I stood there, shaking, as Sir Alec Guinness moved down the long glass corridor fronting the house he built, slowly moving his bulk across two old legs and equally old cane, my lungs emptying outside as he neared the door inside. Every step forward doubled my heartbeat, legs as jelly in an earthquake. Hundreds – thousands – of Star Wars viewings simultaneously slammed into the part of my brain that is in exclusive control of my ability to scream. Mouth, dry, denying that request the best it could. Don’t call him Obi-Wan was my silently repeated mantra, on loop for the past few days. Finally, the door clunked, and swung open.
“Hello”, he said. The sky fell into my chest.
“Hello. These are for your wife”, said seventeen-year-old me. The flowers I held out vibrated in the still country air.
Now, this is where that part of my memory stops – or, at least, the searing is not as deep – but I’m sure the words he used were as kind and generous as each of his words he spoke to me over the next couple of years, all voiced in his deep velvet voice regardless of whether they were spoken or written. I know that I followed him in, walking slightly behind as we moved back into the house, his wife aglow on receiving my gift. He sat me down at his table and brought me tea.
“Now,” he said. “What do you want to know?”