I thought A Boy Named Flora A would keep the dark comedy going. But they sneaked the hearts in there and caused me to cry a river of tears. I didn’t understand why Huajia was so upset when Awei suggested that he throw away a broken bike. It became clear with him sitting on the doorsteps, looking at it. It’s not the bike itself that got him upset. It’s the idea of losing grandma and all the memories they shared. The scenes with small Huajia riding with big grandma, then small grandma riding with big Huajia really got to me.
Huajia’s sister and her boyfriend also had me in tears. She had the most awesome boyfriend: Kindhearted, considerate, supportive, understanding, responsible, emotionally stable. Nothing like the men in her family. Since the day she ran away with him, they had always been each other’s rock. The hardest part was not him dying but to stay strong when he was no longer with her.
Huahui blamed her father for destroying their family. Even grandma’s dying couldn’t make her sit in the same room as him. So when he suddenly showed up at her apartment, calling her an ungrateful daughter and her boyfriend a child kidnapper, she was ready to beat up her old man. Her boyfriend had to pull her away.
Her boyfriend understood her complicated feelings toward her father. She didn’t really hate her father. But the circumstances suggested she should. And she was afraid that she didn’t know how to hate him. After calming her down, her boyfriend gently suggested that if she wanted to go home he would go with her. In that particular moment, I thought he was the best boyfriend ever, not for going with her, but recognizing it’s her choice whether she wanted to go back or not.
Huahui and her father made baby steps toward reconciliation with her boyfriend as their buffer zone. Their first major step came at Hualiang’s wedding banquet. At first, her father was making all kinds of remarks about the boyfriend. The boyfriend never once got upset. Then the father act all offended for the boyfriend’s refusal to drink. When Huajia whispered to the father that the sister’s boyfriend got cancer, the father immediately started grilling the boyfriend on what kind of cancer, the prognosis, the whole 9 yards. I thought he was about to denounce the boyfriend as an unsuitable husband for Huahui. But in an unexpected move, the father passed food to the boyfriend, behaving like a caring, concerned father, treating the boyfriend like a member of their family. He gesture definitely went a long way to soothe Huahui’s resentment, which led to their eventual reconciliation.
Huajia had been debating whether he should be a spirit medium. Grandma’s dying/non-dying finally gave him the push he needed. To become one, he first had to cleanse his soul (spirit/heart/mind?) by meditating in isolation and eating fruits, and nothing else for 7 days. Naturally, that didn’t happened. Right after the door was closed on him, Awei smuggled snacks to him through the window. Then, Huaming arrived to give him the riot act about Yating. Then Yating showed up to quiz Huajia on the religious scriptures. All of the sudden, Huajia was the most popular guy in isolation.
I don’t know if it was the room or the fact that Huajia was a spirit medium in training, Yating and Huaming treated him like a priest in a confession booth telling him their secrets and insecurities. (Of course, Yating didn’t know Huaming and Awei were listening. And, Huaming didn’t know Awei was listening.)
Yating’s confession drove a dagger into Huaming’s heart. He finally understood why Yating rejected him. He knew that Yating’s last relationship didn’t end well, but he didn’t know she was in an abusive relationship. She told Huajia that she had to take herself to the hospital one night after her ex-boyfriend, a man who professed to love her, smashed her head open. Since then, she had been afraid of any men who professed love to her only to use it to hurt her. Huaming’s efforts to please her only frightened her. And there was nothing he could do about it unless he could turn back the time.