Now I'm writing in the present. We're all in hyperspace. The parts Qui-Gon had bought from Watto had done the trick and I'm on my way to Coruscant. I mean, we're on our way to Coruscant. Whatever.
After the Podrace, I finally returned to the hangar, where I found Mom, Qui-Gon, Padme, and the others. Everyone congratulated me, and Padme gave me a hug. Even Mom was proud of me. "You've brought hope to those who have none," she said. "I'm so very proud of you."
Qui-Gon had already used our winnings to buy the parts he needed for their ship. Now he borrowed some eopies and a repulsor sled to carry the parts back to the desert. Jar Jar and R2-D2 left for the ship on foot. As Padme climbed on one of the eopies, I wondered if I'd see her again. I wanted to ask her, but there were too many people around.
Mom and I went home.
For the rest of the day I could have basked in the glory of winning the race. All the kids in the neighborhood came by to congratulate me. They wanted to talk to me, but I was distracted. I had a project I needed to finish--fast.
You see, I was sad that Padme was leaving and I hadn't had a chance to say good-bye. I knew Qui-Gon would come back to return the eopies. When he did, I wanted to give him something to give to her. Something she would remember me by.
I had a piece of japor wood that I'd found in the desert and was saving. Japor was rare and valuable, and anything made of it was supposed to bring the wearer good luck. Now I started carving a pendant from it. My only hope was that Padme would wear it around her neck...
I finished the pendant and went out to find a leather lace to hang it on. Everywhere I went, people waved and smiled. I felt funny. I've never felt like a hero before.
Not everyone was happy about my win. Out of nowhere a (child) Rodian named Wald appeared in front of me, blocking my path. Wald was usually a friend of mine. But one look at him and I could tell he was no friend today.
Maybe he'd lost money on the race. Or maybe he just didn't like Humans. All I knew is that he wanted to fight because he said no Human could have own the Boonta Classic. Therefore I must have cheated.
He sure got the fight he wanted.
We were rolling on the ground, fists flying at each other and kicking up dust when a shadow loomed over me.
Looking up, I saw Qui-Gon gazing down at me with a frowny face. I quickly stood up and dusted myself off. The Jedi Knight asked what happened. I told him Wald had accused me of cheating.
He turned to Wald and asked him if he thought I'd cheated. To my surprise, even though I'd just pounded him halfway into a pulp, Wald nodded. He still thought I'd cheated!
Qui-Gon nodded knowingly and turned once again to me. He explained that fighting had not changed Wald's mind. I would have to be satisfied knowing the truth--that I didn't cheat--even if I couldn't convince everyone else.
I realized that Qui-Gon was teaching me a lesson. I may have won the race, but all the fighting in the world couldn't convince an enemy to take my side.
Qui-Gon and I went back to our house. When we got inside, he told me something I never expected to hear. It made me forget almost everything else. Winning the Boonta Classic was nothing compared to this.
The Jedi Knight said I was no longer a slave! I was free! It seemed impossible that Watto would give me up, but all Qui-Gon would say is that Watto had learned an important lesson about gambling.
Mom was thrilled for me. She said now I could make my dreams come true. Then she asked Qui-Gon if I was to become a Jedi.
I was completely shocked! Me, a Jedi Knight? That was always a dream. I never, ever dared to believe it could really come true.
Qui-Gon kneeled down so that we were face-to-face. He looked very serious and told me it was no coincidence that we'd met. He said that I was strong with the Force. But he warned me that I still might not be accepted by the Council. I wasn't exactly sure how the Council worked, but I had a feeling it must be made up of other Jedi Knights.
He also warned me that even if I was accepted, there would be a long period of training. It would not be an easy life. He could have told me I'd have to shovel bantha poo for the rest of my life. It wouldn't have mattered if it meant being a Jedi!
Mom told me to hurry and get packed because I would have to go back to the ship with Qui-Gon and there wasn't much time. I turned and started toward my room.
But then I thought of something that made me stop in my tracks.
I looked back at them. Mom and Qui-Gon shared a knowing look. And suddenly I realized this wasn't good news after all.
My hand is tired and I'll finish this entry later...a little later...after all, this is a good stopping point.