging the older sibling when she spoke to the little boy. The twelve year old girl had stood to the side waiting for Christina to talk to her.
The little boy had grown bored of the conversation and was now playing with his fire truck on the ground. 
Christina bent down so that she was the same height as the girl.
“Look how big you are! Oh man you are so smart and strong!”
Christina never told the girl she was pretty. She knew the girl was pretty and the girl knew too.
The girl giggled and made a muscle with her arm.
Christina took her hat off and placed it on top of the girl’s head. It was too big and it slipped down to cover the girl’s eyes. Christina fixed it and the girl beamed at her.
“One day you’ll grow into that and it will be yours.” Christina said.
“Really?”
“Really.”
Christina then straightened up and left the girl to imagine her future. Christina’s little sister who was also attending the Naval Academy walked up to her and the two sisters hugged.
The next day was sunny and a breeze came from the ocean. The cousins visited Christina on her ship and she gave them a tour. The inside of the ship was sunless and everything was painted the same shade of grey. The ceilings were very low and in some spots one could hit their head if they weren’t careful.  But to Christina it was a home and she showed them her bunk and her part of the ship with pride and satisfaction.
Christina’s friends were on the ship and they stopped and talked to her. Some of them spoke to the cousins and all of them were friendly and nice looking. One particular man who had dark skin stayed for a while and spoke not only to Christina but to the cousins too. He had smile lines around his mouth and kind eyes. It wasn’t until he left did Christina tell the cousins that the man was her fiance. The little girl gaped up at her older cousin wide eyes.
When they were done Christina brought the little girl and the boy back to the hotel where they were staying. She then made to leave but the little girl grabbed her arm.
“Wait here! I wanna show you something!”
Christina smiled and waited. The little girl ran inside the room and came back a moment later. She was wearing Christina’s navy hat. The little girl giggled and saluted Christina with the wrong hand. The hat was too big for her and it slipped and covered her eyes. Christina smiled and bent down. She fixed the girl’s hat and her salut. Then she saluted the girl and turned and walked away.
She was a young woman and she had just gotten the acceptance letter that told her she would be going to the Naval Academy in Maryland. For four years she had toiled in high school and worked very hard and now her hard work had paid off. On her head was a very old, very worn navy hat that had yellowed with age. Her skin was tan and her eyes were the darkest shade of brown. They were proud eyes and they shone like the moon.  In a necklace around her neck was a picture of another young woman, who had eyes that shone like the sun. There was a hat on the young woman in the picture, and the woman was saluting the camera. The little girl that had grown up into a young woman smiled at the picture, and then took the old hat off and tossed it onto the bed. Then the young woman took a last look around the room and left, holding a suitcase in one hand and closing the door with the other.
The hat had landed upside down. On its tag, in faded Sharpie, read the name Christina.






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