Let me add this exchange between Billi and her mother:
Billi: You know, one of the few good memories of my childhood were those summers at Nai Nais’s. They had that garden, Ye Ye and I would catch dragonflies. And then we just moved to the States. Everything was different. Everyone was gone. And it was just the three of us.
Jian: I know it was hard. It was hard for us too.
Billi: I wanted to believe that it was a good thing, but all I saw was fear in your eyes. And I was confused and scared constantly because you never told me what was going on. And then Ye Ye died. You didn’t even tell me he was sick. So it felt like he just vanished suddenly. And you wouldn’t even let me go to his funeral.
Jian: You were at school. We didn’t want you to miss school. We did what we thought was best for you.
Billi: But I never saw him again. And every time I came back to China, he just… he just wasn’t there anymore. And I come back and he’s just gone. The house is gone, A Die’s gone, our Beijing home is gone and soon she’ll be gone too.
I would say the second most significant storyline is the one with daughter and mother, and this exchange is an opportunity for Billi to confess some long pent-up feelings of anger toward how the death of her grandfather was handled. It’s a key moment in the relationship between the pair which ends on a high note, now that they’ve confronted those previously submerged feelings.