We had the table in the back, under the big clock, at Le Paris Montparnasse, six of us for lunch. The food here is so good you wonder at the low prices. We've been friends for years sharing brief times together. A warm feeling comes over me as we share our memories. After lunch the girls go shopping and my friend and I walk from Gare Montparnasse to the rue Froidevaux and enter the cemetery. It is a cool day and the light is thin as it in Paris in the winter and it is suddenly quiet. We read the names of famous dead buried here and share our thoughts about the ones we know and each of us learns a little. We try to find Guy de Maupassant but the maps are hopeless and all the monuments too interesting to let our failure trouble us. We stop at Jean Seeburg's tomb and wonder why a beautiful, young, rising actress committed suicide at such a young age and suddenly I understand that there is more to learn about life than about death here in this beautiful cemetery. We leave the cemetery and come out behind Le Dôme on boulevard Montparnasse. I stand here and think for a minute about how my idea of Paris has changed from the dreams of a youth inspired to love Paris by Hemingway to those of a man in his mid 60s with a lot of life already behind. I invite my friend for a beer at Closerie des Lilas and we sit at the bar and talk about the suspension of time here in this lovely brasserie.
We walk together through the lower gardens at Luxembourg talking about work and art and life and I think: this is it, I could do this forever. We end up in the Musée Luxembourg with Cézanne and his Paris. My friend is an artist as well and one of his works hangs over my desk at home. I love this work because it is almost monochromatic and yet full of the colors along the Seine. It is dark and has begun to rain as we work our way through some quiet back streets to the Gibert Joseph book store on boulevard St Michel. Suddenly it is time to part. Neither of us knowing quite what to say and wishing there were more days like this one.