Annabelle lay on the beach, running her toes through the soft sand and letting the cool ocean air warm her face. Next to her lay Antonio, or as Annabelle liked to call him, the man of her dreams. 6'2", tall, dark, successful, handsome. All women wanted to be with him, all men wanted to be him.
"More champagne?" says Antonio as he fills her glass to the brim.
"This has just been one perfect date" whispers Annabelle as the two move closer. “I can’t believe how amazing this day has been.”
“It’s about to get even better” says Antonio pulling a tiny blue box from his back pocket.
Getting on one knee, Antonio opens the box revealing a dazzling 14K white diamond wedding ring. “Will you be my wife?” asks Antonio apprehensively.
“Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!” screams Annabelle.
Antonio carefully places the ring on Annabelle’s finger as they embrace. As they move to kiss, the sound of a familiar loud buzzing fills Annabelle’s ears. BZZZ.
“Did you hear that?” she asks. BZZZZZ.
“What is that sound?” BZZZZZZZZ.
Morning sunshine seeped through Annabelle’s window sills and splashed onto her face, forcing her to open her eyes to the loud buzzing of her alarm clock.
“7:30 already?” sighed Annabelle.
Annabelle was an average woman. 5’6”, 110 pounds, dark brown eyes, short black hair. Average office job, average-sized apartment, average lifestyle. Yet, as average as she was, she had less than average experience when it came to men. She only had one boyfriend her entire life, Toshido, the boy she took to her high school prom. Luckily for Annabelle, Toshido was a foreign-exchange student from Japan who spoke no English other than “Where are the bathrooms?” and, even more luckily, had no idea what he was saying yes to.
She was never one to have love interests. She was always too preoccupied with homework to pursue a boyfriend in college, and too preoccupied with work to pursue a boyfriend at the office. Besides, no man in particular had ever captured Annabelle’s attention. Until the day Antonio, the 32-year-old mail boy, arrived in the elevator on Annabelle’s floor. Countless times did Annabelle try to begin a conversation with him. But they always began with “Sometime, do you maybe wanna…” and always ended in “…get me some more toner from the supply closet?”
Annabelle followed her average, mundane routine like every other day. Teeth brushed, showered, dressed, quick stop at Starbucks for a latte, and off to her average everyday job at the business office downtown. Back to typing, back to pushing numbers on a copy machine, back to crunching numbers into a calculator, back to faxing random documents, back to the endless downward spiral she called life. That is until, one day, Annabelle decided to interrupt her daily routine to make a quick stop at the pet shop to pick up some food for her pet tabby, Sparky. Walking down the aisle looking for her cat’s favorite brand, she noticed someone peeking through the hamster feed from the next aisle.
“Hello?” Annabelle asked. No response.
“Hmm, that’s odd.” She shrugged it off and continued walking until she noticed the same head staring at her from the end of the aisle.
“Excuse me? Do you need something?” Still no response. More cautiously now, Annabelle walked faster into another aisle from across the store, to keep from being followed.
“Phew”, sighed Annabelle, “that was creepy.” Until, all of a sudden, she spots the same familiar top of a woman’s head from one aisle down.
“Look, buddy, if you keep following me, I’ll call the police” warned Annabelle. The woman stepped out of the shadows to reveal herself, an exact clone of Annabelle.
“AHHH!” Annabelle screamed from the top of her lungs.
“Shhhhh! Quiet!” whispered the woman. “I know this is kind of a shock, but I need you to keep your voice down. I’ll explain everything.”
“Who are you?! What’s your name?! And why do you look like exactly like me?!” screamed Annabelle.
“Shut up and I’ll tell you!” interjected the woman, clearly annoyed now. “Listen. I’m you. From the future. I’m Annabelle from the year 2049. And I’m here to save you from the endless cycle of torment that is your life.”
“What? Save me? From what? I’m perfectly content with my life” she said.
“Annabelle, remember, I’m you. Lying doesn’t exactly work with me” said the woman.
“Okay, well, maybe my life isn’t exactly the life of a daredevil. But that doesn’t explain what you’re doing here. Save me from what?” she asked.
“In the year 2049, you’re a lonely hermit cut off from society. No husband, no job, nothing. You live in a dusty old apartment with 19 cats. The only dresses you own are ones you find at garage sales for a dollar. You’re only friends are the cats and the disgusting perverted 45-year-old man living next door. You’re a pathetic old woman with no life. I’m here to save you from all that” said the woman.
“No husband? No job? Hermit?” asked Annabelle stunned.
“Yes. If you continue living the life you lead now, yes. All of the above. But it’s not too late. You can change all of that. Right now” says the woman.
“Oh gosh. Okay. I see now. I know what I need to do know. I’m gonna quit my job. I’m gonna get out of my apartment. I’m gonna move. To New York. Italy. Rome. Anywhere. I’m gonna change. I promise” she said.
“Wow. You’re even a bigger idiot than me in 40 years” laughed the woman.
“Excuse me? I know you’re me but that doesn’t mean I can’t punch you right in the face” Annabelle asserted.
“Sorry. I just mean, the lifestyle changes don’t have to be completely that drastic all at one time. You don’t have to go from average Joe to Paris Hilton in two seconds. You need some balance in your life.” said the woman.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“I mean, balance between work and your social life. Working hard each day doesn’t mean you can give up fun altogether. And having a few flings here and there on the weekends doesn’t mean you have to give up your day job either. Balance. You can make gradual changes along the way. Instead of sitting at home watching re-runs of “Gilmore Girls” every Friday night, maybe you can go out to a bar for a drink or two. Instead of going home straight after work each day, maybe you can go catch a movie. Be a little spontaneous. Have some variety in your life. Leading the same mundane routine each day is no way to live. Do something different with your life. Go out. Go party. Have some fun every once in a while. Remember, a wise man once said: ‘That's what life is, repetitive routines. It's a matter of finding the balance between deviating from those patterns and knowing when to repeat them’” said the woman.
“Well, what’s the first thing I can do?” she asked.
“For one, you can finally ask that cute copy boy out on a date” said the woman.
Anabelle nodded silently.
“Well, I can see my work here is done. Good luck” she said.
“Wait! I still have one question,” said Anabelle, “if you’re from the future, why do you still look like the way I do in the present?”
“Oh, well, this cosmetics company developed this special cream that reverses the effects of aging on the skin. It's truly revolutionary. You should see what they did to Snooki” laughed the woman, taking a small disc out of her back pocket, which transformed into a full-sized platform.
The woman stepped onto the platform as it exploded into a huge colorful array of yellow and blue lights, vanishing her into thin air. Anabelle, stunned about the events that just happened, wondered whether or not she was hallucinating. She hung onto the words “hermit” and “no husband” as she made her way to her office. She sat down at her desk, still astounded, and began work.
“Hey there, stranger.”
Annabelle heard a voice behind her. She turns around and sees Antonio, holding a small brown box.
“This package is for you. Can you sign for it?” he asked.
“Sure.” She signed the clipboard and took the package from him.
“Okay, thanks. See you tomorrow” said Antonio as he turned his back to leave.
“Antonio, wait!” she yelled.
“Yeah? You need something?” he asked
“No not really. Umm, I was just uh, wondering. If you’d maybe…tonight…I mean, you can say ‘no’ if you want to, but um just if you… wanted to have dinner or something?”
“Oh, finally. It took you long enough” he laughed.
“Wait, what?!” she gasped.
“Haha, I’ve waiting months for you to ask me out. I may be a delivery guy but I’m not stupid. No one needs that much toner in one week” he said.
“Oh…well…then this is a little awkward” she giggled.
“Sure is” he says. “Well, I’ve got to make my next delivery. But I’ll see you tonight at around 8."
“Sounds good, bye!” she said with a smile.
She resumed back to her work at her desk, but can’t help but having an ear-to-ear grin throughout the day.
“Hey, you alright?” asked Lindsay, Annabelle’s co-worker.
“Yeah, perfectly fine. Why?” she asked.
“You seem…a little…off today” she said.
“I’m just making some changes” said Annabelle, still with a smile.
------------------ twelve months later -----------------------
“Today has been just perfect” said Annabelle.
“Yeah, I know” said Antonio.
“I mean, you see these kinds of dates in movies and TV shows and stuff, but you never think they actually exist” she said.
The two lay on the beach, overlooking the sunset.
“This dinner you made was really amazing. What kind of marinade did you use for this salmon?” she asked, turning her back to reach into the picnic basket.
“I mean this is really good, could you give me the recipe or – “ she turned around and stopped, stunned by Antonio, on one knee, holding out a 14K white diamond wedding ring.
“Will you marry me?” he asked.
“Oh! Oh Yes! Yes! I will!” she exclaimed.
Antonio puts the ring on Anabelle’s finger and the two began to kiss until - BZZZZZZZ.
“What was that?” asked Anabelle
“Aw crap, not this again”.
“Oh, sorry, that was just my cell phone. Let me turn it off” he said.
“Oh… oh thank goodness!” she sighed.
“What?” he asked.
“Oh nothing,” laughed Anabelle, “just kiss me.”
The two kiss under the sunset, and live happily ever after.