The Joy Luck Club
"Hate? Why do you think I hate your future husband?"
"You never want to talk about him. The other day, when I started to tell you about him and Shoshana at the Exploratorium, you... you changed the subject... you started talking about Dad's exploratory surgery and then..."
"What is more important, explore fun or explore sickness?"
I wasn't going to let her escape this time. "And then when you met him, you said he had spots on his face."
She looked at me, puzzled. "Is this not true?"
"Yes, but, you said it just to be mean, to hurt me, to..."
"Ai-ya, why do you think these bad things about me?" Her face looked old and sorrow. "So you think your mother is this bad. You think I have a secret meaning. But it is you who has this meaning. Ai-ya! She thinks I am this bad!" She sat straight and proud on the sofa, her mouth clamped tight, her hands clasped together, her eyes sparkling with angry tears.
Oh, her strength! her weakness! - both pulling me apart. My mind was flying one way, my heart another. I sat down on the sofa next to her, the two of us stricken by the other.
And really, I did understand finally. Not what she had just said. But what had been true all along.
I saw what I had been fighting for: It was for me, a scared child, who had run away a long time ago to what I had imagined was a safer place. And hiding in this place, behind my invisible barriers, I knew what lay on the other side: Her side attacks. Her secret weapons. Her uncanny ability to find my weakest spots. But in the brief instant that I had peered over the barriers I could finally see what was really there: an old woman, a wok for her armour, a knitting needle for her sword, getting a little crabby as she waited patiently for her daughter to invite her in.Tuesdays with Morrie
"The tension of opposites, Mitch. Remember that? Things pulling in different directions?"
"I mourn my dwindling time, but I cherish the chance it gives to make things right."
We sat there for a while, quietly, as the rain splattered against the windows. The hibiscus plant behind his head was still holding on, small but firm.
"Mitch," Morrie whispered.
I rolled his toes between my fingers, lost in the task.
"Look at me."
I glanced up and saw the most intense look in his eyes.
"I don't know why you came back to me. But I want to say this..."
He paused, and his voice choked.
"If I could have had another son, I would have liked it to be you."
I dropped my eyes, kneading the dying flesh of his feet between my fingers. For a moment, I felt afraid, as if accepting his words would somehow betray my own father. But when I looked up, I saw Morrie smiling through tears and I knew there was no betrayal in a moment like this.
All I was afraid of was saying good-bye.
"I heard a nice little story the other day," Morrie says. He closes his eyes for a moment and I wait.
"Okay. The story is about a little wave, bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He's enjoying the wind and the fresh air- until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore.
"My God, this is terrible," the wave says. "Look what's going to happen to me!"
Then comes along another wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to him,"Why do you look so sad?"
The first wave says,"You don't understand! We're all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn't it terrible?"
The second wave says, "No, you don't understand. You're not a wave, you're part of the ocean."
I smile. Morrie closes his eyes again.
"Part of the ocean," he says, "part of the ocean." I watch him breathe, in and out, in and out.
Just a few excerpts from the two books...
They almost made me cry. Ah, some teary business. But I'm loving these books.