Each new year, regular as clockwork, Ha's mother goes to visit an I Ching Teller of Fate. The I Ching is an ancient Chinese divination text that is commonly used across East Asia by those who wish to know the future. Ha's mother is one of many such people, anxious to know what lies in store for her and her family.
This year, the teller has predicted that the lives of Ha and her family will “twist inside out.” As is often the case with such predictions, it is open to a wide variety of different interpretations. However, in due course, it will become painfully clear to Ha and her family that the Teller's prediction can have only one meaning: that their lives will be turned inside out by war.
Initially, Ha interprets the Teller's prediction positively. Perhaps their lives twisting inside out will mean that soldiers will no longer patrol her neighborhood. Or perhaps Ha will be able to play with her skipping rope after dark. Or maybe, just maybe, it will mean that the whistles telling her mother to push her children under the bed will stop screaming.
Sadly, Ha's sanguine interpretation of the prophecy turns out to be incorrect. In actual fact, it means that, in due course, the lives of Ha and her family will be turned inside out by the war that is coming closer and closer to home.