Elaine pictures his final moments, sitting on an airplane on his way to a conference in Frankfurt. The plane sits on a runway, but Stephen doesn’t know which country they’re in because his plane has been hijacked. The hijackers have allowed women and children to leave, and they talk with air traffic control about releasing the other hostages. Stephen hopes everyone remains calm. The men order Stephen to stand up. They lead him to the front and push him out of the plane.
Elaine remembers a story Stephen told her years earlier about how if one twin were to go fast enough around the earth in a spaceship for a week, he’d return to earth to find his brother ten years older. Now she will age, and Stephen will not.
Elaine’s parents never fully recover from Stephen’s death. After Elaine’s father dies, her mother gets ill. Elaine goes to visit her and help out around the house. Elaine’s mother talks about Stephen as if he’s permanently twelve.
Elaine’s mother mentions the difficult time Elaine had with her friends from elementary school, and Elaine thinks her mother must be losing her mind. Her mother notes that she always believed Grace was behind the torment because Cordelia and Elaine were best friends in high school. Elaine doesn’t understand what she’s talking about, even when her mother brings up the ravine.
Elaine and her mother go through the boxes in the cellar. When she finds her red plastic purse, Elaine’s mother suggests throwing it out. However, there’s a rattling inside, and they find the cat’s eye marble. Elaine gazes into the marble and sees her life.
Elaine reaches the schoolyard, but the school has been rebuilt. The doors no longer divide boys and girls. She climbs up the wooden steps to the top of the hill. She can hear the voices of school children and begs Cordelia to let her out. She no longer wants to be nine years old.