It was an early spring late afternoon. It had been raining, and the cobblestone “streets” of Père Lachaise cemetery were still wet. The sky looked all grey and wet too, just beautiful. The pale yellow map in my hand showed the grave sites of famous people, printed in black ink. you want to see the tomb of Heloise and Abelard? Go to division seven. Molière? Balzac? Chopin? Sarah Bernhardt? Then, handwritten, in blue ink that bled into the paper, were two names, with fat dots marking their sites: “Piaf” and “Jim.”
Piaf. I remembered that rabid fans came every day from all over the world to put fresh flowers on the grave, to stand reverently in her presence. A cult. Yes, I could understand that. She was a legend, a star.
But what about this “Jim,” with his Anglo-Saxon name? I said it aloud: “Zheem.” It rang no bells. “Zheem.”