June May changes gradually from the beginning of "A Pair of Tickets" as she travels to China to meet a family she has never known. She travels with her father, having lost her mother only three months before. They are to meet her father's relatives first, and then her mother's...
June May changes gradually from the beginning of "A Pair of Tickets" as she travels to China to meet a family she has never known. She travels with her father, having lost her mother only three months before. They are to meet her father's relatives first, and then her mother's twin daughters, June May's half-sisters, who June May's mother had to abandon on the side of the road. As the story opens, we find June May in quiet introspection. She watches her father as he gazes wistfully at the countryside of his childhood home, and she thinks about her mother, and her mother's belief that Chinese was "in her blood." She seems torn between grief for her mother and fear over meeting her half-sisters. She questions her own worth in her mother's eyes, and wonders if her mother longed for her sisters and would have preferred them over her. Her grief over her mother's death is perhaps made more tragic, as she feels she never really knew her mother completely. This, in turn, causes her to question if she truly even knows herself.
When they arrive at the train station, her father's family has come to meet them, and June May watches her father greet his aunt and her family. She is now able to see her father from a different perspective, one that she had begun to see on the train. She feels an somewhat hesitant sense of camaraderie with her relatives, as they seem to complete the puzzle that is her father's life. She listens intently to the stories passed between her great aunt and her father, and her mind wanders to her mother's daughters, her half sisters.
At last she gathers the courage to ask her father directly why her mother had abandoned her daughters during the war so long ago. He starts to tell the her the story in English, but she stops him and asks him to tell it to her in Chinese. It appears as if she is trying to immerse herself in her mother's life. In this way, she can become closer to her mother in ways she could not while she was alive.
After her father has told her the full story of her mother's desperate choice to abandon her daughters, June May feels as if she has become more of who she was meant to be. She can now see her mother from a new perspective, as she was able to see her father when he was greeted by his aunt at the train station. Her fear of meeting her twin sisters is replaced with a deep longing for her mother. She wishes her mother had lived to experience this reunion with her, and she hopes to complete her own personal journey by fully knowing and understanding who her mother was, and who she is. She is understanding what her mother meant when she said that Chinese was "in her blood." Her mother had told her, "someday you will see."
As June May steps off the plane to meet her twin sisters for the first time, she sees her mother in their faces. Only it is the mother of her childhood. They embrace, her father snaps a photograph, and the three sisters stand together, waiting for the photograph to develop. But they are waiting for something more, something much deeper. As the Polaroid image sharpens slowly in their hands, June May and her sisters all see their mother staring back at them. With her mother's passing and her subsequent journey to meet her twin sisters, June May has developed into the woman that her mother knew she would be. She now feels a completeness she has longed for since her mother's death. Her sisters have brought her a sense of closure, and a hope for the future she and her sisters will now have together.