i hadn’t been to the dry cleaners in a really long time. made lots of attempts, but never seemed to make it there. this started to become a problem, because i was missing some of my favorite clothing items. i also knew that i needed to go and see if any of Jarronn’s clothes were still there. i wondered if the people at the dry cleaners had been trying to call Jarronn’s phone to get him to pick up his unclaimed items. his phone that i leave turned off, yet still pay the bill for.
last night i cleared out a box of items from Jarronn’s car. i found a dry cleaners receipt for 7/27/09. three days before he died. i knew his clothes must have been there.
i took my bundle of clothes into the shop. it’s owned by a married korean couple. the husband asked for my phone number. i asked him to change my name in the computer to “jackson.” his wife sorted and counted my items. i handed her the receipt for Jarronn’s clothes and wondered if i might make it out before having to tell her about him. i figured she might not have remembered we were married.
but she did.
those who were at Jarronn’s memorial service might remember me talking about how much everyone loved him. “even the people at the dry cleaners.” Jarronn would frequently tell me how much he liked this particular shop. how they knew exactly how to lightly starch his shirts. how he’d greet them in korean. how they were christians. how they were always happy to see him. i once picked up his clothes, shortly after we got married. i gave the woman the first three digits of his phone number, and before i could finish, she exclaimed, “mr. jackson! oh yes, he is [our] #1 customer!” of course, i smiled. he was my #1 too. when i got home and told Jarronn, he smiled ear-to-ear and laughed so hard. probably said something like, "i love my people."
so when i stood there today, and she said, “your husband, mr. jackson hasn’t been here in a long time,” i had to swallow hard. i told her he had died in july. that it was a motorcycle. i'm not sure she understood my english. her husband came up front, and i told him the same thing. they were shocked. and saddened. and sorry. i told them how much he loved coming there and thanked them for always taking such good care of him. i wished we could have said more to each other, but the language barrier got in the way. the husband carried Jarronn’s clothes out to my car.
as i drove off, a couple of tears fell. wish i could be taking those clothes home to him. wonder when i’m supposed to pick up mine…