The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
The Time Traveler's Wife Book 1, Chapter 5 Summary
How It All Goes Down
After the End
- Saturday, October 27, 1984 (Clare is 13, Henry is 43): Clare wakes up believing she heard Henry call her name. Outside the house, she sees her father and brother, dressed in hunting clothes, and with another man. They're looking at something. As her father sees her run up to them, he meets her halfway and tells her to go back to bed. He looks upset. Clare recognizes the unknown man as Henry. He puts his hand on his lips. Unwillingly, Clare follows her father's order to goes back inside the house. The incident leaves her with certainty that something very bad just happened.
- Monday, February 2, 1987 (Clare is 15, Henry 38): Clare has made a hiding place for Henry in the reading room. Henry is here from 2001. When he says that she looks too thin, she suggests that maybe she's very fat in 2001, which is why she seems too thin now. Henry admits that she's kind of plump in 2001, but in a good way. He adds that he just asked because her mom used to worry about her being too thin. Henry's use of "past tense" in talking about her mother makes Clare realize that her mom won't be alive in 2001. She's devastated and Henry feels like an idiot. Clare presses him to tell her what happens to her mother. He relents. Finally, Clare learns that her mother will die of ovarian cancer.
- Friday, June 5, 1987 (Clare is 16, Henry is 32): Clare gets her driver's license. When she meets Henry out on the meadow, she demands a kiss for her accomplishment and he relents. He mentions that he loves to drive but doesn't do so because popping out of time while driving can really endanger other people. Clare tells him she's going to a party at her friend Ruth's house and invites him to join her. She's tired of the secrecy. Henry thinks it's a bad idea, what with the fact that he could be her father and that meeting other people goes against his rules. He agrees, though, to wait for her in the car so they can hang out afterwards.
- At the party, one of the guys calls Clare "Miss Look-But-Don't-Touch" (1.5.60). Her friend Helen says that she can tell that Clare should just get the whole sex thing done and over with, because she looks like she's "cross-eyed with lust" (1.5.73). Clare responds that it's not that she doesn't want to, but that she can't.
- Henry is still waiting in the car when Helen strolls up to him. "Hi Clare's boyfriend… I've been waiting to meet you for a long time" (1.5.94). She explains that she now understands why Clare has been rejecting all the guys who have been lining up to have sex with her. Henry insists that he's not Clare's boyfriend, but a relative who has promised her parents to watch out for her. Clare arrives. She confirms that Henry is not her boyfriend.
- Clare gets in the car and drives off at top speed without the headlights on. Henry freaks out, so Clare turns on the headlights. When he says they could both have died, she replies, "But that's not what happens… I grow up and meet you and we get married and here you are" (1.5.116). Henry warns her to not challenge time this way, because it's still unpredictable. He asks her to trust him, because he loves her. His admission of love takes Clare by surprise. She gets all flirtatious but Henry tells her to quit it. He also confides to her that he's afraid of car accidents because he was involved in one when he was a kid. Clare apologizes.
- Sunday, September 27, 1987 (Henry is 32, Clare is 16): Henry and Clare meet in the meadow. Clare asks Henry to beat up a football jock guy, Jason, who hurt her because she didn't want to sleep with him. She shows Henry the bruises on her back and a cigarette burn on her breast. He is livid: "I'm going to kill this guy" (1.5.190). When Clare produces a gun she lifted from her father, he's shocked. On second thought, he decides to use it without the bullets.
- They surprise Jason at his house and haul him into the woods at gunpoint. Henry watches Clare, acting as cool as "a Raymond Chandler murderess" (1.5.214). They strip Jason of his clothes and duct tape him to a tree. Seeing Clare's enjoyment of the moment, Henry realizes that she has just stepped from her childhood into her life as a woman. Clare tells Jason that she'll call every girl she knows. Alone with Henry, she thanks him and they kiss before he disappears again.
- Monday, September 28, 1987 (Clare is 16): At school, Clare's classmates all wonder who helped her haul Jason into the woods and tie him to a tree. Helen guesses that it was Henry. In the girls' locker room, Clare reveals her bruises to the others and everyone applauds her.
- Wednesday, July 22, 1995 (Clare is 24, Henry 32): Clare wakes up in bed, realizing that Henry has just returned from his travels. He kisses the scar on her breast from the cigarette burn.
- Sunday, September 11, 1988 (Henry is 36, Clare is 17): Henry and Clare are lying in the meadow on a warm September afternoon. Henry feels peaceful and relaxed, glad to be away from his present year, 2000, where things are apparently not going so hot. Clare has also caught on to the fact that when Henry comes from 1998, 1999, or 2000, he looks upset. Henry reminds her that it's stress that makes him travel and assures her that there are lots of nice things in those years, too. Clare asks him what he's afraid of. He responds, "Cold… I am afraid of winter. I am afraid of the police. I am afraid of traveling to the wrong place at the wrong time and getting hit by a car or beat up. Or getting stranded in time, and not being able to come back. I am afraid of losing you" (1.5.240). He fears that at some point she'll be fed up with waiting for him. Clare promises that she'll never leave him, even as he continues to leave her. She signs the drawing with a date. Henry has seen the drawing in the future without a date, so they decide to challenge time and leave the date on to see what happens.
- Thursday, January 13, 2000 (Henry is 36, Clare is 28): Henry goes into Clare's studio to check out the drawing. He finds it trimmed at the bottom. Clare confesses that she trimmed it afterwards because she was afraid that they might never meet in the future since she insisted on testing time.
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