Clyde Nie 

About two weeks ago, I learned that cousin Adeline would visit the Bay area again in May 2002.  Adeline was a professional writer and a painter.  I was anxious to see her since I had not seen her since last autumn when she accompanied her son, Rudi Chow, to enroll in the Foothill College in Los Altos, CA.  I was also worried about her health since she had an operation in Hong Kong only two weeks before the trip.  I was not sure if she suffered from any residual effects of the operation.  I arranged to pick her up from Uncle Benjamin¡¯s home to take her to Rudi¡¯s apartment in Mountain View.  I hoped that we could do some shopping and then have dinner that evening.

 After I arrived at Uncle Benjamin¡¯s home, we chatted a little.  Adeline gave me two copies of a book that she wrote to be delivered to a friend and a relative.  We were then ready to leave for Mountain View.  Due to a childhood disease and malpractice by the surgeons who operated on her, Adeline walked with pain and difficulties.  Adeline¡¯s condition worsened over last year as the bone dislocation got more severe.  The whole of her lower body was misaligned.  She was contemplating a hip replacement operation in the near future.  I told Adeline that I had a better feel for her suffering since I was now suffering from sciatic nerve inflammation.  I have frequent pain in the lower back and in the thighs.  Uncle Benjamin and I tried our best to carry the luggages for Adeline.  She insisted on carrying a black bag.  I carried the large luggage and Uncle Benjamin carried a plastic bag filled with her personal possessions. 

 On the curbside, I left the large luggage on the sidewalk and asked Adeline and Uncle Benjamin to wait for me so I could pick up the car.  That way, I could save Adeline from some steps.  When I returned with the car, I noticed that the car made some strange noises when I backup.  I was not sure what the problem was, but was worried.  My car was a 1986 model, and I replaced the transmission only one month ago.  I picked up the large luggage to store it in the trunk.  It was too large that I could not close the lid completely.  I was preoccupied with that luggage and was not thinking of Adeline¡¯s other luggages.

 As I drove down to Mountain View, Adeline and I had a pleasant talk of her recent life.  My worry about the car deepened as the car continued to make more and louder noises.  I relaxed with a sigh when we finally arrived safely in Mountain View.  With a little difficulty, we found Rudi¡¯s apartment.  I asked Adeline to stay in the car so I could ask Rudi to help carry the luggages to the apartment. 

 When I returned, Rudi and I took the large luggage from the trunk and the bag that Uncle Benjamin handed me.  Adeline noticed that the black bag that she carried down stairs was missing.  She said that she left it next to the large luggage.  I could not recall the details, as I did not know that she had left the black bag next to the large luggage.  We checked the car carefully and could not find that bag.  It turned out that Adeline stored her lap top computer in the bag.  That computer was very important to Adeline, since she stored all her writing and many other personal data in the hard drive.  She did not back up the files.  That computer also costs a lot of money.  We were not panicky yet since we thought may be it was left in San Francisco, and Uncle Benjamin had brought it to his home.  We went to Rudi¡¯s apartment to call Uncle Benjamin.

 To our great horror, Uncle Benjamin could not find the lap top computer in his house.  He remembered that we did not leave anything on the curbside when we departed from San Francisco.  This was now a crisis, since besides the lost personal files and the valuable computer, Adeline would miss an important tool that she would need to work for the next six months that she plans to spend in America.  I gave the car key to Rudi and asked him to check the car one more time.  Adeline and I stayed in the apartment to wait for him. 

 Rudi shared the apartment with several friends.  He occupies one room.  There was a mattress on the floor, a computer table with his computer and one chair.  Adeline sat on the chair.  I sat on the carpet.  Adeline urged me to sit in the chair to avoid incurring pain in my back.  I thought that it would be better for Adeline to sit, as I was not feeling any pain at that time. 

 Rudi returned from the car and confirmed our worst nightmare.  The computer was not in the car.  It was definitely lost.  There was really not much that we could have done at that time.  Facing with that crisis, Adeline did not once showed any great concern for her loss, or any displeasure for the inconvenience that she faced.  She did not complain of the many difficulties that the fate had meted out to her.  The pain that she suffers constantly.  The thought of blaming anyone else for the lost computer did not even cross her mind.  She was worried about pain that I might be suffering.  I decided that I would not go out to dinner with Adeline and Rudi that evening, as I did not want Adeline and Rudi to get stuck if the car should break down.  I returned to San Jose instead.  As I left, Adeline was concerned about my safety in driving that car.

 As I drove down to San Jose, I could not help but to reflect on the whole incident.  How would I feel if I had lost my computer, with all the stored files and the tool that I need for the next six months.  I trembled at the thought, as my computer crashed only two months ago.  I had to reformat the hard drive and lost everything that I stored in the computer.  The pain was still fresh in my mind.  Adeline not only lost all the files, which were much more important to her since she was a professional writer, but the computer itself. 

 I know that in her situation I would feel pity for myself, but not her. She had to replace the computer with hard earned money, which was in short supply.  She supports herself and her son who is attending a college in America with money she earned in China.  She will also suffer the inconvenience of not having her computer to write, at least for a short while.  Yet, she was not pre-occupied with her loss.  She was worried about my discomfort and my safety.  She felt the pain and suffering of others when she herself was facing with a horrible and costly loss.  Adeline is truly an example for me and for others.