Lanterns bobbing in the air. Fireworks going off left and right. The air was full of shrieks and howls and merriment.

Lucy sat on the porch by herself, wondering when it would go away.

Last year, Jack had sat beside her for the Festival, as he had for every year prior. This year, he was on the other side of the world, fighting in the war this celebration was supposed to be honoring.

It was hard to think of them being as joyous as they had been. They hadn’t known. They had never experienced real hardship. The war seemed like some grand thing to them, as it had been the entire time they were growing up together.

The Festival made it seem that way to everyone. Even those who had lost loved ones to the war were caught up in the grand patriotism of it all. It made it all seem worthwhile, somehow.

For most of them, anyway. Lucy could only think of Jack.