I am still wondering if I should send you this letter. It all started during my visit to Père Lachaise. It is all so gothic and stagey up there. Death carries a dramatic intensity, especially when removed from one’s personal life. I was hopping from tomb to tomb, searching the resting places of all those celebrities and amused by the disparate funerary architecture.
When I arrived in front of Oscar Wilde’s, a bunch of Japanese tourists surrounded a French guide struggling to make himself understood in their language. He squawked and mumbled while his audience looked frantically for a good angle to shoot the mausoleum, which was not easy, given its sheer ugliness. This bulky and uninspired piece was surrounded by a glass plate to prevent the odd cult of planting lipstick smooches and graffiti on the stone. Poor Oscar Wilde! And yet, some devoted groupies managed to leave their imprint on the barrier, can you imagine? The whole thing was putting me in a bad mood.
As I walked away to the exit gate, my spirits were restored by a gentle breeze flickering through the trees. I was savoring at last a peaceful silence. And then, I saw him. He was floating above the monuments and he smiled at me. I was not sure how much of his smile carried sadness or simply an invitation to partake with me of the absurdity of what I had witnessed. Well, that was my first impression, but I was sure he was trying to express more. By now, you may think I had a sun stroke or a serious mental problem. No, it was him, Oscar Wilde, and he was staring at me! He exuded au aura of peace. He should. He was an apparition, after all. I had read somewhere that he was a believer in portents and the supernatural. I realized we had that in common.
“Do it”, he exclaimed. “Do it!” he repeated more vehemently. Do what? What was I meant to do? Was I about to engage in a dialogue with this presence? Anyway, at this point the presence evaporated and I returned to a more prosaic state of being.
Well, later in the busy metro ride home, coming from nowhere I had this surge of love for everyone I ever met, a quickening of my heart, unknown and intense and at the end of this expansive wave was again Oscar Wilde. This time he was far away, almost beaming with holiness. And I thought then that I should write you this letter to tell that I love you deeply even if I am nowhere close to understanding Oscar’s prompting.