The Bereaved

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By J. Hardy Carroll

Her expression is wrong. And her hair. For the first time, he is glad she is dead. This would have upset her.

He goes to the bathroom to wash his hands. They smell like the funeral director’s oily aftershave – flowers and death. He washes them twice, sniffs his fingers. The smell won’t go away.

He never should’ve shaken the man’s hand, but there really wasn’t a choice.

He wants to change the arrangements, go closed casket. His shoes sink into the red carpet, making no noise.

Through the closed walnut door he hears the funeral director call him “the bereaved.”

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