Often a story engages us so deeply that we forget that's it's not happening in the moment where we are. This also made me think about the progression of a story from the beginning through the middle to reach the end.
When we write each story, we should be entering the character's lives and follow them what the triggering incident in their lives sets them on a journey of exploration.
The beginning is the moment of change that urges a character to look at their life and face the impact of the incident. This incident doesn't have to be something major. This could be the possibility of a new job, or the loss of an old one. The moment is when the character needs to make a decision. Once the decision is made the movement begins. For the character the movement is from the eternal now. Why? Unlike our lives when we make decisions constantly, the character in a story makes the decision once. While during the journey the decision may change slightly the character won't need to keep making decisions for they do reach the end.
The past is what makes the character's decision in the now possible. The past may or may not be seen, but the writer has to have a grasp on this moment. Without the past, the character cannot have the future the writer has designed for this person. The future may be hinted at. The future may be happy or unhappy. The future of the character has to be deemed satisfactory by the reader and bring that moment of closure. This is when the reader think "I like the story. Let me find another by that author."