Anatol had a simple job.  He stands beside the mahogany double doors separating the parlor from the viewing room.

He is a tall man; blonde, trimmed hair that sits effortlessly on his head and the eyes that seem too rich and bright for the funereal profession.

Everyday he stands between the two rooms, staring respectfully from one end of the parlor to the other; warmly welcoming grievers into the viewing room where a beautifully embroidered box holds the remains of some other’s memory.  From Anatol’s position, his view is limited to a vase of red carnations sitting atop a marble mantel; conscious of, yet removed from the pallor scene in the adjacent room.  The smell of age and roses waft through the parlor and the sweet dirge from Aunt Anka’s accordion can be heard.

Come senility or calamity, Anatol remains beside the high arches, welcoming all with his respectful ardor as they pass through his egress.

It was a simple job, but those mahogany doors would seem cold and distant if it weren’t for Anatol’s tender presence.

 

 

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