Three hundred and sixty-five days ago, I was climbing the endless steps of Sacre Coeur in Paris. My wife was at my side. We paused on the 67th step, and, in the warm Parisian sun, we turned and looked back at the City of Lights. We kissed on that 67th step.
It was my 67th birthday.
Today, I am 68 years old and we are sitting in a cafe in Wells, England. This is in the county of Somerset. I think that’s a beautiful name…Somerset.
A few minutes ago we walked down the middle aisle of the nave of the Cathedral. We were approaching the great arches that somehow set this Cathedral apart from the other massive Gothic buildings we’ve seen.
I looked up at the simple vaulting on the ceiling. At my feet were large slabs of marble that marked and described the dead who are buried beneath the church. Organ music played quietly and with a simplicity that reflected the architecture. This place totally lacked the high grandeur of a Westminster Abbey.
We paused—68 steps along the nave. We happened to be standing on the grave of a married couple, dead now for centuries. They would rest beneath the floor until the Cathedral walls crumbled to the ground.
I turned and kissed my wife.
We would be together until the stones of our lives crumble.
I wonder where we will kiss when I turn 69 years old in 2016.