Two lemons to be exact. Two lemons of little note. Exactly the way the two of them wanted it. For the most part…
“What do I care?” Grem whined in his shrill voice. “It’s better off they never notice us. We aren’t supposed to be noticed, remember?”
“You’re always so dramatic,” complained Acer. “I’m bored and this is getting old. Nobody ever notices us anyways.” And so went the argument they were having once again, an argument they seemingly had almost every single day. If it was up to Grem they would stay out of the spotlight and never have any fun, but Acer wanted more. Acer wanted a life that was more than just hiding. They were always hiding! Hiding as if they were criminals.
The two of them actually being criminals was not the point, thought Acer.
“How about we just test the waters and see what’s out there?” asked Acer.
“That’s not our life. That’s not who we are,” stated Grem as if this was absolute.
“The little one’s noticed us, you know?” Acer said with a nervous, sidelong glance.
“I know,” grumbled Grem in frustration. “He’s had his on eye us for a while now. We have to watch out for that one.”
Much to Acer’s delight, it didn’t take long for Grem’s suspicions to prove true. Before either of them knew what was happening, they found themselves pulled directly into the spotlight. First by just the little one, but eventually by the bigger one too. They quickly became the cream of the crop and nobody else could touch them.
Them, at the top. Them, two lemons.
“I wonder what Mr. Lightning Bolt thinks about all this?” cackled Grem one day in a tone that almost suggested he was happy for once.
“I think you’re beginning to enjoy this,” teased Acer. An “I told you so” nearly following on his lips, but he bit his tongue so as not to ruin their fun.
“Yeah, yeah. Maybe it’s not so bad after all.”
They went everywhere, saw everything and were treated like kings. They raced in the biggest races, “pumed” all of their enemies, ate at the fanciest restaurants and slept in the most comfortable beds. These two lemons of little note were on the ride of their lives and it had no signs of stopping.
Until it did stop.
Like a carpet being pulled out from under their feet, it was over just as quickly as it started. As sudden as someone turning out the lights. They were left behind with no explanation and as far as they could tell, nobody was coming back for them.
“I told you that wasn’t our life. That wasn’t who are are.”
“Someday, old buddy,” replied Acer solemnly. “Someday they’ll come back for us.”
We’ve emptied out every toy bin, cleared every shelf and checked every draw in the playroom. We’ve looked under all the seats in our cars, searched the garage and scoured the yard. And most recently we cut the fabric from the bottom of our couches to see if they ended up “falling” between the gaps in the frame.
They did not.
Then, just the other day and after already having the rough draft of this story completed, we found an over-sized cement mixer in the closet and noticed there was something in its drum. A lot of somethings. As I started to extract the items it became clear the drum was full of Matchbox cars! Grem and Acer HAD TO be in there. Pretty soon my entire family gathered around and one by one the little toy cars saw the light of day for the first time in who knows how long. About 15 cars in all.
None of them Grem. None of them Acer.
Grem and Acer went from Matchbox car obscurity, to celebrities, to missing legends. We have no idea where they are and questions of their whereabouts are posed at least weekly, often daily, by our two boys.
This has been going on for almost a year now.
But, in an adult world full of complications often beyond our desire to comprehend or digest, the simplicity of two Matchbox cars gone missing being one of the biggest disappointments in our boys’ lives is something to appreciate.
What’s something that I’ve learned from parenthood, one might ask?
That it’s all about trying to find Grem and Acer.