I've never felt as alive as in Paris, even when surrounded by the tombs and vaults of Père Lachaise cemetery. I stumbled upon young couples stealing kisses within the labyrinth of graves, which reminded me of a story about Argentina.
I once read that hotels were sprouting-up around cemeteries in Buenos Aires, because rooms that overlooked a necropolis enhanced the newlyweds’ sexual peccadilloes while on honeymoon. It has been said; a man is never as close to death as when in sexual climax. Are we simply dealing with a Latin obsession which conjugates sex and death?
Why do lovers congregate in and around cemeteries? Do they feel it’s a secure place for intimate liaisons, while being far from the crowd and undeterred by prying eyes? When surrounded by hollow sepulchral tones, does it dawn upon them that life is fleeting and they must embrace worldly pleasure?
Maybe the cemetery becomes a harbinger; like the Ghost of Christmas Future, shadowing Ebenezer Scrooge. The humbling experience that alters a life journey; the catalyst that will spark and bring forth a yet unforeseen exploration or relationship. An affirmation of life, adorned incognito.
The gravity of what presents itself at a cemetery might provoke a counting of blessings, because we are all still alive. We are the quick, survivors for the meantime, we usually remain thankful for it. Hence, what better way to celebrate life than to commemorate by a kiss, those who have come before us? Those loved ones who have already passed away. Ultimately, the only binding, we will die. “Memento mori” (trans. Remember you will die).
A cemetery foretells of our own inevitable demise like a crystal ball. In response, we might show gratitude for our borrowed time on Earth and appreciate a life well spent, as many of those interred in Père Lachaise have shown in abundance. Veritably a life can be well lived. Indeed, you may have felt a desire to kiss an immortal who flourished beyond life. By their graveside at Père Lachaise:
Honoré de Balzac
Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE
Frédéric François Chopin
Amedeo Clemente Modigliani
James Douglas “Jim” Morrison
Édith Piaf, born Édith Giovanna Gassion
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