• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 07

On Sealed Wardrobes, Pressed Persons, and Life Linens

The dry cleaner closed early. Most nights by six. Large block letters in red and yellow print hugged the clean glass. OPEN – 6 to 6. CLOSED – 6 to 6. Symmetry in life, hems, and halos. Racks of freshly laundered, freshly pressed cloth wrapped in clear plastic-lined metal hangers attached to motorized mazes. Silent stories. Storied silence. If clothes could speak, what tales would they tell?

Just yesterday, I passed by the building at a quarter to six. A young girl stood on the carpeted platform, to the right of the glass front door. Both smudge free. She appeared to float – above bales of dark green silk and woven twine. Elastic bands gathered at her ankles. I believe I saw one snap. Pins and pinafores dispersed. Patterns, too.

The girl began to fumble, then flap – both arms and legs. No time to either hem or haw. She hovered somewhere in the space between Here and There. The wrapped garments jumped with wild anticipation. Paper wrap pranced. Faux leopard buttons roared. Wools tangoed with cottons.

Suddenly, the ceiling opened – its mouth wide, the color of craisins. A large circular fan, lodged in the room’s far left corner, rumbled. The girl and the garments flew. Wrapped linens along with stapled owner tags – logged for Tuesday to Thursday pick-ups, too.

Moments later, a slight hand rotated the laminated sign that was affixed to the cleaner’s front glass door. OPEN turned to CLOSED. The ceiling once again sealed. A vacuum guzzled in the distance – and the dark. Dust bunnies scattered and scrambled. Supper time. Time for super-sized suppositions. The clock struck one minute past the top of the hour. The dry cleaner closed early. Most nights by six.