The Joy Luck Club Chapter 14, Ying-ying St. Clair, Waiting Between the Trees
Ying-ying, staying with her daughter Lena, knows that Lena thinks she knows everything, even though she has no understanding of Chinese ways of thinking. Ying-ying thinks she should have made her daughter respect her more when she was younger. Ying-ying knows that Lena's marriage will fall apart. "I have always known a thing before it happens." Chapter 14, pg. 243 Ying-ying remembers herself as a young girl. She was wild, spoiled and stubborn. She was wealthy and believed she was too good for everyone. When she was sixteen, she told her half-sisters this, and suddenly she knew she would marry a mean man who lived nearby, who was much older than she. She was amazed that she knew this, and she was absolutely sure of it. She married him, and soon came to love him. She did everything for him. When she got pregnant, she knew she would have a son. She realized her husband was cheating on her, and soon he left her for another woman. She aborted the baby out of anger at him. "It is because I had so much joy that I came to have so much hate." Chapter 14, pg. 247 Ying-ying says that her daughter does not know the strength of her anger. After her husband left, went to stay in the country with her cousin's family for ten years. After that time, she was ready to go to the city, and did so, unafraid. She went to work in a shop, and met Clifford St. Clair, who she knew instantly she would marry. She didn't like him or dislike him. She watched him court her eagerly with silly gifts, never knowing that she had been born rich. She made him wait four years, then married him. She decided that she would give up her spirit, because it had gotten her into so much trouble.
Ying-ying says that she was never truly able to love her husband, or let him know her. She decides that she must look at her past and give her daughter strength, because she knows Lena needs it. She knows that the vase on the table next to the bed she sits on is about to crash to the floor, and that Lena will come upstairs and not see her, where she sits in the darkness, waiting.