Last night, I had the pleasure of being behind a car with a license plate that simply read ECSTACY. The car was not a sports car or any cool car, it was a cross over vehicle, which is basically a minivan trying not to be a minivan.
I have so many questions about the license plate, the main one being “Why?” Most of the time when I see something that has me intrigued but I have no way of getting the answer, I just make up my own story.
I have not written a fiction short story on paper since I was probably nine; the stories usually are just kept in my head so this is a new one for me. I hope you enjoy the story I have created about the origin of this license plate.
Life had become mundane and routine for Rob and Lily, who live a typical suburban life. They have a single family home, three kids, a dog and overbearing in-laws (on both sides). Every day, the family wakes to little Emma crying at 5:30 am. Like robots, Rob and Lily roll out of bed in mismatched pajamas to start the day, exactly the same as the day before. The days go by without thought. No move is calculated. They go through the motions purely to make it to the next day.
Rob loves Lily more than he did the day he met her. She gave him three beautiful children and a dog, who is his partner in crime. And while the love remains, the monotony of the day has begun to wear on him. No longer are there things to look forward to and dream about as they lay their heads to sleep, like starting the rest of their lives together. Their life already started, and it’s the same thing day after day after day after day.
Lily is exhausted. She stays home with three kids under 5 and a dog that refuses to be house trained. Her day is spent cleaning up poop – human and pet – and trying to maintain some sort of order in their house. She is living life in the moment. She is too tired to think more than a minute in the future.
Each night when Rob returns home from his day job as an accountant, he and Lily embrace to give each other a short peck on the lips. It’s a brief moment that time stops for both of them. Life is pushed to the side as they express their love for each other. It’s a fleeting moment but an important one; because as soon as time starts again, the routine continues – dinner, bath time and bedtime stories.
Lily and Rob usually don’t make it more than a half hour past their kids bedtimes before passing out, exhausted from the day’s events.
“We should do something.” Lily said smiling at Rob. She was propped up on her elbow tracing his chest with her fingers. He was the most beautiful man she had ever seen.
“What do you mean?” Rob rolled over on his elbow matching her position.
“Oh, I don’t know…something exciting. We do the same thing every day. Let’s think of something to do to break the routine.”
Rob pulled Lily toward him, kissing her neck but she begrudgingly pulled away. His kisses had so much control over her.
“Not like that, Rob. I mean something more adventurous during the day or going on a date – something without the kids. I need to get away from life as a parent for a little bit and so do you. I want to be your wife. Will you let me be your wife?”
She let herself back into his arms soaking up his warmth. Despite the mundane days, she was still in love.
“I get what you’re saying and getting away would be nice. Let me think of some ideas.”
They were both struggling to stay awake. Lily was wrapped in his arms; her breathing getting heavier and regular. It was a familiar sound he always missed when she was away.
“And Lily,” Rob yawned, “you will always be my wife.”
It was a typical Wednesday night when Rob came skipping in the door home from work.
“Hey, you.” Lily gave him a quick peck on the lips before handing off Emma and going back to work on dinner. Rob followed her into the kitchen scooping up David with his free hand.
“Sooo, are you going to ask me why I am so happy tonight?”
“Why are you happy?” Lily asked flustered. Her day was long and all she wanted to do was sit down but there was still so much to do.
“I thought of our adventure. It’s happening tonight.”
“Tonight? Tonight isn’t a good night. I’m tired, Rob.”
“Trust me. You’ll like it. You finish dinner, and I’ll take care of everything else. I’ll clean up, put the kids to bed and you sit for a few minutes and get yourself together. Tonight, we’re escaping.”
Just as Rob came skipping in the door earlier that night, he came skipping down the stairs after the kids were asleep. He was clutching a small bag in his hand.
“Are you ready?” He asked Lily excitedly. His eyes were dancing in the light.
“I’m not sure. You have that mischievous look on your face. So tell me – what is this adventure?”
Rob held out his arm and opened his palm. Tucked inside his hand was a small bag of marijuana and a pipe.
“Noooo! Rob!” Lily was shouting in hushed whispers to not wake the kids. “We aren’t 20 anymore! We’re in our thirties and parents. Our kids are upstairs. We can’t get high! Seriously, have you lost your mind?”
“Oh come on, Lil! We used to do this all the time when we were younger. It was fun. Remember, how you used to giggle until you snorted? Come on, I want to hear the snort – take me away to another place, Mrs. Thomas.”
Lily wasn’t mad he brought home marijuana. It did sound fun but she couldn’t help thinking about her precious children upstairs. What if someone found out? Would they consider her a bad parent? She was looking at Rob as she thought about it. He was staring at her intently as if willing her to do it.
“Ugh, okay, let’s do it.” Lily grabbed their adventure tucked neatly in a plastic bag and skipped outside to get high.
Lily gripped her stomach in laughter. She couldn’t control the snorts. She wasn’t even sure what she was laughing at anymore, but she didn’t care. She hadn’t had this much fun in a long time.
Rob peered over at his wife as her belly ached in laughter. She was the funniest person he’d ever met.
“Okay, okay. I think I’m going to be okay.” Lily said giggling trying to compose herself. “I have a great idea, Mr. Thomas.”
“Better than this one?”
“It’s pretty good.”
“Okay, well you know how I’ve always wanted a personalized license plate? I think we should get one…and it should say….ECSTASY…yes, that’s it.” Now, Rob was the one laughing uncontrollably.
“Where do you come up with this stuff? Ecstasy? Why? It’s so weird.”
“I know, which is why I think it would be awesome – just like that star up there in the sky.”
“I think you are stoned, Mrs.Thomas.”
“Maybe, yes, maybe. But you know what? Tonight has been ecstasy. This is just what I needed. And, I’m serious about the plate. We should do it as a reminder.”
“As a reminder of what?”
“This moment…this moment in life.” Lily twirled in the yard, her arms outstretched and her face toward the sky.
“Rob, look at us. Sometimes, we just need an adventure and that plate will be it. Anytime, we need to escape that plate will remind us of tonight – it will be something that is ours, just ours.”
“Okay. Let’s do it.” Rob embraced Lily holding her shoulders back slightly so he could see her face.
“Have I ever told you that you are a complete and utter cheeseball?”
“All the time.” They looked at each other and broke into simultaneous giggles collapsing to the ground.
Rob and Lily stood back admiring the new vanity plate on their car while each raising a glass of wine.
“To life being an adventure.”