“I did it, I finally got them. Finally.” George glanced at the rear windshield of his car and imagined them there, neat and silent. When he got home, he could barely contain his excitement.
“Em. EM! I got them! The last ones! I told ya I’d get ’em!”
“You didn’t …” George opened the plastic bag to Emily, her eyes widened when she realized her husband had finally found them; she had always known him to be capable and true to his word but this surpassed her every expectation.
“Oh! Oh … hunny.” Her eyes glistened with happiness. “We can finally begin our family now!” Emily put on some Luther Vandross and together they began their family with every door and window in the house opened.
“The entire block should know that we’ve bought them!” The entire block was mostly disgusted by the pig like noises George made during sex.
Emily held their baby in her womb for 9 months and finally in her arms. Her eyes glistened with the same happiness she had found in George’s bag.
“I’m so proud of you, Em. She’s so beautiful. You’re so beautiful!” It was a wonderful moment for the two of them. The next day Emily was released from maternity, “I have a surprise for you!” George barely made it out of the elevator without spoiling.
“Oh, George! It’s beautiful!”
On the rear windshield were three smiling stick figures; George, Emily, and their beautiful daughter Fran.
“You fish?” Em was a little confused.
“It was the last male they had.”
Emily’s stick figure sticker wore a dress and red lipstick. Em wore lipstick on special occasions but certainly not regularly. If George settled for a fisherman, she could settle on some lipstick. Little Fran was a ballerina; she hadn’t been out of the womb 12 hours and she was already dancing.
George looked into the rear view mirror many times on their drive home, thinking of all the possibilities for their little Fran. The stick figure family was a symbol of everything possible for them, a reminder of this moment stuck to the lower right corner of their Chevrolet Suburban.
Years passed; Emily and George’s family and stick figures grew. Though the stickers never changed, their children grew and altered in front of their very eyes, or behind closed doors. When the second child, a boy named Sam, cashed in on his changing hormones and body with a girl he knew from school, George was very alarmed to find he’d inherited his same pig-like noise. His stick figure held a guitar at the neck that, at quick glance, looked less than innocent; it was pretty accurate.
Their children, it turned out, were fairly disappointing to them. Fran and Sam never went to college, they both took retail jobs with a thinly layered resentment that swirled around them; neither had any real hobbies, friends, or achievements to speak. Neither spoke openly about anything, they both grimly came home from a long day’s work, watched reality TV, and ate their parent’s food. When their mouths opened, it was to complain. When closed, they frowned. Emily and George never spoke openly about it but Emily was aware she had left her glistening happiness back in the hospital.
George looked at the stickers on glass and sighed every morning before going to work. The children grew and consumed more of their parent’s earnings, never trying, never succeeding, never failing, and never really living. The stick figures remained the same and became a memorial to George’s ultimate disappointment. All of Fran and Sam’s potential seemed stuck to the adhesive of the stickers. George and Emily continued through the monotony of life, giving all they could to their ungrateful, oinking children at the sacrifice of their own futures and happiness. George couldn’t bear to look at the damned things anymore and tried peeling them off, but was unable. The only thing that tore neatly off the glass was the fisherman’s smile. A second try at clawing off his fisherman face took only the eyes. The symbolism was lost on George, he a simple man. The rest of proud stick family remained silently staring at George as he drove to and from work.