Bean found herself alone, just outside the house. The air was sharp. Tall trees that had just been in full summer leaf were suddenly bare, and smaller than they’d been seconds before. Bean tried to peer back in through the kitchen window, but the lights were off, and she couldn't see anything. She stood in her side yard, sometime in the past. It was happening again…
And It was enough of a shock that she didn’t even know how she felt. She’d been glowing from the night before with Zak, happy to have had Sam pound on her door with music and laughter. Bean stuck her hands in the pockets of her thin blue cotton robe, and looked up. The sky looked like early afternoon: pale sunlight behind a thin, high layer of clouds. In front of her house, underneath the living room windows stood three overgrown barberry bushes. Bean had never seen them before. The ground was hard and cold, and she was barefoot.
Alrighty, then. Damn it. Lately, Bean had been perfectly fine with life in 1970. What year is this supposed to be? She had no idea.
Zak said love is always why this happens, she thought. But then she felt the happiness beginning to leak out of her. If Zak were right, why had she slipped backwards just now? She had a whole June weekend to spend with him, feeling nothing but love…and now, this.
It made no sense. All she could do was watch, deal, and try to keep warm.
It really was pretty chilly. She tried jogging in place to warm up, which helped a bit. Her toes were soon numb, though. After a few minutes, a black car with big, round bumpers pulled into the driveway and clattered to a halt. There was the rasp of an emergency brake being set. And Bean’s father—very young, and too thin for his thick, grey winter coat—got out of the driver’s side. Bean put a hand over her mouth, and watched as he ran urgently around to the passenger’s door. He yanked it open.
“Can you make it?” Bean’s dad called into the car.
“Of course I can make it,” said her mother’s voice. A high-heeled shoe and a nylon stocking-covered leg emerged. Then came the rest of Bean’s mom, wearing a brown tweed overcoat and a floppy green beret. She walked a bit unsteadily, clutching a bundle of white blankets wrapped around a baby, which began to wail.
“Sh-sh. Sh-sh-sh,” said Julia as she wobbled up the walk. She stopped when she got to the front door.
“You wouldn’t happen to have remembered the house keys, would you, Tom?” she called. Tom patted down three pockets in his coat before something jingled. He rushed a key into the lock. Then he looked back at the car. Both its front doors now stood wide open, and he sprinted back down the walk toward them. Bean sucked in her breath hard, taking it all in. Was that her days-old self,crying, inside the house? Sixteen-year-old Bean felt a little weepy, too. It’s 1953, then, she thought. Just after my actual birthday. Wow…
The wind blew and she shivered.
And then there was a hand on her arm.