Valentine’s Day was the coldest day of the year in France. The plummeting temperatures smashed brittle records across the country while the chill in Paris’s Père Lachaise cemetery sinewed up from between the cobblestones and crept into Ingrid’s shoes.
Ingrid and Walter slipped amidst the skeletal shadows of winter trees whose branches quaked in the sickle breeze. Their gloved hands were locked in a thick clinch, the sky was a grey haze the sun could not penetrate as they meandered the daze of their jet lag.
“I guess that’s it,” she said, gesturing with her free arm to the tomb up ahead.
What Walter admired in Oscar Wilde was impenetrable. Ingrid’s boyfriend was too handsome for the solace, too straight for the acceptance and too simple for the satire that touched Wilde’s typical readers.
A stoic angel reposed frozen atop the sepulcher cordoned off by a plexiglas barrier.
“Too many people used to kiss his tombstone,” Walter said, quoting his online research. “The repeated cleanings were bad for the granite, so they renovated it one last time and put up the walls to keep people away.”
While the monument was as untouched as virgin snow, several lipstick imprints tattooed the enclosure. Her back to the plastic, Ingrid kissed Walter but her numb lips could not taste his through the cold. The spark in his eyes was doused by cloud cover and she could not feel his heart beat through the thickness of their coats.
Soon after, as they walked away, Walter observed, “The sun’s like an unrolled condom still in its wrapper,” reminding Ingrid of the sex they would share in the hotel later.
“I guess that’s it,” she said, gesturing with her free arm to the exit up ahead.