One does not often sing the praises of their apartment building’s manager.  You don’t really hear people talk about their building manager unless it’s to complain, right?

Two nights ago, my best friend knocked on my door.  I’m fortunate enough that she lives in my building; when she and her boyfriend were looking to move to Los Angeles, they stayed in my studio while searching.  That weekend, the three of us ran into my building manager, Avner, in the hallway. I explained that if he saw them coming in and out of my apartment, not to worry…that they were simply guests of mine.  He asked what size apartment they were looking for, and showed them a two bedroom right down the hall from me.  They took it, and I’ve never been more grateful for serendipity.

So two nights ago, my best friend knocks on my door. “Did Avner die?”

I’m fortunate that death doesn’t sneak up on me often.  My grandparents passed before I was cognizant, great aunts and uncles have taken their time and their dying is a relief with respect to their suffering.  That being said, when someone dies, it’s a shock.

Someone had posted a memorial notice in the elevator, and that’s how Valerie found out.  I hadn’t taken the elevator that day.  We did some quick research and discovered that he took a heart attack in his apartment.  By the time we’d found out what had happened, the service had been taken place and his body was on it’s way back to Israel.  I was surprised to find that he was 70 years old.

He was the best.  He lived in this building for 18 years.  He decorated our lobby for various holidays with such enthusiasm.  He responded to any service request immediately.  He couldn’t stand the same tenants that frustrated me.  He wore funny silly little tank tops.  He washed Valerie’s dishes after fixing her kitchen sink….just because.  My dog was in love with him.  He was an actor, and seemed to be really, truly happy with the path he’d chosen for himself.  On Facebook, he listed his job as “Self employed and loving it!!”.  The last I saw him, he was installing stripping on the fire door between mine and Valerie’s apartments, to dampen the sound of the slam.  I remarked to Valerie that what the door really needed was WD-40, and to his credit, he had a can of it on the ladder with him.

I keep thinking I’m going to hear him in the halls.  I keep thinking that when I drop off my rent check, I’ll smell him cooking dinner.  I keep wondering who is going to take care of me now.

He was a wonderful person, and I’m going to miss him immensely.

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