In the days following, Becky made sure to visit the attic so she could talk to Ben. She liked talking to him, and was pleasantly surprised when she discovered that she could talk to him with regular mirrors as well. What was strange, however, was just how similar his life was to hers, minus a few differences. For example, it was his mother, not his father, who studied physics.
One night after dinner, she asked her father if someone could have another version of him or herself. Intrigued, he told her about parallel universes—worlds where things were in some way different from the one she knew.
“Like a world where I‘m a boy?” she asked.
“That’s certainly one possibility,” he laughed. “As a matter of fact, the idea of parallel universes tends to come up a lot in my work.”
“Oh, speaking of which, did you tell her yet?” her mom piped up.
Becky’s father shook his head. “I don’t know if I’m taking it yet.”
“Taking what?” Becky asked.
“A lab in Washington offered me a job working for them,” he explained. “I read about it, and it looks like I could do a lot.”
“Washington?” Becky looked horrified. “You promised we wouldn’t have to move again!”
“I know, but this is a really good opportunity,” her father said. “Besides, the new house is much better. You might like it there.”
“No!” she shrieked. “I’m not moving again! And you can’t make me!”
She ran to the attic, tears trickling down her cheeks. Once she had slammed the door closed, she fell to her knees, burying her face in her hands as she cried.
“Becky? What’s wrong?”
Hearing Ben’s voice, she looked over. “Dad says we might have to move again. I’m sick of moving. Why can’t we stay?”
“It’s not fair,” Ben agreed. “My mom says we might be moving soon, too.” A worried look crossed his face. “Do you think we might stop being able to talk?”
Hearing this, Becky felt herself start to tear up again.
“You’re always there, even when I can’t see you,” she managed to say, trying not to cry again. “I don’t have a lot of friends besides you—we move around too much.”
Reaching out, she put a hand on the mirror’s surface. “You’re like my brother, and if I never got to see you again...I wish we had some place we could go, somewhere just for us where we didn’t have to be separated.”
Beneath her fingers, the mirror rippled like water, making her pull her hand back. She looked at it, a look of surprise crossing her face. With some hesitation, she placed her hand on the mirror again, and her hand passed into it. On the other side, an equally curious Ben did the same thing.
“Sweetheart? Please, come down.”
Hearing her father’s voice and the knocking on the attic door, Becky shook her head. She didn’t know what lay on the other side, but at that moment, it seemed better than staying there.
With that thought in mind, she plunged into the mirror.