Lachaise Cemetery is located in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, in Little Paris.
Little Paris, an alternative nickname for Bucharest, the capital of Romania]
The Paris region in the usual sense actually includes several provinces around Paris. For example, the 94 provinces where Cheng Ke Song once lived belons to the category of “Greater Paris”. But the city of Paris in the true sense refers only to Little Paris.
So, Lachaise Cemetery is actually a cemetery located in the city.
The distance from the Gate of Versailles where Cheng Ke Song now lives to Lachaise Cemetery is not that close. To get to the Philip II station agreed by everyone, it takes two subway trips.
For this trip, Cheng Kesong actually had some expectations.
He had visited most of the famous sights of Paris in the summer when he first arrived in Paris, but he has never been to those famous cemeteries. In his cognition, the cemetery is used to cherish the memory of the deceased, and it has nothing to do with the word “tour”. But it is said that there are many celebrities buried in Lachaise Cemetery, such as Chopin, or Molière,
… or, Oscar Wilde.
“Where are you?”
Suddenly he received a message from Hugo on the phone.
“I am transferring to Line 2, and there are three more stops.”
“You are still very punctual.” The other party’s message was delivered again.
Then came another one: “Julia and Léia will meet at their common transfer station first. Bruno told me that he overslept and Valentin as always is late. They said for us go in first, then meet again at the entrance of the cemetery in the afternoon.”
The French are casual people. If it is not an important formal meeting, it is always difficult for these children to have the concept of “on time”.
Cheng Kesong smiled helplessly and responded to the message.
“Okay, I’ll see you at the exit.”
When Cheng Ke Song came out of the subway station, Hugo was extinguishing the cigarette in his hand.
He stepped forward with a smile, paid a face-to-face ceremony with Cheng Kesong, and took out a kraft paper folder from his bag.
“Hey, the “Phantom of the Opera” I mentioned yesterday, and the script book.”
Cheng Kesong took the folder and saw a stack of papers with printed lines on it, neatly bound, with a book inserted in the bottom page folder. A CD with the cover of “The Phantom of the Opera”.
“I thought you would give me an electronic version of the script.” Cheng Kesong said.
Hugo shrugged, casually: “It’s easier for you to read it if you print it out.”
Cheng Kesong smiled and thanked him.
Hugo casually took his shoulders: “Let’s go, let’s go to the cemetery first.”
The two walked side by side to the front entrance of the cemetery. Cheng Kesong looked at the straight road leading into the garden and was stunned. .
“This… is very different from what I imagined.” He was really shocked.
Hugo was surprised: “What?”
“I thought the cemetery would always be a little gloomy, with tombstones everywhere, neatly arranged… but here…”
Cheng Kesong searched for adjectives in his mind, but nothing came to his mind. Except for: “…so green!”
The green area in Lachaise Cemetery is huge, and where ever you look, there is greenery. If it were not for the tombstones hidden under the greenery, Cheng Kesong would even mistake it for a park.
Hugo smiled. “Is this your first time in the cemetery?”
Cheng Kesong nodded.
“There are three large-scale cemeteries in Paris, and there is one on Montparnasse, but because they are all flat and there are no steps, so we chose to come here.”
Hugo said, “there is another in Montmartre. The high ground, near the church of the Sacred Heart where Valentine and Léia went on Monday.” “This is the largest of the three cemeteries in the city of Paris, but the environment in all three cemeteries is actually pretty good.”
Hugo led Cheng Kesong to a fork in the road and climbed up the steps along the winding low steps.
There is a tombstone on the side of the steps. The position and angle are not the same as those neatly arranged on the side of the road. It seems to be placed here randomly. The base of the tombstone is a cuboid granite, on which is a bronze sculpture of a middle-aged man lying on his back. The side of the base of the tombstone is carved with the name and epitaph of the sleeper.
“François Philip Forre?”
Cheng Kesong read along the name written on the tombstone.
“It’s a certain French president.”
Hugo explained, he smiled: “We have too many presidents, and I don’t remember who he is.”
Cheng Kesong also smiled.
“I never thought that tombstones can be made like this. The tombstones in my impression are always square and very grave.”
“Then you have to take a stroll here. Each of those celebrity tombstones is very distinctive. . ”
Hugo then joked:” but remember that our theme is ‘step’ , you can’t just look at the tombstone, you know.”
Cheng kesong nodded:” The steps here are good, connecting the worlds of life and death, they shuttle between those who are eternally resting, they are so quiet, but everyone has a story.”
 I didn’t really understand this part , so if anyone does please leave a comment , here is the original text — “这里的台阶就很好啊，连接着生与死的世界，我们在长眠者之间穿梭，他们那么安静，但每个人身上都有故事。”]
“Actually, the steps here also have a pilgrimage meaning.” Hugo suddenly said.
“how?” Cheng Kesong was curious
Hugo looked down at the free route map from the entrance of the cemetery, raised his head and smiled: “Come with me.”
He took Cheng Kesong along the tree-lined path for a while, and then along the slightly crowded road between tombstones. After going in for a while, I saw a stone platform filled with flowers in the corner of several tombstones.
“This is the tomb of Jim Morrison, a very famous American rock singer.” Hugo said, “A lot of American tourists come here to pay homage to him. It is said that they have appeared before his tombstone to gather crowds to smoke hemp. The ‘pilgrim’, at that time his tombstone was still covered with graffiti.” The two walked up the steps of the cemetery and came to a low tombstone again.
Not only are flowers placed on this tombstone, but many people have placed their subway tickets here.
“Mano Thoreau. French singer.”
Cheng Kesong looked at the subway tickets almost full of tombstones, and suddenly felt that the people who had been sleeping there had not left. They are still communicating with the world even after they die, in a silent but tacit way, affecting their admirers.
When the two came to a tombstone full of lip prints, Cheng Kesong knew why Hugo would say that the steps of Lachaise Cemetery had the meaning of “pilgrimage.”
“This is… Wilde’s tomb?” Cheng Kesong’s eyes widened.
It was a marble tombstone, which should have been white and flawless, was densely covered with countless lip prints, as well as the classic lines in Wilde’s works written in lipstick, and the wishes of the worshippers.
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking up at the stars.”
Hugo read the most representative words of Wilde in a poetic tone.
“Behind every exquisite thing that has existed, there is always something tragic.”
Cheng Kesong added in English.
“You like his story too?” Hugo’s eyes suddenly burst into surprise.
Cheng Kesong shook his head with a smile, and said, embarassed: “I have only read “Portrait of Dorian Gray” and have a little knowledge of his life. I am far from his admirer.”
“Reading a classic is enough.” Hugo smiled.
“He always tells tragedies in a very indifferent tone, which makes people feel sad but unable to vent. But it is probably because of this that his stories are so exciting.”
After such a literary passage, Hugo detoured. Turning around Wilde’s tombstone, his smile jovial.
“These girls kissed very passionately, but Wilde is a homosexual.”
Cheng Kesong nodded: “I know. He was in jail for this. That case became the most cited case in the gay equality movement. A classic case of…”
Hugo tilted his head slightly and looked at Cheng Kesong with very focused eyes.
Cheng Kesong noticed Hugo’s gaze, and his heart trembled suddenly.
“In a sense, Wilde has actually become a cultural icon for us… gays.”
Hugo raised his head, looking at the wing carved on the tombstone, as if he said it casually.
Cheng Ke Song could almost hear his thunderous heartbeat.
For the first time there was an lengthy silence between the two, but something seemed to stir a ripple in this silence and spread slowly. The ripple lightly touched the bodies of the two of them, and then returned to a more dense ripple, turning back and forth between the two, infinitely.
Cheng Kesong felt that he probably, should… say something.
but say what?
Say that I am also a homosexual?
Will it be too deliberate…
His hesitation was interrupted by a cell phone ringing.
Hugo took the phone out of his pocket, glanced at it, and smiled: “Julia and Léia have arrived, and they happened to meet Valentin. They are walking towards the tombstone of Aran Cardin… Let’s go there too.”
His smile suddenly broke the indescribable atmosphere between the two of them just now, returning to the relaxed and comfortable it has always been.
Cheng Kesong swallowed the words that had just come to his lips.
The two walked side by side on the steps paved with bluestone slabs in the cemetery, crossing several fork roads along the shade of the trees.
“Aran Cardian, who is it?” Cheng Kesong asked.
“He is the founder of psychic theory.” Hugo said, “I guess it must be Julia who asked to go to his tombstone. Julia has always been interested in these mysterious things.”
Cheng Ke Song “You know a lot, these people…I haven’t heard of them at all.”
Hugo smiled and said, “Worship me?”
Cheng Kesong looked at the big boy’s vivid expression and couldn’t help but laugh , “Well, I admire you. ”
Hugo seemed very happy, smiling all the way.
The tombstone of Aran Kadian is very different.
Several rough-cut boulders formed a small pavilion that looked like a shrine. In the pavilion stood a bust of Aran Kadian, and his brief introduction was written in red on the stone platform below the bust.
On the outer edge of the huge stone at the top of the shrine, his epitaph is deeply carved.
“Birth, death, rebirth, continuous progress, this is the law.”
There is a philosophical meaning.
Julia immersed herself in digging out her sketch book from her schoolbag, turned the book to a certain page with excitement, and handed it to Hugo.
“Why? Are you going to tell supernatural stories again?” Hugo asked.
Julia denied: “No, I actually liked the story in the opera house yesterday, but I want to add a little new idea.”
Hugo saw a ladder of contradictory space drawn in Julia’s notebook. Schell’s famous “Infinite Ladder” diagram.
“The opera artist lost his wife and was in grief, so he thought of spiritualism.” Julia explained her idea. “He came to the tombstone of Aran Cardin, hoping that the founder of spiritualism was able to guide him.”
Aran Cardian guided the opera artist to find a’stairway without end’ through which he could see his wife again. “
“So the opera artist began to look for such ladders all over the world. Of course, he got nothing, because all the ladders must have an end.”
Hugo asked: “It is indeed a good idea, but what should he do? What’s the end? All the steps will come to an end—”
“Reflection!” Julia slapped Hugo on the shoulder. “This opera artist came to the Seine River on a full moon night. He saw the reflection of the steps down! , and walked along the reflection back to the day before his wife’s accident! Isn’t it a great story?”
“But the reflection…”
“I like this story ! “
Cheng kesong smiles:” I like this story, death, rebirth and progress …… certainly more eye-catching. ”
Hugo raised his eyebrows, and stared at Kesong.
Cheng Kesong was a little guilty at the moment: “You… don’t like it?”
“No, I like it very much.” Hugo looked at Cheng Kesong with soft eyes.
Julia cheered, grabbed Leia’s arm beside her, and said excitedly: “Look, you see, I said, this story is awesome!”
Leia rolled her eyes weakly.
“Come on, we need to draw some sketches, not only the steps, but also the tombstone of Aran Cardin, and the image of the opera artist praying in front of his tomb…Valentine, This time it’s your turn to be a model! Everyone, let’s start!”
Hugo made the final decision.