'There's something about eighty,' said the old woman, 'that frees one from mortality. How strange to think there was once a time when I feared death. But that was only a symptom. For what I feared was the metaphysically unknown. A life filled with 'withouts.' And now, I know what my life has been, and there is no need to fear 'withouts' — in fact there never was. 'My days are narrow things to my age-young dreams. And the strangest thing of all is that I am content to sit and talk to you, cat.'