Initially, Amy Tan portrays Rose as a timid woman who beats around the bush. For example, Rose "ended up showing [Ted] the garden instead" of their divorce papers. Amy Tan uses the metaphor of the garden to describe the couple's relationship. The garden is also related to Rose's name as both are nature-related and this shows that the garden, Rose's relationship with Ted, is close to Rose's heart. By diverting Ted's attention to their relationship, Rose seems to be clinging on to the past by "[surveying] the damage to the garden", exploring any chance for the salvation of their relationship. For example, Rose noticed the carrots which were "pushing through the earth as if about to be born", showing her hope that their relationship can undergo a rebirth and continue as before. This also shows that Rose did not have the courage to the face the reality of their relationship and imminent divorce.
However, Rose"sees the weeds" that had "sprouted in and out of the cracks in the patio", metaphors to describe the problems that have arose through the strains in the relationship between Amy and Ted as weeds are often associated to being problematic. Amy Tan also describes the weeds as being "buried in the masonry" and they would have to "pull the whole building down", referring to the problems with their relationship being so deep-rooted that their marriage would have to end, using yet another metaphor. Only then, Rose shows Ted the divorce papers, looking into Ted's eyes and reminiscing about "the look [she] had once mistaken for kindness and protection", another sign that she is unwilling to forgo the past and the feelings she might still have for Ted. Afterwards, Amy Tan highlights Rose's gain in confidence and courage by showing the sudden change in Rose's behavior.