Adalyn Clarke is completely confused when she wakes up in 2112. Everything is new and updated, and she doesn’t know how to work anything. Her husband and children have to show her the newest things and she desperately tries to learn.
“Adalyn. Adalyn. Time to get up.” Adalyn Clarke’s eyes opened slowly. Huh? Bolting up into a sitting position, she starred at it. A robot? She looked around. This is not my room. As the robot rolled away, she looked around the large bedroom.
“Honey, I’ll be back late tonight,” a voice cut through her thoughts. She stared at her husband as he quickly finished reading the last few sentences in a certain column in the newspaper. Peering over his shoulder, she read the year–2112. “The office is having one of those dinner meetings about the space tours tonight, so I won’t be back until after dinner,” he stated, distracted.
“Space tours?” she questioned.
Looking up, he raised an eyebrow. “…Honey, I’ve been telling you about this for weeks. The project…tours in space. Around the planets, remember?”
Deciding to go along with him, she agreed, “Oh yeah, that.” Still confused, she shrugged her shoulders and mocked herself. “Of course, yeah, tours around the planet…for anyone. Yep, well, that’s just great–dandy.”
Looking at her peculiarly, Dylan turned and stepped through the steel door, which automatically recessed into the wall as he stepped toward it.
Since when did we have a door like that? Shaking her head, Adalyn stared at her reflection in the thin piece of steel. Slowly stepping forward, she examined it closely, leaning in. How does this work… As she looked at the sides, the door quickly vanished into the wall and she stumbled backwards, clumsily falling to the carpeted floor.
I have a daughter? “Yes?” she replied, rubbing her head and standing up slowly.
“What were you doing?”
“Oh, that, um…I was just, uh…nothing,” she stuttered. “Did you want something?” she asked.
“Yeah, can you put the breakfast order in? Ever since Timmy broke Frinda, Daddy said we can’t use her till we’re teenagers,” she stated begrudgingly.
Apparently I have a son too. But… “Frinda?”
“Our refrigerator, silly,” she giggled at her mother’s strange behavior.
“Oh yeah, right…um, how did he break it…or, her?”
“Mommy!” Defensive and upset, she argued, “You know that wasn’t my fault! I told him not to but he just wouldn’t–”
“Never mind,” Adalyn stopped her, holding up her hands in surrender. “Alright, give me a few seconds to get dressed.”
As her daughter, still nameless, walked away, dark curls bouncing, Adalyn turned to find her clothes.
Stepping toward the large chest of drawers, the bedroom door slid into the wall, closing, and she turned to look at it once again. How do I lock the door? After several seconds of looking for a button or switch, she concluded it must take orders. “…lock,” she commanded unsurely. Not certain if the door had locked, she grabbed some jeans and a tee-shirt and changed in the walk-in closet. “Okay, you know what?” she reasoned with herself. “I’m either dreaming or…something else is going on. So, I know I have a husband, but apparently I have two children…as far as I know. But that’s okay. I can do this. Yeah.” Trying to build confidence, she stepped out of the closet and headed for the door. However, the door did not open and she brutally collided with its hard surface, her toes and nose taking most of the blow as she fell backwards once again. Half laughing at herself out of pure embarrassment and half cringing at her aching foot and face, she stood up unsteadily. “Unlock?” she questioned. Immediately, the wall devoured the sheet of steel. Rolling her eyes and hoping her nose wouldn’t bruise up too badly, she made her way to the kitchen.
Wow, this is nice. She looked around at the large stove, interesting fridge, and strange dining room table. “Alright, what do you two want to eat?” Opening the fridge door she began, “Looks like we have…too much. Look how deep this fridge is! I’m going to have to pull everything out to know–”
The two children burst out laughing. “No, Mommy!” Adalyn smiled, eyebrows raised and eyes widening; apparently they thought she was joking.
“Well, why don’t you show me how to do it,” she asked the little girl, still unsure of her name.
“But why does Tonya get to do everything?” Timmy, her little boy, interrupted.
So that’s her name. “Well, how about I promise that you can do it tomorrow. Sound okay?”
Smiling approvingly, he nodded his head. As Tonya proudly walked around the little island, she grabbed the fridge handle and closed the door. “What can you make for us, Frinda?”
Adalyn’s eyes slowly shifted towards Tonya as Frinda responded in a choppy, robotic voice. Pictures appeared on a small touch screen. “Today’s options are: omelets, Danish rolls, over easy eggs, waffles, pancakes…”
Selecting the picture depicting pancakes, Tonya also plugged in the number of pancakes and which sides they wanted – fruit and bacon.
Ten minutes later, they sat at the kitchen table, eating warm pancakes, fresh, cool fruit, and crispy bacon. “So, what are we doing today?” Adalyn posed.
“I thought you said we could go to the ocean aquarium?”
“Oh, did I?” Though Adalyn had no clue as to what the ocean aquarium was, she agreed, shrugging her shoulders. “Ok, sounds great! Are you both dressed and ready to go?” she smiled.
“So am I!” Timmy chimed in, jumping up and down. His blonde hair matched Dylan’s and she noticed that he had Dylan’s brown eyes as well.
“Why don’t you go get in the car while I put these plates in the sink and give them a quick rinse,” Adalyn suggested.
“Sinks are for old houses, Mommy.”
Looking around, Adalyn realized there was no sink. “…well, how do we wash them?”
“You’re silly, Mommy. Come on, let’s go!” Racing to the car, they left her behind, still holding the little pile of dishes.
“Well, I suppose I can do them later,” she mumbled. Setting them back down, she walked away, following the laughter of Tonya and Timmy.
Eight hours later, at five o’clock that evening, Adalyn, Tonya, and Timmy walked through the front door, worn out from the day at the ocean aquarium.
“That was so cool,” Tonya awed, slumping into a kitchen chair.
“I love sharks!” Timmy said, creeping up behind Tonya and scaring her out of her seat.
“Stop it! I hate those things. What did you like best Mommy?”
Adalyn barely heard her daughter ask the question. Wow… “Well, um…the dolphins, I guess,” she randomly picked something she enjoyed. “So…” she wondered how she could ask the question without it sounding peculiar. “Pop quiz!” she shouted, smiling playfully. “When was the ocean aquarium founded?” Congratulating herself, she looked into their puzzled faces.
Suddenly, Tonya’s face brightened up and she responded, “2100!”
20 years ago!
“Good job Tonya! How many times do you think we’ve gone there? Two or three times?”
“No way, Mommy! Teacher took us twice and you took us three times, counting today.”
“Oh…” her mind drifted off. Three times, huh? Realizing the children had not eaten since lunch, over five hours ago, she stated, “Well, I should probably fix dinner. What do you all want?” Options appearing on the touch screen, Adalyn asked, “How about basil cream chicken? We could have pizza, or…”
“Pizza!” they chimed together.
Chuckling slightly, she agreed, “Pizza it is.”
Just as Adalyn set the pizza on the table, each placemat dropped into the table and plates slowly rose from a little pole. Mr. Clarke walked in and the children ran to greet him.
He smiled and hugged them both, then handed his laptop to the robot. “We’re having pizza,” she smiled gently, inviting him to take a seat.
“Sounds great. So, what did you all do today?” he asked Tonya and Timmy.
“We went to the ocean aquarium! It was so cool, Daddy!” Tonya answered excitedly.
“But Mommy was weird today,” Timmy laughed.
Tonya, barely able to breathe through bursts of laughter, explained. “We had to show her…how to use the car! She was looking for keys!” Tonya’s face was all scrunched up as the silent laughter spread to Timmy and Dylan. Adalyn laughed along, blushing but trying to hide her embarrassment. “And then,” Tonya continued, “when we got there…she was afraid to go into the aquarium.” Laughter dying down into playful giggles, Tonya went on. “I had to explain to her that she took us there last month and that it was completely safe.”
Her mind raced back to that afternoon. Adalyn remembered the doubt she had when arriving at the ocean aquarium. The large, thick glass tunnel leading straight into the ocean terrified her at first sight. Though assured the air was plentiful and the structure was totally safe, she feared sharks and, in all honesty, the ocean itself. Tonya and Timmy had grabbed her hands and practically pulled her along into the depths of the sea. At the bottom of the ocean floor, Adalyn’s mind whirled with possibilities. All that pressure from the glass could break. And we would either be eaten alive by sharks…or go through jellyfish stings…or just drown. None of us would make it. She remembered how, as they walked around the small, circular, glass room, her heart beat increased and the room seemed to get smaller. Her head throbbed and she wanted to scream. How much longer is this going to last? Annoyed with the tour guide, who pointed out seemingly everything that had to do with the ocean, Adalyn had anxiously awaited the journey’s end.
Tonya’s statement brought Adalyn back into reality. “Mommy, being afraid to go into the ocean aquarium is like being afraid to go into a restaurant. It’s just like a museum.”
Adalyn smiled, hoping the topic would die down. Looking over at Dylan, she smiled. But his face began losing all traces of happiness. He held her hand, pressing it to his warm face and repeated her name several times. “Adalyn. Adalyn? Can you hear me?”
“Of course I can hear you,” she answered, confused. Glancing around her, the house started to blur. The children’s laughter died out and instead of sitting at the kitchen table with her husband and two children, she was lying down. Opening her eyes, she saw her mom and dad gazing down at her. Listening to the steady beep, beep, beep of the heart monitor, she turned her head slightly. Dylan was there too. A hospital bed? “What?” she mumbled quietly. He smiled and kissed her forehead gently. “You were in a car crash, honey. Do you remember it?”