What a day! I’ve been slaving over a hot photocopier all morning, interrupted only by the endless drip-drip of people who need “just one copy.” Thank God it’s only two weeks before I blow this joint and head back to school. Endure, Alison, endure.
In the break room the smell of coffee and fresh muffins cheer me up, as does the morning sun streaming through the window and the low rumble of thunder. As I pull out a coffee cup my brain registers something amiss.
I look out the window –rain and sunshine?– and stop. There’s a spherical hole outlined by sparks as raindrops fizzle against it. Inside the anti-sphere is a woman with her arms and legs splayed to the sides and her hair flowing in an inaudible gale. The glow from her body is the source of the “sunlight”. She’s looking in the window and right into my eyes.
I stare transfixed as she drifts toward the window, towards me. Her body touches the window and moves through it as though it isn’t there. She’s still staring into my eyes but now I can recognize her; she’s me!
Panic clutches my heart; I don’t know why but I have to get away from her. This has to be a dream. I’ve got to wake up. No, I have to run.
I’m out of the break room before my dropped cup hits the floor. I can feel the steady thump-thump of my shoes on the carpet keeping pace with my pounding heart.
I run through the cubicle farm, randomly turning left and right at each intersection. I glance back and see her head moving along about three cube-lengths behind me. She’s not running but somehow she’s still keeping up.
I reach the straightway of the main aisle and sprint up it, dodging other people who slowly start clearing a path. Freddie the mailboy is facing the other way and I knock him as I brush past.
“Hey, what’s with the… Holy Anime Batman!”
At the end of the main I try to turn but I’m running too fast. I slam into the photocopier hard enough to shift it. The wind is knocked out of me as I fold at the waist and slam my face onto the document feeder.
I lever myself up and turn. She’s right in front of me. I try to scream but it comes out a whimper. She reaches a hand out for me.
A lifetime of memories wash my mind like a tidal wave: college, doctorate, research, growing old, regrets, loneliness, the machine, hope, fear, anticipation, explosion, chasing… boom!
She’s gone. I lean on the copier, my breath in ragged gasps.
“Are you okay, Ali-cat?” Freddie is staring into my eyes. “What happened to glowing you?”
I shake my head and blink a couple of times. “I think my future just caught up with me. But this time I’m not going it alone.”
I kiss him.