Nothing warms our hearts more than seeing old friends find their happiness. Marc and I were so thrilled last weekend to witness our close friends Cécile and Yann getting married in a lovely ceremony that took us from Paris to Burgundy.
First, a few words on my friendship with beautiful Cécile. Many years back, I arrived in Paris to study philosophy at a French school. I arrived by myself one rainy day and made my way via bus and train to the school, carting two stubborn suitcases. After having made it up five flights of stairs, I looked down and realized one of the suitcases didn’t belong to me; instead it belonged to a Mr. Thierry from the outskirts of Paris! After tears and a call home, I turned around, went back to the airport, underwent a “baggage exchange” in front of airline officials with a disgruntled Mr. Thierry, and headed back again to the school. Not knowing anyone, I had dinner by myself that night and meals by myself for the next few days. I wandered the streets, staring at happy couples, feeling very lonesome and basically wondering what I was doing in this strange city where I knew noone.
Whereas in American schools, students might tend to smile and say hi to strangers, in that French school no one even looked my way. My door room presented brown-stained walls and barely managed to house my narrow bed. From the window, I strung a plastic bag with milk and yoghurts. I invested in a hot pot for pasta and oatmeal and to warm milk for instant coffee. Life was bare.
At the end of my first week, I sat in the director’s office to resolve some administrative issues and a pretty girl with her hair back in a velvet ponytail holder sat across from me and shot me a big smile. She introduced herself as Cecile, told me she loved the United States and The Terminator movie series, and invited me to lunch. During lunch, while some French intellectuals derailed American popular culture of the United States, Cécile defended US culture and politics. That was 25 years ago, and marked the beginning of a trusting, loyal friendship.
Cécile has led a brilliant career as a government official and expert on energy and urban development. She met Yann years ago, and is now a happy step-mother to his two children. Marc, Yann and Cecile have also become close, and we’ve shared happy times together in New York and Paris.
Cecile attended our wedding fourteen years ago and last weekend we were honored to attend hers. So, that all explains our broad smiles on the big day last weekend.
Always original, Cecile’s red dress bespoke a bold elegance.The mayor of Paris’ 9th arrondissement, a close friend of the bridal couple, gave a moving wedding discourse, speaking about their myriad professional accomplishments and personal attributes.Yann warmly refers to Marc as his “brother from another mother.”Outside the mayor’s office.A city ceremony turned into a festive country wedding as we headed to Burgundy to celebrate in Yann’s mother’s 15th century home.With Yann’s mother being Swedish like my own, there was plenty to chat about.Joyful moments with my dear friend.The dancing began immediately and went on until 4 a.m.!We arose the next day to attend a lovely brunch and spend some more time with our dear friends. Moments like these become even more precious as the years pass, as we learn that nothing matters more than the happiness of those we love.
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