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英文欣賞:魂亡的愛(上)

(2007-02-15 21:33:05)
分类: 英文小說
原名 “风中树枝”
 
 
  他想把事情原原本本地告诉她,可是他不能。所以吃早饭时,司各特说:“我想自己呆一段时间。不是你的原因。没出什么事。我只是需要一个人在这里过几夜。”
  帕特西亚啜着咖啡,环顾着这个只有一间卧室的小屋。雨落在窗台上。“我一个人在我自己的公寓里过夜很难呐,”她说。“我已经习惯这个地方了。”
  他拉住她的手。
  “就几个晚上。”
  她看看他,笑了,而他已经开始想念她了。“好吧,”她说。“我不明白你干吗要这样,不过行啊。”
  “不会太长时间的,”他说。
  “我会去电话的,”他又说。“一到时候,我就会打电话的.”
  他们一块洗了碗以后,他送她到汽车边,然后站在泥泞和雨中看她驾车而去。叹了口气,他回身进了屋。
  他把外套上的雨滴甩掉,挂了起来,在饭桌前坐了下来。他拔掉了电话线,就看着摆在电烧窑边烘干架子上那五个还没做成的陶罐。
  “好吧,莎伦,” 他沉静地说。“是我们该结束的时候了。”
  莎伦死后很长一段时间,司各特都睡不好觉。他会一夜醒来五六次听围绕在小屋四周树林里的风声,听他自己的呼吸声。
  莎伦的朋友大卫和朱丽叶试图劝他从这种状况中走出来。“你需要交新朋友,”
他们说。 “你不能就圈在那个小地方里度过你这后半辈子啊。已经两年了。”  好象两年是个很长的时间。
  他不想要显得不领情。大卫和朱丽叶拥有这间出售莎伦大部分陶器的艺术馆。他们帮了她很多忙,所以他也接受他们的邀请吃饭,见那些他们希望他认识的女人,还忍受着在寒暄中阵阵沉默所引起的不自在。
  大多数时候,小屋里都是一片凌乱。有时朱丽叶会沿着狭窄和泥泞的道路开车过来给他送来一个蒸锅,看看这个地方里面是个什么样子,然后会轻声责备他,又去帮他洗碗。在她不来的时候,他就把碗盘堆在那里,只到要用时才会去洗。老鼠在水池底下住着。
  莎伦留下了一架子还没来得及烧的陶罐,在烧窑和陶工旋盘之间。他想着什么时候要处理一下这些罐子,把它们扔了,要么用被单把它们盖住,要么把它们送人,要么找人把它们烧出来。可他什么也没做。他一碰这些陶罐就要哭,一旦他哭起来,总是哭得没完没了,不能自己。
  一天夜里,细雨霏霏,他醒来听到前窗有响动。挞 挞挞。挞 挞挞。风在刮着树枝,他想,闭上了眼睛。他想再回头去睡,可是那个声音就像是自来水龙头的滴水声,有节奏,但是又没有规律。它会停下来一阵,接着又开始响。在响声停息的间隙里,他发现自己在静听着它再次响起来。
  司各特把枕头压到自己头上,可是他还是能清晰地听到这个声音, 挞,挞, 挞,就好象是从自己脑袋里发出的。
  好吧,他心里想,就坐起来,把腿撂下床来。我要把这个树枝的挞挞声给破了。而这时他在窗户昏暗的方框子里看到一个熟悉的剪影而且注视着一个手的黑影抬起来敲着窗台。挞,挞,挞。
   穿过黑漆漆的屋子时,他心提到了嗓子眼,老旧的木地板在他脚下发出吱吱的响声。他打开门去摸灯的开关。
  “不要,”,她说。“不要开灯。” 她声音嘶哑,但是没错是她的声音。”
  “我不开,” 他说着,把手缩了回来。他能感到雨落在脸上就像冰冷的雾,可以听到血一下子冲到耳根的声音。他使劲挣开眼睛想清楚地看到她。
  “你不让我进去吗?”
  他把门开得更大,闪在一边。她擦身而过时,地板没有一点声响。
  司各特关了门把她拥在怀里。她一身泥巴,皮肤冰凉,在他怀里颤抖着。“我想你了”。
  “我知道,”她说。她的呼吸有新翻开的泥土气息。
  “你好冷,”他说。“我来烧点茶,加蜂蜜的黑加仑,你喜欢的那样。” 他把她引到桌前,然后往壁橱那儿摸索过去。
  当他扭开炉灶的旋钮,茶壶下面升腾起的蓝色火焰让屋子里闪烁了些暗淡的光线。
  “你怎么-”
  “嘘,她悄声说。“不要问话。我就在这里。”
  “好吧,”他说。“我不问了。”他在她对面坐下来,捏了捏她满是砂砾的手。
    后来,当他吻她的时候,他感到她嘴唇上和舌头上有砂砾。她的吻很僵硬,但是她的臂膀紧紧地箍着他潮湿的身体。
  清晨,小屋里暖洋洋的,而她又死去了,她的身体僵直,躺在他的身旁。她皮肤上和床单上的红土正在干去一片片剥落下来。
  他抱着她走进树林,把她埋进黑土里。接着他洗了床单,倒去杯子里她没碰过的茶,刮掉地板上沾着的红土。他注意到在烧窑的边上有许多红土,才意识到烧窑在开着。怪不得屋子里这么暖和。到了下午,当窑子自动关闭并冷却下来以后,司各特打开窑门。陶罐烧出来了。
 
  接下去的三个夜里,他一直等着她,但是敲窗声再也没有出现。又过了几夜然后几个星期,还是没有敲窗声。
  他拒绝了大卫和朱丽叶的晚餐邀请,白天睡觉,晚上通宵等待。大卫和朱丽叶开始每天来电或来访。司各特把房间稍稍打扫了一下以表示他没事,但是他们觉得还是不行。“这样与世隔绝对你没好处,”朱丽叶坚持说。
  可是敲窗声还是没来。为了让大卫和朱丽叶不要再天天过来,他好几次同意去那儿吃晚饭。
  当他几乎要放弃希望的时候,一天夜里,他醒来听到了挞挞的敲窗声。
  那天夜里是满月,在窗外银灰的月光中他可以请楚地看到她。他跨出门外把她拥进怀里,问道:“你干吗要走?”
“不要问话,”她说。“记得吗?”
“好吧,” 他说着,抱着她悠了起来,跟着她一起在月光下旋转着。
(待续)
**************** 英文 *****************
A Branch In the Wind
  He wanted to tell her the whole story, but he couldn’t, so at breakfast Scott said,“I just need some time alone. It’s not you. There’s nothing wrong. I just need a few nights up here by myself.”
  Patricia sipped her coffee and looked around at the one-room cabin. Rain fell
against the windowpanes. “It’ll be hard to sleep in my own apartment,” she said. “I’m getting used to this place.”
  He took her hand.
  “Just a few nights.”
  She looked at him and smiled, and he missed her already. “All right,” she said. “I don’t understand this, but all right.”
  “It won’t be long,” he said.
  “I’ll call,” he said. “As soon as I’m ready, I’ll call.”
  After they had done the dishes together, he walked her to her car and then stood in the mud and rain as she drove off. With a sigh, he went back inside.
  He shook the raindrops out of his coat, hung it up, and sat down again at the kitchen table. He unplugged the telephone, and then he looked at the five unfinished pots that sat in their drying rack beside the electric kiln.
  “All right, Sharon,” he said quietly. “It’s time we finished.”
  For a long time after Sharon had died, Scott had not slept well. He would wake up five or six times before morning and listen to the night wind in the woods around the tiny cabin, listen to the sound of his own breathing.
  Sharon’s friends, David and Julie, tried to get him out more. “You need to meet new people,” they said. “You can’t stay cooped up in that little place for the rest of your life. It’s been two years.” As though two years were a long time.
  He didn’t want to seem ungrateful. David and Julie owned the gallery where Sharon had sold most of her ceramics. They had done a lot for her, so he accepted their dinner invitations, met the women they hoped he would like, and endured uncomfortable gaps of silence in the small talk.
  Most of the time, the cabin was a mess. Sometimes Julie would drive up the narrow, muddy road to bring him a casserole and, seeing what the place was like inside, would scold him gently and do the dishes. Between these visits, he let the plates crust over and scraped and washed them only as they were needed. Mice lived under the sink.
  Sharon had left a rack of unfired pots between the kiln and the potter’s wheel.
He thought sometimes that he should do something with the pots, throw them out
or break them or cover them with a sheet or give them away or have someone finish
them. But he did nothing. He couldn’t touch them without crying, and once the
crying started it always took a long time to be finished with him.
  One night, during a light rain, he woke up to hear a sound at the front window. Tip tip tip. Tip tip tip.
  A branch in the wind, he thought, closing his eyes. He tried to go back to sleep,but the sound was like a dripping water faucet: rhythmic but irregular. It would stop for a time and then start. During the pauses, he found he was listening to hear it begin again.
  Scott put a pillow over his head, but still he heard it distinctly, tip tip tip, as though it came from inside his skull.
  All right, he thought, sitting up and swinging his feet out of the bed. I’ll go break off the tip of the branch.
  And then he saw a familiar silhouette in the window’s dim square and watched as the black shadow of a hand rose to tap the pane. Tip tip tip.
  His pulse throbbed in his throat as he crossed the dark room, the old floorboards creaking under his feet. He opened the door and started to feel for the light switch.
  “Don’t,” she said. “Don’t turn on the light.” She sounded hoarse, but there was no mistaking her voice.
  “I won’t,” he said, withdrawing his hand. He could feel the rain on his face as a cold mist and heard the blood rushing in his ears. He strained his eyes trying to see her clearly.
  “Aren’t you going to let me in?”
  He opened the door some more and stepped aside. The floor was silent as she brushed past him.
  Scott closed the door and took her in his arms. She was muddy, and her skin was
cold. She trembled as he held her. “I’ve missed you.”
  “I know,” she said. Her breath smelled like freshly turned soil.
“You’re cold,” he said. “I’ll make some tea, some black currant with honey, the way you like it.” He guided her to the table and then felt his way to the cupboard.
  When he turned the knob on the stove, the blue flame that erupted under the tea
kettle gave a dim glow to the room.
  “How did you—”
  “Shh,” she whispered. “No questions. I’m here.”
  “All right,” he said. “I won’t ask.” He sat across from her and gave her gritty fingers a squeeze.
  Later, when he kissed her, he felt the grit on her lips and on her tongue. Her kiss was stiff, but her arms pulled him tight against her damp body.
  In the morning, the cabin was very warm and she was dead again, her body rigid next to his. The red mud on her skin and in the sheets was drying and flaking.
  He carried her into the woods and buried her there in the black earth. Then he washed the sheets, emptied the cup of tea she hadn’t touched, and scrubbed the reddish mud up from the floor. He noticed that there was a lot of the mud over by the kiln, and then realized that the kiln was on. That was why the room was so warm. The unfired pots were missing. In the afternoon, when the kiln had shut itself off and cooled, Scott opened it. There were the pots.
 
  He waited up for her for the next three nights, but the tapping at the window didn’t come. Through several nights and then several weeks, it didn’t come.
  He turned down dinner invitations from David and Julie, slept during the day and
waited through the night. David and Julie started to call or visit every day. Scott cleaned the place up a little to show them he was all right, but that wasn’t enough for them. “This isolation isn’t good for you,” Julie insisted.
  Still the tap at the window didn’t come. To get Julie and David to stop coming up every day, he agreed to come to dinner a few times.
  When he had almost given up hope, he woke one night to hear the tip tip tip at the pane.
  There was a full moon that night, and he could see her clearly in the gray light outside the window. When he stepped out and took her in his arms he said, “Why did you go?”
  “No questions,” she said. “Remember?”
  “All right,” he said, holding her, swaying with her under the moon.
( to be continued)

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