“Then you must teach my daughter this same lesson. How to lose your innocence but not your hope. How to laugh forever.”
“Isn't hate merely the result of wounded love?”
“Now you see,' said the turtle, drifting back into the pond, 'why it is useless to cry. Your tears do not wash away your sorrows. They feed someone else's joy. And that is why you must learn to swallow your own tears.”
“We all had our miseries. But to despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable.
“That is the way it is with a wound. The wound begins to close in on itself, to protect what is hurting so much. And once it is closed, you no longer see what is underneath, what started the pain.”
“So this is what I will do. I will gather together my past and look. I will see a thing that has already happened. the pain that cut my spirit loose. I will hold that pain in my hand until it becomes hard and shiny, more clear. And then my fierceness can come back, my golden side, my black side. I will use this sharp pain to penetrate my daughter's tough skin and cut her tiger spirit loose. She will fight me, because this is the nature of two tigers. But I will win and giver her my spirit, because this is the way a mother loves her daughter.”
“I had on a beautiful red dress, but what I saw was even more valuable. I was strong. I was pure. I had genuine thoughts inside that no one could see, that no one could ever take away from me. I was like the wind.
“Because sometimes that is the only way to remember what is in your bones. You must peel off your skin, and that of your mother, and her mother. Until there is nothing. No scar, no skin, no flesh.
“And I think now that fate is shaped half by expectation, half by inattention. But somehow, when you lose something you love, faith takes over.
“But she never looked back with regret. There were so many ways for things to get better.
“Each person is made of five different elements, she told me.
Too much fire and you had a bad temper. That was like my father, whom my mother always critized for his cigarette habit and who always shouted back that she should feel guilty that he didn't let my mother speak her mind.
Too little wood and you bent too quickly to listen to other people's ideas, unable to stand on your own. This was like my Auntie An-mei.
Too much water and you flowed in too many different directions. like myself.”
“And then it occurs to me. They are frightened. In me, they see their own daughters, just as ignorant, just as unmindful of all the truths and hopes they have brought to America. They see daughters who grow impatient when their mothers talk in Chinese, who think they are stupid when they explain things in fractured English. They see that joy and luck do not mean the same to their daughters, that to these closed American-born minds "joy luck" is not a word, it does not exist. They see daughters who will bear grandchildren born without any connecting hope passed from generation to generation.”
“You must think for yourself, what you must do. If someone tells you, then you are not trying.
“I won't be what I'm not.
“A girl is like a young tree, she said. You must stand tall and listen to your mother standing next to you. That is the only way to grow strong and straight. But if you bend to listen to other people, you will grow crooked and weak. You will fall to the ground with the first strong wind. And then you will be like a weed, growing wild in any direction, running along the ground until someone pulls you out and throws you away. ”
“Your life is what you see in front of you.
“For unlike my mother, I did not believe I could be anything I wanted to be. I could only be me. ”
“Fate is shaped half by expectation, half by inattention.”
“ wisdom is like a bottomless pond. You throw stones in and they sink into darkness and dissolve. Her eyes looking back do not reflect anything.
I think this to myself even though I love my daughter. She and I have shared the same body. There is a part of her mind that is a part of mine. But when she was born she sprang from me like a slippery fish, and has been swimming away ever since. All her life, I have watched her as though from another shore.”
“All these years I kept my true nature hidden, running along like a small shadow so nobody could catch me.
“If she doesn't speak, she is making a choice. If she doesn't try, she can lose her chance forever.
“Too many good things all seem the same after a while. ”
“To come so far, to lose so much and to find nothing.
“I think now that fate is half shaped by expectation, half by inattention. But somehow, when you lose something you love, faith takes over. You have to pay attention to what you lost. You have to undo the expectation.”
“But now that I am old, moving every year closer to the end of my life, I also feel closer to the beginning. And I remember everything that happened that day becasue it has happened many times in my life. The same innocence, trust, and restlessness; the wonder, fear, and lonliness. How I lost myself.
I remember all these things. And tonight, on the fifteenth day of the eighth moon, I also remember what I asked the Moon Lady so long ago. I wished to be found.”
“There's no hope. There's no reason to keep trying.
Because you must. This is not hope. Not reason. This is your fate. This is your life, what you must do.”
“When you lose your face..., it is like dropping your necklace down a well. The only way you can get it back is to fall in after it.”
“But I was no longer sacared. I could see what was inside me.
“We are lost, she and I, unseen and not seeing, unheard and not hearing, unknown by others.”
“If I look upon my whole life, I cannot think of another time when I felt more comfortable: when I had no worries, fears, or desires, when my life seemed as soft and lovely as lying inside a cocoon of rose silk.”
“The moon in all her immaculate purity hung in the sky, laughing at this world of dust. She congratulated me for my carefully considered maneuvers and invited me to share in her eternal solitude.”
“Don't ruin it by saying something. Now. Go to class.”
“There was rarely an obvious branching point in a person's life. People changed slowly, over time. You didn't take on step, then find yourself in a completely new location. You first took a little step off a path to avoid some rocks. For a while, you walked alongside the path, but then you wandered out a little way to step on softer soil. Then you stopped paying attention as you drifted farther and farther away. Finally, you found yourself in the wrong city, wondering why the signs on the roadway hadn't led you better.”
“What? I never make things worse," Puck replied, stepping forward to deal with another eddy swooshing in from the side. "I make things more interesting.”
“people were like icebergs--most of what really went on, especially the ugliness, was submerged”
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