We finished Proust Volume Two. We all laughed out loud when Marcel tried to kiss Albertine, his head swelled to contain the whole universe and then some. We loved the faces changing over time, successions of selves, faces viewed by other selves, how the girls are the sea, and how they are goddesses too, just like Madame Swann. Proust knows, it seems, and Jonathan said, what it is to be a plant. It’s connected to being human. It’s all connected, said Kate. If there were any doubt, it was dispelled when the hawthorns started talking. We loved the cliffs that were a cathedral, the marvelous, nimble shadows, and the clouds that hide and show. Love, we realized, can make you an artist, while friendship can distract. And we all sighed together as the grand hotel slowly emptied out, the manager hanging on alone, covering the emptiness with his provisional splendor. The ending is bathed in sound, Susan said. It’s symphonic, I was saying, only to realize there really is a symphony playing on the beach outside Marcel’s hotel window. Time stops, the eternal summer returns. “It’s death-haunted,” Bonnie said. And then there we were, back in another dark room, the cylinder of gold traversing the wall, with no visible supports, like that magic lantern.