When the sun was still young in the blue cloudless sky, the old man made his way to the small café. He may have moved with a slow, stumbling limp but his pale green eyes shun like tiny emeralds, examining all they looked upon. Walking in the bright rain washed streets of early morning always reminded him of his childhood and he was fond of taking his time, savouring the colours and scents of the old city like a vintage wine. Sparrows twitted and sprang between the branches of the lime trees, singing happily to each other.
The streets would remain thus tranquil until about seven, after which time crowds thronged the main thoroughfares and boulevards, a bustling, speeding swarm. He had plenty of time till then; the sun was not yet visible above the sunken roof of the small Methodist Chapel, long since derelict and ruinous even in the time of his childhood.
Jacob Heinz had lived all of his life within the fortified walls of the old city. Its wide stone pavements and verdant street corners spoke for him now, welcoming him with every slow step. His hands felt the brush of the rosebushes and the smooth cool wall tops, his leather shoes made a tapping sound on the clean wet cobbles. Whistling to the rhythm of his steps, the old man felt happiest at this time of the day, when the slow ebb and flow of the streets seemed to echo the soft internal beat of his own sense of well being. Recently he had been feeling better than he had felt for a long long time.
Two weeks latter, as Jacob’s nephew closed his uncle’s coffin, he fell to reflecting on the old man’s final days, and how his uncle had no idea the end was quite near.