Hwei-Lan comes back from Flushing laden with groceries: pork shoulder, bean shoots, persimmons, spinach, tofu, eggplant, fresh fish and shrimp. Wil's bringing a friend home for dinner tonight, a good Chinese girl. Idly, Hwei-Lan wonders what she ought to cook- steamed trout with ginger? Shrimp sauteed with garlic? She has the ingredients for stinky tofu, but the apartment will smell terribly of it, even if it tastes delicious.
She could make dumplings, too- better than the frozen kind her daughter likes. Hwei-Lan pauses on the stairs, remembering another instance two years ago when she brought Wil groceries.
There was a girl that time as well, not that she'd known it then. No, she waited outside for nearly ten minutes, the sack of dumplings slowly thawing in her hands, until finally she'd used the spare key so she could put them in Wil's freezer, and. Well. Wil hadn't been particularly careful; Hwei-Lan had seen far more of her daughter and her daughter's friend than was appropriate- all skin, and hair, and tangled sheets. She'd ended up dropping the dumplings on the kitchen table and running outside to compose herself.
No; perhaps not dumplings, then. She opens the door to her daughter's apartment and puts away the groceries, leaving the persimmons in a bowl on the table.
This girl is different; important. She can feel it. Wil has never been very good at keeping secrets from her, and now that Hwei-Lan knows what she knows, she can recognize Wil's avoidance game for what it is. She can't help hoping that her daughter will marry one of the suitable young men at their dinner parties, but she knows better than to think that Wil will change her mind once she's set her heart on something.
Someone. Hwei-Lan frowns.
Trout, she decides. Some people are allergic to shellfish, and it would be a shame to waste good prawns.