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First love(continued)

(2007-03-02 15:18:00)
出租车内,她思绪万千,一语不发。而我惊讶于自己还记得房子的地址。我们找不到它,虽然我们确定是站在正确的街角。陌生!现代的砖式建筑簇立在原先散乱分布的老房子的地方,孩子们在巷子里跑来跑去,夕阳照在他们背上,他们叫喊着其他孩子的名字,这些曾经熟悉的名字引起了我的一丝共鸣:“印寿——呀!董哲——啊!”一切都已被连根拨起又填平,我们已不能找到曾经荫护房子的栗木了。我们站在路的转弯处,过去卖豆奶的小贩常将人力车停在那里,然后拿起松松地绕在脖颈上的毛巾,擦去额头上的汗水。我们盯着地面,好象要挖掘出埋葬在水泥地面下的足迹。她转身,开始走开。面对天空因暮色的逼近而流淌着的红晕,我闭上双眼,听到她那双廉价的高跟鞋敲打着水泥地面的清脆声,像那很久以前脚步声的回响。但当我惊奇地张开双眼,却看到她那裹在艳俗的外套里臃肿的腰,看到了岁月在她的体形上烙下的痕迹,看到了她短发上不自然的粗糙卷曲。我重又闭上眼,看到了曾经滋生我那荒谬的爱的房子呈现在眼前,先是连翘,然后是渐渐掘起的房子。

  后来,她带路,我们去了街边的一家小旅馆,那里浓装女人围着满是污迹的围裙,给我们上了鸡肫和一瓶韩国白酒。我点了支她递给我的烟。突然记忆便从嘴中滔滔而出。我谈起了美国,谈起离开留在脑中的形象的她后的那些年。从厨房的电波传来悲伤的老曲调,透过女歌手如泣如诉的歌声,我得出男人总是离开女人的结论。男人,男人啊,所有的男人都是一样的,啊——,啊——哈。她开始跟着唱,哭泣着。我告诉她我妻子无趣的事实,话一出口,我便感到难堪。我们俩都醉了,不仅仅因这那瓶韩国白酒。

  In the cab, too busy with memory, she didn’t speak a word, but I surprised myself by remembering the address of the house. We couldn’t find it, even though we were sure we were at the right street corner. Unfamiliar, modern brick buildings were clustered where the old house had once been sprawled out, and children ran in the alleyway with the twilight on their backs, shouting once familiar names of other children that resonated weakly in my brain, "Insu-ya! Dongchul-a!" Everything had been uprooted and paved over; we couldn’t even find the chestnut tree that used to shade the house. We stood at the curve of the road where the bean-curd vendor used to rest his rickshaw and wipe off the sweat from his forehead with the towel looped around his neck. We stared together at the ground as if to trace the footprint buried under the cement. She turned around and started walking away, and I closed my eyes to the sky bleeding red with the approaching night and heard in the harsh click of her cheap high heels on the cement, an echo of her footsteps from long ago. But opening my eyes cautiously, I saw her thick waist wrapped in a gaudy suit, the age that had settled on her figure, the unnatural ahjooma curls of her short hair. I closed my eyes again and saw the house where I had once foolishly loved rise up before me, resurrecting itself by degrees, the forsythias first.

  Afterwards, she led the way. We went to a small street-side restaurant where a thick-set woman with a generously stained apron served us chicken gizzards with a bottle of soju. I lit the cigarette she held out to me. Suddenly becoming voluble, with memories I never knew I had loosening in my mouth, I talked of America and the years that separated me now from that image in my brain. The radio from the kitchen spilled out old melodies with pathetic lyrics; through the weeping voice of the female singer, I made out a verse about men always leaving women. Namja-neun, namja-neun da, moduga geurukye da, ah-aaa, aaaah-a. She started singing along, crying. I told her the banal truths about my wife that embarrassed me as soon as the words were out of my mouth. Both of us were drunk on something more than the bottle of soju.

    “当我第一次见到我的妻子,她身上的一些东西使我想起了你,”我说道。

“你对我一点都不了解,”她说道。

  坐在这里看着她的鼻孔呼出长长的羽毛状的烟雾,将她同妻子对照,想找回原先的失落,我想这多奇怪啊。

  “如果你了解我,你就不会说你的妻子使你想起了我。你知道我从来没有小产吗?当那个住在你隔壁的家伙让我怀孕并拒绝娶我时,我母亲叫我做了流产。”她直率地看着我,期望看到我惊讶。我记起了那个家伙令我厌恶的粗厚易动的大唇,惹眼的二头肌及他常自吹大学入学考试的三次落第。他靠他母亲送来的从微薄的收入中挤出的每月津贴生活,所有的寄膳者都讨厌他。她脚步声停止后不久,他突然搬出。我曾看见他们在空寂的房间里,陷在一起,像对在令人昏昏欲睡的夏天午时粘在苍蝇纸上的苍蝇,紧张地听着他们自己挣扎时的喘息。于是我明白了。

  她的幻影一直徘徊在我梦幻到奇妙的颜色的那些早晨,但不在我门旁。

  我是不是以她为模来爱妻,拒绝对妻付出超过我认为可以给脑中的形象更多的爱?我爱她那纯洁的幻影,是不是因为我从没接触她,从没允许自己真实的双手来拨开那层雾呢?我意识到自己根本不了解她,那个躲在皱纹、廉价服装和电烫头发下的她。我恨自己背叛了长久以来让自己一直记得的幻影,那光彩斑斓、迷离双眼无法分辨的、巧妙地混合的、无法想象有多少故事的幻影。二十五年后,我不知道是否还想听新的故事。《男人啊男人》。这首歌以所有的男人都是一样的具体结论结尾。她的烟灰落在她裙子的前摆,但她不想费心去将它们抖落。随之而来的沉默中,我发觉她很少言语,径自让我盯着桌子,即便那首歌曲已结束。她的黑色的睫毛覆在乌云般的双眼上,留下污渍,不再娴静,也许它们从不曾有过,但我心中的隐痛--如爱情故事的“爱”中一样无趣--令我惊讶。我被自己不再回忆感动了。

  “你不了解我,”她突然说道,好象在安慰她自己。

  “为什么你不告诉我?”我问她,睁着双眼斜躺在塑料椅上,等待着心醉的故事再一次开始。

  "When I first met my wife, something about her reminded me of you," I said.

  "You don’t know anything about me," she said.

  I thought how strange it was to sit here and watch her nostrils breathe out long plumes of coupling smoke from her cigarette, to compare her to my wife and find the original lacking.

  "If you knew anything about me, you couldn’t say that your wife reminds you of me. Do you know that I never miscarried? My mother made me get an abortion when the guy who lived in the room next to yours got me pregnant and refused to marry me. " She looked at me flatly, expecting surprise. I remembered his thick and mobi
le underlip that repelled me, the showy strength of his biceps, and how he used to brag about failing the college entrance exam three times. He had lived on the monthly allowance his mother sent him out of her own small income, and all the boarders hated him. He had moved out suddenly, sometime after her footsteps stopped.
  I saw them together in the empty and silent house, trapped like a pair of flies on flypaper one of those drowsy summer afternoons, listening breathlessly to the sounds of their own labored breathing. And then I understood.

  The shadow of her silhouette had lingered all those mornings when I dreamed in fantastic colors, but not by my door.

  Did I model my love for my wife after her, refusing to give more than what I thought I could give to the image in my brain? Was she the pure phantom I loved because I would never touch her, never allow my all too real hands to dissipate the mist? I realized I knew nothing about her at all, that underneath the wrinkles and cheap clothes and permed hair that I hated for betraying the image I made myself remember long ago, were colors of a different kind, mixed in combinations too subtle for my dream-dazed eyes, stories I couldn’t imagine. And after twenty-five years, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to hear new stories. Namja-neun da geurae. The song ended with a specious conclusion that all men are the same. The ashes from her cigarette fell onto the lap of her dress, but she didn’t bother to shake them off. In the silence that followed, I could see that she was ashamed of the wor
  ds that remained bare for me to see on the table even though the song was now over. Her darkened lashes fell over her cloudy eyes, leaving smudges. They were no longer demure and I realized that perhaps they never were, but the dull ache in my heart—as banal as the word "love" in a love story—surprised me. I was moved by
what I did not remember.

  "You don’t know anything about me," she said suddenly, as if to assure herself.

  "Why don’t you tell me?" I asked her, reclining in the plastic chair with my eyes open, waiting for the enchantment to begin, once again.

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