She was 80 that day, nearly 81, and walked the narrow way with ease. These old streets were tight and originally made for carriages. It was amazing they were still in use, like history leading the way to tomorrow.
Her destination was the church, as tall as the purple sky and as old as the stone street beneath her feet. Its spires reached only up, but seemed to extend all around and into every home in the building's shadow. Three men of her family worked there: two as priests, one as a worshiper.
She passed familiar places on her way. So many nations had come to join with this one in those days. The signs on the shop doors were in many languages, some in the words of this land, others in Sanskrit and Gaelic and symbols she could not identify, but understood clearly because she'd been in each of these places many times.
Some sold pastries, others artwork and musical instruments, kites. One took in many items and gave them all away. It stayed in business for reasons that were hard to explain, but the more they gave away, the more they had.
She was a stone's throw from the cathedral when she began to think about her life. She'd lived many years so far, and had the sensation recently of being carried through them all. Her knees did not give out. Her steps were strong. She'd lived eight decades but had eyes like a child, filled with wonder. Each day was a new beginning. Each turn around a corner brought a new adventure. She looked forward to the coming day.
She was old. The church was older. In its lifetime it had changed more than she had. The faith at one time divided up into clusters, tiny groups of parishioners who believed one small thing over another small thing another group believed. But in these days the church was one united body. There was no place for discord, only worship, and no division, only reasons to sit together and pray.
She entered the building at the far end, as always overwhelmed by the amount of gold there. It sang like the sky and glimmered with its own light.
"Welcome," said a priest.