It was the same as she'd left it: a pile of cushions by her bed for Little Brother to sleep on, a stack of poetry and famous literature on her desk that she was supposed to study to become a "model bride," and the lavender shawl and silk robes she'd worn the day before she left home.
The jade comb Mulan had left in exchange for the conscription notice caught her eye; it now rested in front of her mirror.
On the farthest burner, whole bitter oranges bobbed in blossom syrup, to accompany rice pudding, next to a simmering pot of figs studded with cardamom pods for preserves.” ― “Dad held Mama as if she were made of glass. She didn't know how to corral or change either of these emotions; her love for him was all tangled up in hate.
Right now she felt both emotions crowding in on her, each jostling for the lead.” ― “Those are the things we really seek in one another: As kids, we seek those who enjoy the same games and define fun the same way we do.
I even saved up a whole month's worth of allowance when I was in seventh grade so I could make 'Buela a special birthday dinner of filet mignon.” ― “This garden was peaceful and calm. The third one from the bottom had a crack in the middle- from when she was five and the neighbor's boy convinced her there were worms on the other side of the stones. Yet no painter could have re-created what she saw more convincingly. At the bottom of the stone-cobbled path was a pond with rose-flushed lilies, and a marble bench under the cherry tree.Can you forget the scent of honey over fields, And those amber-colored acorns beads…And crowds of singing motley birds Around the foggy, misty lake?That’s where our childhood mirth Will be remained as a fairy-tale…” ― “Their dark forms are larger than life, because memories like that grow along with your body, so that adults from our childhood always resemble an extinct race of old gods, still towering over us.” ― “It was silly of me to expect [my father] to change or to understand what he had done.So many people look everywhere but to themselves for the change that needs to happen in their lives, pointing at their missed opportunities and blaming their parents. May I gently suggest that perhaps you've climbed in there yourself, closed the door, and locked it behind you?You don't have to be one of them.” ― “You may have terrible memories from your childhood . If so, you may be effectively locking out those who could help you.” ― “Sirine learned about food from her parents.Sirine's earliest memory was of sitting on a phone book on a kitchen chair, the sour-tart smell of pickled grape leaves in the air.Her mother spread the leaves flat on the table like little floating hands, placed the spoonful of rice and meat at the center of each one, and Sirine with her tiny fingers rolled the leaves up tighter and neater than anyone else could- tender, garlicky, meaty packages that burst in the mouth.” ― “Alone in the kitchen, without Zod's supervision, he found himself turning to the wholesome food of his childhood, not only for the comfort the simple compositions offered, but because it was what he knew so well as he set about preparing a homecoming feast for Zod's only son.Pink cherry blossoms and violet plum blossoms graced the sweeping trees. She'd hammered the stone in half, eager to catch a few worms to play with. She used to play by the pond when she was a little girl, catching frogs and fireflies in wine jugs and feeding the fish leftover rice husks and sesame seeds until her mother scolded her.The petals fell like snowflakes, dancing and swirling until they touched the soft, verdant grass. There weren't any, of course, but her mother had helped her find some dragonflies by the pond instead, and they'd spent an afternoon counting them in the garden. And beyond the moon gate was-Mulan's hand jumped to her mouth. That smell of home- of Baba's incense from the family temple, sharp with amber and cedar; of noodles in Grandmother Fa's special pork broth; of jasmine flowers that Mama used to scent her skin.” ― “She started to head out, but she passed her room.One flat of pale green figs and a bushel of new harvest walnuts were tied to the back of his scooter, along with two crates of pomegranates- half to squeeze for fresh morning juice and the other to split and seed for rice-and-meatball soup.Three fat chickens pecked in the yard, unaware of their destiny as he sharpened his cleaver.