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受损的物品

(2006-09-02 12:44:17)
 

Demaged Goods

The dust mites1 danced in the ray of sunshine that provided the only light in the rabbi's2 office. He leaned back in his office chair and sighed as he stroked3 his beard. Then he took his wire-rimmed4 glasses and polished them absentmindedly5 on his flannel6 shirt.

  “ So,” he said, “ you were divorced. Now you want to marry this good Jewish7 boy. What's the problem?”

  He nestled8 his grizzled9 chin in his hand and smiled softly at me.

  I want to shriek. What's the problem? First of all, I'm Christian. Second, I'm older than he is. Third--and not least, by any means-- I'm divorced! Instead, I looked back into his soft brown eyes and tried to form the words.

  “ Don't you think,” I stuttered10, “ that being divorced is like being used? Like being damaged goods?”

  He settled back into the office chair and stretched so that he was looking at the ceiling. He stroked the scraggly11 beard that covered his chin and his neck. Then, he returned to his spot behind the desk and leaned toward me.

  “ Say you have to have surgery. Say you have a choice between two doctors. Who are you going to choose? The one right out of medical school or the one with experience?”

  “ The one with experience,” I said.

  His face crinkled12 into a grin. “ I would, too,” he locked his eyes with mine. “ So in this marriage, you will be the one with experi ence. That's not such a bad thing, you know.”

  “ Often, marriages tend to drift. They get caught in dangerous currents13. They get off course and head toward hidden sandbars14. No one notices until it is too late. On your face, I see the pain of a marriage gone bad. You will notice the drift in this marriage. You'll call out when you see the rocks. You'll yell15 to watch out and pay attention. You'll be the person with experience,” he sighed. “ And believe me, that's not such a bad thing. Not bad at all.”

  He walked to the window and peeked between the slats16 of the blinds17. “ You see, no one here knows about my first wife. I don't hide it, but I don't make a big deal about it. She died early in our marriage before I moved here. Now, late at night I think of all the words I never said. I think of all the chances I let pass by in that first marriage, and I believe I'm a better husband to my wife today because of the woman I lost.”

  For the first time, the sadness in his eyes had meaning. Now I understood why I chose to come talk to this man about marriage instead of taking an easier route and getting married outside both our religions. The word “ rabbi” means teacher. Somehow I sensed he could teach me, or even lend me, the courage I needed in order to try again, to marry again and to love again.

  “ I will marry you and your David,” said the rabbi.“ If you promise me that you will be the person who yells out when you see the marriage is in danger.”

  I promised him I would, and I rose to leave.

  “ By the way,” he called to me as I hesitated in his doorway,“ did anyone ever tell you that Joanna is a good Hebrew18 name?”

  Sixteen years have passed since the rabbi married David and me on a rainy October morning. And, yes, I have called out several times when I sensed we were in danger. I would tell the rabbi how well his analogy19 has served me, but I cannot. He died two years after our wedding. But I will always be grateful for the priceless gift he gave me: the wisdom to know that all of our experiences in life make us not less valuable, but more valuable, not less able to love, but more able to love.

 

 

受损的物品

微尘在射进拉比办公室的那缕阳光中飞舞着,那缕阳光是拉比办公室里惟一的光源。拉比坐在椅子上往后仰,抚摸着他的胡须叹息了一声。他摘下金属丝镜架的眼镜,漫不经心地在他的法兰绒衬衫上擦拭着。

  “这么说,”他开了口,“你离婚了。现在你想与这位犹太好小伙子结婚,有什么问题?”

  他用手把住他那有花白胡须的下巴,温柔地冲我微笑着。

  我真想尖叫。有什么问题?首先,我是基督教徒。第二,我比他年龄大。第三,这绝不是最不重要的——我离过婚!但我没有叫,而是迎向他那双温柔的棕色的眼睛,努力组织着话语。

  “您不认为,”我结结巴巴地说,“离过婚就像东西被用过一样吧?就像是受损的物品吧?”

  他坐在椅子上,头往后靠,伸直了腿,将目光投向天花板。他轻捋着他那稀稀拉拉的、遮盖了下巴和脖子的胡须,然后他将身子转回办公桌前并朝我这边俯过来。

  “比如说你得做个手术。有两位医生可供你选择。你会选谁?选位刚从医学院毕业的,还是选那位有经验的?”

  “有经验的那位,”我回答。

  他笑了,脸上都是皱纹。“我也是,”他凝视着我说。“那么在这桩婚姻中,你就是有经验的一方。要知道这并不是什么坏事。”

  “婚姻往往像在水上漂流,会陷入危险的激流里,会偏离航向流向暗藏的沙洲。等注意到时已经晚了。在你的脸上,我看到了一桩失败婚姻留下的痛苦。在这桩婚姻中你会注意到流向。当你看到岩石时你会大喊一声。你会呼叫要小心些,注意点。你将是有经验的那个人,”他叹息着说。“相信我,那并不是什么坏事,真地不是。”

  他走到窗边,透过百叶板向外瞥了一眼。“你瞧,这里没有人知道我的第一位妻子。我并没有掩藏,但我也没有大肆渲染。我们结婚没多久她就去世了,后来我迁居到这里。现在,夜深人静时我想到所有那些我从未能说出的话,我想到所有那些我在第一次婚姻中错过的机会。我相信对于我现在的妻子我是个更好的丈夫,是因为那位我失去的女人。”

  第一次,他眼里的悲伤显露出了含义。现在我明白了为什么我选择来和这个人谈婚姻,而没有图省事去找不属于我们双方宗教的人为我们主持婚礼。“拉比”一词意味着老师。不知怎的,我感觉出他会教给我,甚至会给予我去再次尝试、再次结婚、再次奉献出爱情所需要的勇气。

  “我会为你和你的戴维主持婚礼,”拉比说。“但条件是,你要答应我,当你发现婚姻陷入危机时你要大声说出来。”

  我答应他我会的,然后我起身离开。

  “顺便说一句,”当我走到门口犹豫片刻时他叫住我,“有没有人告诉过你乔安娜是个好的希伯来语名字?”

10月一个下雨的早晨,拉比为我和戴维举行了婚礼。一晃16年过去了。是的,有几次当我感觉到我们身陷危机时我就大声地说了出来。我多想告诉拉比他的比喻让我多么受益。但是我无法告诉他。我们结婚两年后他就去世了。但是我永远感激他赐予我的无价的礼物:一种智慧,它使我懂得我们生活中所有的经历并不会使我们贬值,而是使我们更有价值,并不会使我们丧失爱的能力,而是使我们更有能力去爱。

 

 

 

1.mite[mait]n.微小的东西

2.rabbi[5rAbit]n.拉比(指犹太教负责执行教规、律法并主持宗教仪式的人员或犹太教会众领袖。原意为“我的老师”。)

3.stroke[strEuk]vt.(用手等)摩,捋

4.wire-rimmed[5wai[rimd]adj.(眼镜)金属丝镜架的

5.absentmindedly[5Abs[nt5maindidli]adv.心不在焉地

6.flannel[5flAnl]n.法兰绒

7.Jewish[5dVu:iF]adj.犹太人的

8.nestle[5nesl]vt.使紧贴,揽

9.grizzled[5^rizld]adj.花白的,灰的

10.stutter[5stQtE]vt.结结巴巴地说出

11.scraggly[5skrA^li]adj.稀疏的

12.crinkle[5kriNkl]vi.起皱,成波状

13.current[5kQrEnt]n.(空气,水等的)流,潮流

14.sandbar[sAndbB:]n.[地]河口沙洲

15.yell[jel]vi.叫嚷,叫喊

16.slat[slAt]n.百叶板

17.blind[blaind]n.百叶窗

18.Hebrew[5hi:bru:]adj.希伯来语的

19.analogy[E5nAlEdVi]n.比喻,类比

 

 

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