Marrying the Platypus

Saturday, September 29, 2018 | Kassel, Germany

Nina & Andrew, September 8, 2018 (photo credit: D. Michelmann)
"If you were an animal, which would you be? Which one fits your character best?"

It was August 2016, and Nina and I were lounging with our friend Tania on the grass beside a hotel pool in Algiers, chatting idly as the shadows stretched longer in the late afternoon sun. Over two years had already passed since I had met Nina one evening at the spectacularly unromantic British Embassy pub here. We had taken our first trip together (to Croatia) just weeks later, moved in together the following spring, accepted new contracts so we could stay on in Algiers, and acquired our first dog soon after.

That afternoon, Tania answered her question first—"a tortoise"—and justified her choice (entirely needlessly, since it fit her so perfectly) in her syrupy, melodious Portuguese accent. Next, I vacillated before eventually mumbling something moronic about golden retrievers and raccoons. But when Nina's turn came, she answered decisively: "A platypus."