She chuckled every time she got into her van as she wondered why she still had that damn license plate on its rear. Why she hadn’t just traded it in years ago? Her husband and kids assumed it was because she loved the song (which she did) but that wasn’t the reason behind it. Some mornings when Tiffany was at her whiniest, complaining about her closet filled with brightly colored Abecrombie and Juicy Couture outfits, Linda dreamed of dropping the bomb. But she never did.
It was already a lifetime ago, a lifetime long before marriage and kids. It was a part of her, like the long closed up piercing on her eyebrow that she tells her friends was earned in a brutal fall years earlier. Other than the license plate and that scar, there were no witnesses to her youthful indiscretions. She had moved far away, tossed away all the photographic evidence. Once she had decided to accept the role of Mrs. Martin Chase, she had given it all she had, willingly releasing the hold the past once had on her.
Mrs. Martin Chase, hah, what a joke that had turned out to be. Married to the richest family in the region should have been a blessing. Never again having to worry about money or creditors, letting someone else be responsible for her happiness. Martin had seemed like a godsend at the time.
They had met when she interviewed for a secretarial job at the Company. She had come dressed for the part – no black nailpolish or lipstick, her outfit subdued but had once been fashionable. Linda had been scheduled to meet with someone from Human Resources, but Martin had spotted her as she exited her black VW bug.
“Nice plates! I love that song!”
Linda had looked at him oddly, trying to figure out what song he was talking about. It hit her quickly, ‘Sweet Emotion.’
“Um, yeah, great song.”
He had reached out his hand to shake hers, holding it a little too long for her comfort.
“I’m Marty Chase, I run this place since dad retired last year. I know I look too young to be running a fifty million a year company, but dad trained me well.” He looked her over, his eyes lingering over the swell of her breast, “You must be the girl they sent to fill Sandi’s spot.”
“I’m not sure. I’m Linda, I’m here to interview for an executive secretary spot.”
“Yup, that would be the one. I’m not sure it would be suitable for someone as special as you.”
Linda’s heart dropped, she was counting on this job. The bill collectors were at the door and if she didn’t start bringing home a decent salary, they’d repossess her car and most of her life. “I’m not that special,” she remembers answering.
He chuckled. “I’m joking with you. I think you’d be a perfect fit and will be sure to tell Holly that on one condition.”
She looked at him confused, “what condition?”
“Dinner with me tonight. I’ve been looking for someone like you for a long time.”
She had gotten the job, gone to dinner with Marty. Three months later, she had given up the job for a better position, that of Mrs. Martin Chase. Her new job entailed looking good, dressing right, entertaining Marty and his colleagues and keeping her husband happy. It wasn’t an intellectual challenge, but it beat worrying about bills.
Sometimes, she wondered what her high school friends would think of her life now – money, leisure, a fifteen year old princess and a ten year old jock. She read her hometown paper on line, no one there knew how to find her. Even is she showed up, they’d never recognize her without the black shoe polish black hair and the studded leather collar she used to wear to classes. Those were the days, she sighed, thinking about those amazing Jawbreaker shows. Her record collection, her combat boots and her piercings had all been sacrificed to the duel alter of conformity and marrying money. The only remnant of that life was her treasured license plate.
Now that she thought about it, the only thing funnier than appearing at the reunion would be to explain to her husband and kids that her license plate meant exactly what it said, SWEET EMO.
She got into her van, and slid in her special cd, cranked The Smiths to eleven and took off for her carpool duties.
By: Lauren J. Walter May 25, 2009