A happy memory

When I was young my parents owned a dry cleaning business, and in the back there were dozens of large boxes full of hangers. The boxes were stored two-deep, so I would split the boxes and create a small room in which to play. I didn’t pretend it was a house, but rather an office. And in that office, I had a colleague named Mr. Hong who I distinctly remember as being Asian.

I don’t know what business we conducted, but I do remember we talked about important things in that office, because that’s what offices are for. I remember talking about money, but not in definite terms but rather in vague adjective like ‘a lot’ and ‘a little.’ And I remember eating crackers in the office, because everyone needs a break.

I remember being happy and relaxed, which in retrospect is incredible because all around me there were dry cleaning chemicals and industrial-sized steam presses and the constant clanking of washing machine drums. The worst thing that ever happened was an earthquake, or maybe it was the time I put my uncle’s cigarette in my mouth. But even during those times, I felt safe.

And the next morning, I would come back again with my parents and crawl between those boxes, and Mr. Hong would already be there and business would still be good and cracker time would always be at 10 a.m. I’m sure at some point I was bored or lonely, and one time I apparently ironed my hand in the steam press. But I don’t remember any of that; I just remember being comfortable, and I remember the sheer excitement when my dad came to find me in between the boxes because it was time to go home.

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