• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 12

Chewbacca, ET, Little Green Man

When Nadia enters the kitchen on Friday morning, a little totem-pole of a sculpture waits for her on the table. At the base: a pen-pot Chewbacca. For the torso: the plastic head of ET. To top it off: a three-eyed green alien from Toy Story.

Nadia needs coffee to kick start her system, so it takes her a moment to decipher this message. Then she laughs.

Love comes in the strangest of guises.


Thursday is date night. Always has been. Always will. They’ve missed it only a handful of times: when, as a trainee solicitor, she had to fly a suitcase of leases to Zurich; when she was in labour with first-born Kate (a Consequences-Of-Date-Night-Date-Night); and then last night, when Patrick called to say he must work late on an important pitch, and her vision of House of Gucci curled up on the sofa with a big tub each of Ben and Jerry’s dissolved.

Nadia has never considered herself high maintenance. She spent too many long hours in the office before giving up work after their second daughter, Lisa, was born not to appreciate the uninvited pressures of the job. But last night, after Nadia decided to deal with the disappointment by putting together a care package for Lisa – now into her second term at university – she found herself slamming cupboard doors as she hunted out the ingredients. She might even have imagined it was Patrick’s head she was pounding as she smashed the walnuts for the loaf cake with a rolling pin. Empty nest syndrome was a cold hard bastard.


Chewbacca, ET, Little Green Man

Date night was not always Netflix and Chill. For instance, there was that late night private visit to the aquarium and the surprise table at Nobu (they’d even gone in search of the Boris-Becker-Broom-Cupboard. And found it).

But then Kate had entered a colicky phase when they couldn’t leave her alone with the babysitter and the Stay-at-Home-Date-Nights were born. And, somehow, games of Gin Rummy had morphed into games of “How I See You” where they had demonstrated their complete lack of artistic talent by making portraits of each other that demonstrated how they viewed the other’s inner self. One time, when Lisa had hardly slept for a fortnight, they had both revealed their clumsy attempts at Munch’s The Scream. Nadia realises now that they haven’t played that particular game for years.

Nadia looks at Patrick’s peace offering. The furry Wookie: loyal, affectionate, a kick-ass co-pilot. ET: it goes without saying, everyone’s favourite alien. The LGM? Their unshakeable faith? Their love for family? Or maybe it was just the last thing he could excavate from the loft?

Perhaps she likes the Chewbacca best. It speaks most to their lives together as co-pilots. Though maybe the hairy Wookie is just a hint that it’s a long time since any part of her met a razor?

That’s what she loves about Patrick. He always keeps her guessing.