Before her, the last crowd was passing through the gates.

She was behind them all, so far behind as to be alone.

She needed to get through those gates before they closed for the night.

She limped ahead, leaning on her staff.

She was close to the gates but they were shutting.

And then they held.

A gate-guard, who she hardly saw, but who she heard – “Come on through, Mother.”

She stumbled at the entrance, but steadied herself, grasping the ebony of the held-open gate.

She skipped the last few feet as though she wasn’t one-hundred-and-three.