He opened the door and extended his hand. His shake definitely wasn’t a cold fish nor was it a vice. His grip was impersonal if there is such a thing. His hands felt dry and chalky. They weren’t the hard working or hard playing hands of a young man. These were manicured hands. The nails contained no polish, yet buffed to a high gloss.
“Come in.” His voice showed no sentiment at all. He was, I suppose 35 going on 60. Each word seemed handpicked as needed. Not one was wasted. Each served its purpose. Each syllable conceivably coming from a small daily allocation. This was apparent by how cautious he chose each.
I soon learned he spoke more contentedly with his hands. They appeared to be much more at ease than his constricted tongue. He touched my shoulder nonchalantly .It felt as if a feather had fallen on it.
“This way please.” His hand spoke, guiding me to the closed-door room. When we arrived, again as if deprived of speech he opened both doors and gestured me in the direction of the casket. I could feel his feather like hand on my shoulder. He must have supposed without some coaxing, I might turn and run.
I was now contemplating what my mother was once. I examined her like a cast-off coat placed gently in the closet for its last time. My mother had gone on leaving only this old worn garment behind for us to morn.
I noticed the feather light hand was no longer on my shoulder. I looked around and saw the death merchant now standing quietly in the back of the room. His hands were now hushed each holding tightly to the other.
I chose to look over my shoulder at the merchant since it was less painful than looking down. He stood there with his pale skin and pale gray suite on staring at his own feet with his pale gray eyes. I still knew that by some means he was watching me. Maybe I was a reflection in his highly polished shoes.
Throughout the next hour or so, he was there but never there. I never heard him speak, yet when the time come to move I felt his feather light fingers.
This merchant of death gave me no contentment. This death merchant took none from me.

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  1. A beautiful piece. It is interesting to watch them, as they are a kind of gatekeeper between our world and the next…

    Again, my condolences to you and your family.

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