Mona Simpson
The author Mona Simpson at the Museum of Modern Art. By CELIA McGEE, July 28, 2010.

來自Steve Jobs有血緣關係的親妹妹,Mona Simpson的悼詞……

I grew up as an only child, with a single mother. Because we were poor and because I knew my father had emigrated from Syria, I imagined he looked like Omar Sharif. I hoped he would be rich and kind and would come into our lives (and our not yet furnished apartment) and help us. Later, after I’d met my father, I tried to believe he’d changed his number and left no forwarding address because he was an idealistic revolutionary, plotting a new world for the Arab people.

Even as a feminist, my whole life I’d been waiting for a man to love, who could love me. For decades, I’d thought that man would be my father. When I was 25, I met that man and he was my brother.

By then, I lived in New York, where I was trying to write my first novel. I had a job at a small magazine in an office the size of a closet, with three other aspiring writers. When one day a lawyer called me — me, the middle-class girl from California who hassled the boss to buy us health insurance — and said his client was rich and famous and was my long-lost brother, the young editors went wild. This was 1985 and we worked at a cutting-edge literary magazine, but I’d fallen into the plot of a Dickens novel and really, we all loved those best. The lawyer refused to tell me my brother’s name and my colleagues started a betting pool. The leading candidate: John Travolta. I secretly hoped for a literary descendant of Henry James — someone more talented than I, someone brilliant without even trying.

When I met Steve, he was a guy my age in jeans, Arab- or Jewish-looking and handsomer than Omar Sharif.

We took a long walk — something, it happened, that we both liked to do. I don’t remember much of what we said that first day, only that he felt like someone I’d pick to be a friend. He explained that he worked in computers.

I didn’t know much about computers. I still worked on a manual Olivetti typewriter.

I told Steve I’d recently considered my first purchase of a computer: something called the Cromemco.

Steve told me it was a good thing I’d waited. He said he was making something that was going to be insanely beautiful.

I want to tell you a few things I learned from Steve, during three distinct periods, over the 27 years I knew him. They’re not periods of years, but of states of being. His full life. His illness. His dying.

Steve worked at what he loved. He worked really hard. Every day.

That’s incredibly simple, but true.

He was the opposite of absent-minded.

He was never embarrassed about working hard, even if the results were failures. If someone as smart as Steve wasn’t ashamed to admit trying, maybe I didn’t have to be.

When he got kicked out of Apple, things were painful. He told me about a dinner at which 500 Silicon Valley leaders met the then-sitting president. Steve hadn’t been invited.

He was hurt but he still went to work at Next. Every single day.

Novelty was not Steve’s highest value. Beauty was.

For an innovator, Steve was remarkably loyal. If he loved a shirt, he’d order 10 or 100 of them. In the Palo Alto house, there are probably enough black cotton turtlenecks for everyone in this church.

He didn’t favor trends or gimmicks. He liked people his own age.

His philosophy of aesthetics reminds me of a quote that went something like this: “Fashion is what seems beautiful now but looks ugly later; art can be ugly at first but it becomes beautiful later.”

Steve always aspired to make beautiful later.

He was willing to be misunderstood.

Uninvited to the ball, he drove the third or fourth iteration of his same black sports car to Next, where he and his team were quietly inventing the platform on which Tim Berners-Lee would write the program for the World Wide Web.

Steve was like a girl in the amount of time he spent talking about love. Love was his supreme virtue, his god of gods. He tracked and worried about the romantic lives of the people working with him.

Whenever he saw a man he thought a woman might find dashing, he called out, “Hey are you single? Do you wanna come to dinner with my sister?”

I remember when he phoned the day he met Laurene. “There’s this beautiful woman and she’s really smart and she has this dog and I’m going to marry her.”

When Reed was born, he began gushing and never stopped. He was a physical dad, with each of his children. He fretted over Lisa’s boyfriends and Erin’s travel and skirt lengths and Eve’s safety around the horses she adored.

None of us who attended Reed’s graduation party will ever forget the scene of Reed and Steve slow dancing.

His abiding love for Laurene sustained him. He believed that love happened all the time, everywhere. In that most important way, Steve was never ironic, never cynical, never pessimistic. I try to learn from that, still.

Steve had been successful at a young age, and he felt that had isolated him. Most of the choices he made from the time I knew him were designed to dissolve the walls around him. A middle-class boy from Los Altos, he fell in love with a middle-class girl from New Jersey. It was important to both of them to raise Lisa, Reed, Erin and Eve as grounded, normal children. Their house didn’t intimidate with art or polish; in fact, for many of the first years I knew Steve and Lo together, dinner was served on the grass, and sometimes consisted of just one vegetable. Lots of that one vegetable. But one. Broccoli. In season. Simply prepared. With just the right, recently snipped, herb.

Even as a young millionaire, Steve always picked me up at the airport. He’d be standing there in his jeans.

When a family member called him at work, his secretary Linetta answered, “Your dad’s in a meeting. Would you like me to interrupt him?”

When Reed insisted on dressing up as a witch every Halloween, Steve, Laurene, Erin and Eve all went wiccan.

They once embarked on a kitchen remodel; it took years. They cooked on a hotplate in the garage. The Pixar building, under construction during the same period, finished in half the time. And that was it for the Palo Alto house. The bathrooms stayed old. But — and this was a crucial distinction — it had been a great house to start with; Steve saw to that.

This is not to say that he didn’t enjoy his success: he enjoyed his success a lot, just minus a few zeros. He told me how much he loved going to the Palo Alto bike store and gleefully realizing he could afford to buy the best bike there.

And he did.

Steve was humble. Steve liked to keep learning.

Once, he told me if he’d grown up differently, he might have become a mathematician. He spoke reverently about colleges and loved walking around the Stanford campus. In the last year of his life, he studied a book of paintings by Mark Rothko, an artist he hadn’t known about before, thinking of what could inspire people on the walls of a future Apple campus.

Steve cultivated whimsy. What other C.E.O. knows the history of English and Chinese tea roses and has a favorite David Austin rose?

He had surprises tucked in all his pockets. I’ll venture that Laurene will discover treats — songs he loved, a poem he cut out and put in a drawer — even after 20 years of an exceptionally close marriage. I spoke to him every other day or so, but when I opened The New York Times and saw a feature on the company’s patents, I was still surprised and delighted to see a sketch for a perfect staircase.

With his four children, with his wife, with all of us, Steve had a lot of fun.

He treasured happiness.

Then, Steve became ill and we watched his life compress into a smaller circle. Once, he’d loved walking through Paris. He’d discovered a small handmade soba shop in Kyoto. He downhill skied gracefully. He cross-country skied clumsily. No more.

Eventually, even ordinary pleasures, like a good peach, no longer appealed to him.

Yet, what amazed me, and what I learned from his illness, was how much was still left after so much had been taken away.

I remember my brother learning to walk again, with a chair. After his liver transplant, once a day he would get up on legs that seemed too thin to bear him, arms pitched to the chair back. He’d push that chair down the Memphis hospital corridor towards the nursing station and then he’d sit down on the chair, rest, turn around and walk back again. He counted his steps and, each day, pressed a little farther.

Laurene got down on her knees and looked into his eyes.

“You can do this, Steve,” she said. His eyes widened. His lips pressed into each other.

He tried. He always, always tried, and always with love at the core of that effort. He was an intensely emotional man.

I realized during that terrifying time that Steve was not enduring the pain for himself. He set destinations: his son Reed’s graduation from high school, his daughter Erin’s trip to Kyoto, the launching of a boat he was building on which he planned to take his family around the world and where he hoped he and Laurene would someday retire.

Even ill, his taste, his discrimination and his judgment held. He went through 67 nurses before finding kindred spirits and then he completely trusted the three who stayed with him to the end. Tracy. Arturo. Elham.

One time when Steve had contracted a tenacious pneumonia his doctor forbid everything — even ice. We were in a standard I.C.U. unit. Steve, who generally disliked cutting in line or dropping his own name, confessed that this once, he’d like to be treated a little specially.

I told him: Steve, this is special treatment.

He leaned over to me, and said: “I want it to be a little more special.”

Intubated, when he couldn’t talk, he asked for a notepad. He sketched devices to hold an iPad in a hospital bed. He designed new fluid monitors and x-ray equipment. He redrew that not-quite-special-enough hospital unit. And every time his wife walked into the room, I watched his smile remake itself on his face.

For the really big, big things, you have to trust me, he wrote on his sketchpad. He looked up. You have to.

By that, he meant that we should disobey the doctors and give him a piece of ice.

None of us knows for certain how long we’ll be here. On Steve’s better days, even in the last year, he embarked upon projects and elicited promises from his friends at Apple to finish them. Some boat builders in the Netherlands have a gorgeous stainless steel hull ready to be covered with the finishing wood. His three daughters remain unmarried, his two youngest still girls, and he’d wanted to walk them down the aisle as he’d walked me the day of my wedding.

We all — in the end — die in medias res. In the middle of a story. Of many stories.

I suppose it’s not quite accurate to call the death of someone who lived with cancer for years unexpected, but Steve’s death was unexpected for us.

What I learned from my brother’s death was that character is essential: What he was, was how he died.

Tuesday morning, he called me to ask me to hurry up to Palo Alto. His tone was affectionate, dear, loving, but like someone whose luggage was already strapped onto the vehicle, who was already on the beginning of his journey, even as he was sorry, truly deeply sorry, to be leaving us.

He started his farewell and I stopped him. I said, “Wait. I’m coming. I’m in a taxi to the airport. I’ll be there.”

“I’m telling you now because I’m afraid you won’t make it on time, honey.”

When I arrived, he and his Laurene were joking together like partners who’d lived and worked together every day of their lives. He looked into his children’s eyes as if he couldn’t unlock his gaze.

Until about 2 in the afternoon, his wife could rouse him, to talk to his friends from Apple.

Then, after awhile, it was clear that he would no longer wake to us.

His breathing changed. It became severe, deliberate, purposeful. I could feel him counting his steps again, pushing farther than before.

This is what I learned: he was working at this, too. Death didn’t happen to Steve, he achieved it.

He told me, when he was saying goodbye and telling me he was sorry, so sorry we wouldn’t be able to be old together as we’d always planned, that he was going to a better place.

Dr. Fischer gave him a 50/50 chance of making it through the night.

He made it through the night, Laurene next to him on the bed sometimes jerked up when there was a longer pause between his breaths. She and I looked at each other, then he would heave a deep breath and begin again.

This had to be done. Even now, he had a stern, still handsome profile, the profile of an absolutist, a romantic. His breath indicated an arduous journey, some steep path, altitude.

He seemed to be climbing.

But with that will, that work ethic, that strength, there was also sweet Steve’s capacity for wonderment, the artist’s belief in the ideal, the still more beautiful later.

Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times.

Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them.

Steve’s final words were:

OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.

 


 

我從小就是家中唯一的小孩,在一個單親家庭中長大。由於我們很窮,加上我知道我的父親是從敘利亞移民來的,我想像他長得就像是Omar Sharif。我希望他很富有、慷慨地走進我們的生活(以及我們還缺了許多家具的公寓)來幫助我們。後來,在我見過我的父親之後,我試著相信他是個理想主義的革命家,為了親手為阿拉伯人民繪製個一個新世界,而改了電話號碼,也沒有留下轉發的地址。

即使作為一個女權主義者,在我整個人生中,我依然等著去愛一個人,而他也能愛我。數十年以來,我一直以為這個人將會是我的父親。當我二十五歲時,我遇到了那個人,而他是我的哥哥。

當時,我住在紐約,試著寫我的第一本小說。我有一份工作,在一個小雜誌社像櫃子一樣小的辦公隔間,與其他三個有志作家在一起。有一天,一個律師打電話給我──一個來自加州,吵著要老闆幫我們保醫療險的中產階級的女孩。那個律師說,他的客戶是個富有的名人,同時也是我失散已久的兄弟。這個年輕的編輯開始Hi翻天了。

當時是1985年,我們正在一個前衛文學雜誌裡工作。但是我沉迷於狄更斯小說中的詩句,我們都覺得這是最棒的。那位律師拒絕告訴我哥哥的名字,而我的同事們開始打賭。候選人第一名──John Travolta。而我暗自希望是Henry James的作家後代──一個比我更有天份,並且不費絲毫力氣就綻放出光芒的人。

當我與Steve見面,他是與我同樣年代,穿著牛仔褲,阿拉伯或是猶太人長相的男人,而且比Omar Sharif要帥氣多了。

我們走了一段很長的路,這是我們兩人都想做的事。我已經不太記得我們第一天說了些什麼,不過我記得,他給我的感覺就是我會想要與他做朋友的人。他說,他正在從事與電腦相關的工作。

我不怎麼了解電腦。當時我還是使用手動的Olivetti打字機工作。

我跟Steve說,當時我正在考慮購買我的第一台電腦,一台叫做Cromemco的玩意。

Steve叫我等一等,他說他正在製造一件極其優美的東西。

我想告訴你們一些我從Steve身上學到的東西,在三個不同的時期,在我認識他的二十七年。這些事雖然沒有歷經多年,不過都與他切身相關。他的全部生活、他的病痛、他的死亡。

Steve從事他喜愛的工作。他非常努力地工作,每天持續不斷。

這非常地簡單,但是也是事實。

他是心不在焉的反義詞。

即使他失敗了,他也從不對努力工作這件事感到尷尬。也許我不用成為像Steve一樣聰明,並且不恥於承認曾經嘗試的人。

當他被踢出Apple時,那是件痛苦的事。他告訴我有個500位矽谷領導人與總統的晚宴,而Steve沒有被邀請。

他受了傷,但是他仍然在NeXT繼續工作,一天又一天。

Steve最高的價值並不在創新,而是美。

對於創新者來說,Steve是無比地忠誠。如果他喜歡一件襯衫,他會買十件甚至是上百件。在Palo Alto的房子裡,也許有許多的黑色高領羊毛衫,給這個教堂裡的每個人。

他不喜好於流行或是噱頭。他喜歡他那年代的人。

他的美學讓我想起了這段話:「時尚是起先看起來美麗,但是之後就會變得醜陋。而藝術也許起先看起來醜陋,但是之後會越來越美麗。」

Steve總是渴望在讓美麗在之後慢慢出現。

他願意被其他人誤解。

盡管他沒被邀請,他還是開著他第三或第四輛相同的黑色跑車到NeXT。在那裡,他與與他的團隊們悄悄地研發著Tim Berners-Lee用來研發全球資訊網的電腦平台。

Steve在談到愛情時,他就像個女孩般。愛是他的最高的美德,他的神中之神。他也不斷地追尋並擔心著與他一同工作的人的浪漫生活。

無論何時,當他看到他覺得女人們會覺得很時髦的男人時,他會大喊:「嘿!你還是單身嗎?你想要跟我的妹妹一起度過晚餐時光嗎?」

我記得當他遇到Laurene的那天,他打電話給我:「有個如此漂亮的女人,他真的很聰明,還養了一隻狗。我決定要娶他!」

當Reed出生時,他開始湧現出大量的感情,並且從未停止。他是所有孩子的親生父親。他擔心著Lisa的男朋友、Erin的出遊與裙子的長度、Eve在他寵愛的馬周圍的安全。

所以參加了Reed的畢業舞會的人,都不會忘記Reed與Steve一起跳慢舞的那幕。

他對Laurene堅定的愛支撐著他。他相信愛會在任何時間、任何地點湧現。因此,Steve從不嘲諷、從不懷疑、也永遠不會悲觀。到現在,我仍然試著學習這點。

在年輕的時候,Steve已經非常成功,而他也感到被孤立。而自從我認識他之後,他做出了許多選擇,讓他周圍的那道牆慢慢地瓦解。一來自Los Altos的中產階級男孩,愛上了一個來自New Jersey的中產階級女孩。這對於讓Lisa、Reed、Erin與Eve普通地長大非常重要。他們的房子沒有來自藝術品與閃亮家具的威嚇,事實上,在我所知Steve與Laurene在一起的早年,晚餐是在草地上享用,有時只是一道蔬菜。當季的青花菜,簡單地配上合宜的、剛摘下來的薄荷。

即使是作為一個年輕的百萬富翁,Steve總是會到機場來接我。他會站在那邊,穿著他的牛仔褲。

當家裡的在工作時打電話給他,他的秘書Linetta會說:「你的父親正在開會。你要我打斷他嗎?」。

每次萬聖節,當Reed堅持要伴成巫師時,Steve、Laurene、Erin與Eve也都開始崇拜巫術。

他們有一次裝修廚房,花了好幾年。他們在車庫的鐵板上燒烤。Pixar的大樓也在當時開始動工,不過只花了一半的時間。這就是他們在Palo Alto的家。浴室有點老舊,不過關鍵是──這是一間作為起點的好房子,Steve了解這點。

並不是說他不享受他的成功。他喜歡成功,只是不沉迷其中。他告訴我,他有多喜歡去Palo Alto的自行車店,並興高采烈地發現他買得起那邊最棒的自行車。

而且,他也真的買了。

Steve很謙遜。Steve喜歡持續地學習。

有一次,他告訴我如果他以不同的方式成長,他可以成為一名數學家。他虔誠地談論著大學,他也喜歡在Stanford校園內漫步。在他生命中的最後一年,他正在研究Mark Rothko,這位他從前完全不知道的藝術家的繪畫書籍,並想著在未來Apple園區的牆上該有些什麼,才能啟發人們。

Steve有修養卻也很奇特。有哪個CEO會知道英文與中文的香水月季(tea roses)的典故,並且會喜歡David Austin Roses?

他的口袋常常塞滿著他的驚喜。我想Laurene一定會找到一些──他喜愛的歌曲、一些他剪下來放到抽屜裡的詩句──即使是在他們親密的二十年婚姻過後。我每隔一天都會與他說話,但是當我打開紐約時報,看到Apple的一些專利時,我還是會很驚訝,並且高興地看到一個完美樓梯的草圖。

與他的四個孩子、妻子、以及我們所有人相伴,Steve有了許多的樂趣。

他珍惜著幸福。

然後,Steve病了,我們看著他的生活壓縮成一個小圈圈。他曾經喜愛在巴黎漫步、他會在京都發現一間小小的蕎麥麵店、他也曾笨拙地滑雪──這些都不再有了。

最後,甚至是最普通的樂趣,例如一個好吃的桃子,他都無法享用。

不過,讓我驚訝並且從他的病痛中學習到的是,在如此多的事物被奪走後,那些仍然留下來的東西。

我記得我哥哥再一次地從一張椅子開始學著走路。在他肝臟移植過後的一天,他會用他細到似乎無法支撐起他的腿站起來,並且扶著椅背。他會推著椅子到Memphis醫院的護理站走廊後,坐在椅子上休息,然後轉身,再一次地走回去。他會計算他的腳步、並且每天走的更遠一些。

Laurene跪了下來,看著他的雙眼。

「你做的到的,Steve。」她說。他的眼神放寬,他的嘴唇則深深印入對方。

他常試著。他永遠、永遠都會嘗試著,並總是會在這一切的努力深處包含著愛。他是個帶有強烈情感的一個人。

在那段糟透了的日子中,我意識到Steve並不是為了自己而忍受著病痛。他立下了目標──他的兒子Reed的高中畢業典禮、與他的女兒Erin的京都旅行、當他某天與Laurene退休後,可以帶著家人環遊世界的遊艇落成。

即使在病痛中,他的品味與鑑賞力依在。在經過了67位護士後,他才找到滿意的人,並且完全相信著他們三人直到最後──Tracy、、Arturo以及Elham。

有一次,當Steve患上了急性肺炎,醫生禁止了所有東西,甚至是冰。我們在一個標準的加護病房裡。Steve通常不喜歡插隊,或是秀出自己的名字。不過那次他承認,他希望能有點特別待遇。

我告訴他:「Steve,這是特別的待遇。」

他向我靠了過來,並說:「我想要更特別一點。」

當他插著管,無法說話時,他要了一本筆記本。他畫著可以在醫院病床上架著iPad的裝置草圖。他設計了新的液晶螢幕與X光設備。他重新繪製了那些並不是很特別的醫院用設備。而每次當他的妻子走進房間內時,我看到他的微笑重新展現在他的臉上。

而你必須相信我這件大事。他寫在他的畫板上、抬起頭來、你真的會想要給他他想要的。

在那時,他的意思是我們要違背醫生的指示,給他一塊冰塊。

我們沒有人知道,我們會在這裡待上多長的時間。當Steve狀況比較好的日子,甚至是在最後一年,他著手開始進行許多計畫,並且期待他在Apple的朋友們能夠承諾將這些計畫實現。在荷蘭的工匠們已經完成了不鏽鋼船體,正準備開始鋪上木材地板。他的三個女兒仍然未婚,兩個比較小的還只是小女孩。他想陪著她們走過婚禮,就像他陪著我過紅毯的那天一樣。

我們到最後,都會在故事的中場死去。這些無數的,還在半途的故事。

對於一個並不令人意外的長年罹癌者的死去,也許那些回憶並不是非常清晰。不過Steve的死,對我們來說是完全沒有料到的事。

對於我哥哥的去逝,一個最根本的是──他是怎樣、如何走的。

星期二的早晨,他打電話給我,要我快點到Palo Alto,他的語氣充滿著深情、親密與關愛,但他就像是個已經將行李綁上車、準備展開旅程的人。雖然他充滿著遺憾與歉意,但是他已必須離去。

他開始了他的道別,但我制止了他。「等等!」我說著:「我快到了!我已經在去機場的計程車上,我會趕到的!」

「我想現在告訴你,因為恐怕妳已經來不及了,親愛的。」

當我到了的時候,他與他的Laurene正在互相開玩笑,就像是每天一起居住、一起工作的夥伴一樣。他看著孩子們的眼睛,就像是他無法解開他的目光一樣。

到了大約下午兩點,他的妻子才能叫醒他,讓他與來自Apple的朋友談話。

然後,過了一段時間。很明顯地,他再也無法在我們面前醒來了。

他的呼吸已經起了變化,變成劇烈、刻意、有目的呼吸。我可以感覺到他再次算著他的步伐,比之前任何時候都還要來的遠。

我當時明白了:他也正在為此而工作。

死亡並沒有降臨在Steve身上,而是Steve完成了這件事。

他在道別時告訴我,他非常抱歉,我們無法像以往計畫的一樣,互相陪伴在一起,直到終老。因為,他已經準備好,前往一個更好的地方了。

Fischer醫生認為,他有一半的機率可以撐過這個晚上。

他撐過了那個晚上,Laurene整晚都在他的床邊。有時他猛然地大吸一口氣,並在下一口氣之間停頓了好長一段時間。我與Laurene互相望著對方,然後,他會深深地再吸一口氣,並再一次地開始。

事情即將要完成。即時到當時,他依然嚴厲、依然帥氣、依然專制、依然地浪漫。他的呼吸暗示著一段艱困的旅程、一段高聳的路徑。

他就像是在登山一樣。

憑藉著這種信念、這種操守、勇氣、以及Steve讓人驚嘆的力量、如藝術家般對理想的執著、以及對未來更美好的夢想。

Steve在最後幾小時所說的話,是個單音詞,重複了三次。

臨走前,他看著他的妹妹Patty、然後望了他的孩子們好一陣子、然後移往他人生的伴侶,Laurene。最後,他將目光移到了她們的肩後。

Steve的最後一句話是:

 

「OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.」

 

Mona Simpson

 

 

via A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs – NYTimes.com