Even grown ups get star struck.
We are walking down the Boulevard St. Germain in Paris and my Father sees one of his favourite actors of all time approaching us. He smiles.
"Bonjour Monsieur Rochefort" he says, with admiration.
The old man, who must be in his late eighties, in a split second realises the recognition, and something inside him ignites. He sparkles. His grin stretches from ear to ear. He understands his importance in my Father’s life in this tiny little instance. He walks ahead, before realising the reason he was on the boulevard in the first place, to go to the pharmacy. Monsieur Rochefort retraces his steps, and my Father does the same, because their encounter is not yet complete. My Father, almost a child again, almost - but not quite - overcome with emotion, steps toward the old man and thanks him; thanks him for his work, for his oeuvre. The man is lifted and looks overjoyed to have been thanked for his hard work once again: his canon, his theatrical and cinematic triumphs. My Father asks if he may shake Monsieur Rochefort’s hand.
"Bien sur!" he says - seizing my Father par la main and for a split second I sense they may embrace, the connection is so strong, but they are men and they are strangers and so they do not.
My father thanks Rochefort once again, and we walk away. My father begins to cry. I don’t think in all these long years I have seen him quite so delighted. He cries tears of happiness as we walk down the short flight of stairs to the Solferino Metro station platform. He beams for the entire journey to the Gard du Nord. Something passed between them. An inexplicable connection, palpable and yet sullied by words. Sometimes the divine needs not explaining. My father and the old man - both gleeful. Something about it makes me melancholy, but I don’t quite know why.