“Ouch, my ankle!”
Paula turned to see the woman next to her begin to stumble. “Here, sit down,” she said, offering her arm in support. ” I’m a retired nurse – let me take a look.”
“Please do. I tripped on the uneven paving – but that’s ruined amphitheatres for you,” the woman grumbled.
“Looks like you’ll need ice to reduce the swelling and a supportive bandage,” Paula said. “Rest; keep your leg elevated.”
“I didn’t come to Turkey to rest, but thanks.” The stranger struggled to her feet. “I’ve seen you in our Kiwi Tour Group of course, but I don’t know your name.”
“I’m Paula – from Wanganui.”
“Wanganui?” The other woman stared, surprised. “You’re not … weren’t … Paula Hope, by chance?” She continued as Paula nodded. “I’m Diana Smith. Remember me?”
“Diana! Of course I remember,” Paula said. ”I wouldn’t forget my best friend at Sunday School. I really missed you when your family moved away.”
“I missed you getting us into mischief.”
Paula laughed. “It sure caused chaos, putting that weta in the collection bag! But Diana, what have you been doing all these years?”
“Topped the corporate ladder. The countless hours were worth it though; now my investments give me security and I can travel, do what I please.”
“I married, but my husband Luke died five years ago.”
“Oh,” Diana’s voice sounded awkward. “I’m sorry.”
“It was tough,” Paula admitted. “But God got me through.”
“God? I stopped believing in God long ago.” Diana almost snorted. “Christians are money-grabbing busybodies. Remember those Bible stories? Even back then Apostle Paul was causing riots right here in Ephesus, coercing people from worshipping Artemis, bankrupting the silver smiths. I think Christians should leave people be.”
Paula pointed to Diana’s ankle. “Even if they’re hurting?” she asked.