Why death, skipped him? He’d, wondered…translated…
Chih-Ming sat by his uncle’s sickbed, it seemed, he’d, passed out, again, he’d stayed by the sickbed for twenty-eight hours now. A short while ago, his uncle woke, at the age of almost eighty, he was still, sharp, he’d looked over at Chih-Ming, nodded, with a vacant expression, then, searched his hospital room, Chih-Ming knew, he was, looking for his own son, his cousin. At this time, the door to the room swung open, and in came a couple of about fifty years of age, Chih-Ming called out, “Cousin, Cousin”. The man nodded like crazy toward Chih-Ming, ran toward the bed, called out, “Dad!”, his uncle opened up his eyes, seeing his son, there was, that sense of settlement, that sense of comfort, that overcame him now. The son grabbed his father’s hand in both of his.
At this moment, Chih-Ming felt, a bit, displeased, for forty years, his uncle had, played favorites like this. Since at age eleven when his own parents died in a car crash, he’d been, adopted by his aunt, and his uncle had been, aloof toward him. This time, he’d, given up the opportunity to travel abroad, because early yesterday morn, his cousin phoned from the U.S., told him that his uncle had a stroke and was, hospitalized, that he was, in critical condition, and asked Chih-Ming to help with the procedures of checking his father in, to take care of him. He’d told him he’d already booked a flight back home, but it was, the Halloween holidays, and, it will take him over thirty hours before he arrives in Taipei.
Suddenly, Chih-Ming realized, that his cousin and his wife had, arrived, eight hours early, must be that he’d, somehow, gotten on an earlier flight. But why didn’t he text him? If he’d known, that his cousin was going to make it back in time, then, he and his wife would’ve, managed to catch the flight to Busan today at eight that morn, besides, his uncle is now, stabilized. He and his wife, Li-Ru had, planned this trip to Korea for a very long time, it’s the very first time in five years, they were able to, travel abroad. Their youngest entered into the university, the Taipei University. The two of them found vacation time saved, thy could travel to Korea for seven days. They’d planned to visit the temple in Gyeongju-si, the tourist village, the burials, they were supposed to hike up the mountain there, and go deep into the caves. Why, had his uncle selected to have his stroke, a day before they were, supposed to go?
Chih-Ming switched his shift with his cousin, and headed over to a fast food restaurant for lunch. His phone rang, it was Li-Ru, “Ming, it was, so very, scary, the flight we were supposed to have been on, had gone off the radar!”
“It’s so scary, the flight didn’t get to Pusan, it’d, vanished from the radars, and, chances are, it won’t be found…………”
Chih-Ming became, stunned, he saw the T.V. in the fast food place broadcasting the news, “This flight had exploded in the oceans, four hundred kilometers away from Naha…………crew members of a fishing boat saw it happened………”
The explosion went off in his head, he was so thrilled his jaw dropped. Explosion in mid-air! Then, everybody onboard had, died! Had him and Li-Ru alighted the flight, they’d, both been, dead. They were, so blessed, perhaps, they were the only two survivors of this flight! A ton of thoughts passed through his mind, why did Death skip him?
He’d, canceled his trip because of his uncle’s stroke. During his younger years, his uncle who worked for the railroad systems had been, too harsh, too tough on him. Other than providing for his stay and food, he’d never, given him anything else, his school fees, sneakers, clothes, and allowances, were all from his uncle. And, he’d run short on money a lot, his uncle bought a Japanese made watch for his cousin, which he’d, waited for his aunt, to work for six months as a stores clerk at a shopping mall to buy for him. Early yesterday morn as his cousin begged him to go to the hospital, he was in doubt, sitting on his bed, his wife, Li-Ru told him, “When your aunt was still here, your uncle had been kind to her. Do it for that, let’s, delay our trip to Korea then!”, he’d carried his grudge, to care for his uncle, it wasn’t even, anything kind that’s, stemmed from his own heart at all.
Li-Ru told, that if you planted the good seeds, you shall, reap the better fruits. She had always taken the time, away from caring for him and his son, to help with the funeral processions of the deceased, to recite the Buddhist chants to help the deceased enter into a better afterlife. For over twenty years, she’d, gone to over two hundred funerals to participate, supposedly, she’d, set two hundred souls’ minds to ease? Could this be what made them escaped from death? Was it because of his wife’s good deeds, it’d, helped saved him too? It seemed, he will become, a Buddhist, and a vegan too then!
His cell phone rang, it was his coworker from school, Chen, the assistant professor, he’s voice was so thrilled, “Dean, you’re okay! Thank god! I saw that the flight crashed on T.V., I knew you were scheduled to go to Pusan today, and I hoped, that there’s, that million in one chance, that you and your wife didn’t alight the flight!”
“Yes, we didn’t get on the flight, it’s my uncle, he’d been, hospitalized, we’d, stayed to care for him.”
“It’s your kindness that’s, saved your lives! We can’t be without you as the dean. In this past year, you were, very kind and patient in showing me the ropes. I was so afraid, I never, got to say a proper thank you to you.”
Then came the calls from almost everyone else he knew, they all told, that it was God who’d, blessed him from getting on the flight, and how they all, appreciated his kindness, and his loving them, caring for them. It seemed, that he’d done, some things right, was it those things he’d done right, that spared his life? He’d not taken a bite out of the beef noodle he’d ordered yet.
The T.V. showed the office of that airline, flooded with the families of the passengers, there were those who were crying, looking very sorrowful. And yet, on his side, there were his loved ones, his friends, coworkers, who were, really glad that he’d not gotten on the flight. But, there must’ve been those on the flight who’d, done more good deeds than he ever had, so, why did they die? This was, so unfair for them. He’d recalled, what Li-Ru said of shared karma. Was it because, that they’d done something bad in a past life together, that they’d, died together this life? He couldn’t figure out, why he’d, survived, kept searching for the reasons, what, had he done that was, so good? Suddenly, he’d felt, so tiny, he, should be the one he was, thankful for.
And so, this, is the thing about affinity and karma, because the man’s uncle treated him unkind, and he’d still followed his uncle’s rules, took care of him, like he was, supposed to, he’d done it, with the mindset of how much his aunt loved him, treated him like he was her own, and so, perhaps, this had, rubbed off on his life, which was probably why he didn’t get on that flight, because his uncle was in critical condition, and that’s, saved his life!