Meeting Mark: Laura

STAR WARS Celebration Europe in London (July 15 to 17, 2016)

Mark and Laura

Better than a Dream

All my feelings when meeting Mark Hamill

The first thing that struck me about Mark was his peace: It's a feeling almost palpable standing close to him.

The morning I met him, we were at SWCE with thousands of people. He had already taken hundreds of photos with his fans. The queue was moving quickly: a few seconds to shake his hand and pose. Then, after the shot, one of the staff took your hand – kindly, but decisively – and escorted you away.

Suddenly it was my turn, and I found myself in front of him. It was like an oasis of peace after a lot of confusion.

He was clearly tired, but very relaxed, enough to make me feel pleasantly calm. It was something I have only ever felt in the presence of expert practictioners of meditation and yoga.

The second thing that struck me about him were his eyes: very clear and incredibly bright. He looked straight into my eyes listening to the few words I had to tell him.

"Hello, I'm Laura from Italy," I told him shaking his hand; and then, almost without realizing, I asked, "May I kiss you on the cheek?"

"Of course!" he answered. His voice, expression and body language were completely, kindly welcoming. So, without hesitation I kissed his clear skin and his beard, soft as puppy fur, closing my eyes to memorize every feeling in the two seconds I was allowed. He hugged me gently; he smelt good and clean. That was quite surprising since it was 30 degrees Celsius with thousands of people around just as sweaty as me.

It was like kissing a special creature, an angel.

In that kiss there was all my gratitude for many childhood afternoons spent with my brother playing on the floor with Star Wars action figures, there was my teenage crush, when I dreamt of marrying a handsome, good and brave man like a Jedi (and years later I really did!) and there was my appreciation for his way of being funny and kind with us fans on Twitter.

I kissed him for all the feelings he made me feel over the years and the passion he puts into his work, for his courage going back to be Luke after almost 40 years, for his commitment to pet rescue, for the sweetness he brings to the little patients in pediatric hospitals that he visits, for his love and loyalty for his amazing family, including the magnificent dog Millie…


This is everything that crossed my mind in two long, heavenly seconds…

Then the photo was done, he broke the embrace, I thanked him and almost ran off, because I didn't want to hold up the queue. After taking two steps to leave, I turned around and showed him my pin #HamillHarem. He was amused and giggled.

After grabbing the photo just printed by the staff, I went out to where my husband was waiting for me. I was happy and excited like a child and I couldn't wait to tell him that everything was better than I imagined.

The next day I met Mark again for the autograph. After the usual, very long queue, I saw him and I was overpowered with tenderness for him, because he was exhausted, yet still he took his time to listen to everyone, especially the kids. A lot of people gave him gifts: everyone feels the need to do something for him, to give him something of theirs, because he gives so much of himself!

Once it was my turn, I gave the photo to the staff member who was responsible. Looking at it, she smiled and said, "Wow!" (Oh, yes! You're right: WOW!). Then she gave it to Mark, who was sitting near his wonderful Millie. We said "Hello" to each other and he started to write a little dedication: "For Laura, thanks for the smooch." I was absolutely delighted!!

I gave him our B&B's business card (Casa della Luce Dorata), telling him how happy I would have been to have him as a guest. He said "Thank you" and put it under the table (I think onto a pile of hundreds of gifts that he would never be able to carry back home!).

Looking into my eyes he held out his hand to say goodbye. I took it in my hands, trying to make him feel all my affection. I was able to say what was close to my heart: "Take care of yourself!" My voice cracked with emotion. "I pray for you… everyday." His kind look became more intense. "Oh, thank you!" he said gently.

Then I let go of his hand because my eyes were filled with tears. He kept looking at me to see if I had something else to say, but I was only able to blow him a kiss and go away.

I was moved, happy and deeply grateful.

Laura (Twitter: @Hamill_Italy; Facebook: Mark Hamill Italy)

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