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麦克尤恩 - 爱无可忍 - 3

(2011-09-29 16:51:39)
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杂谈

分类: 学英文
                                            Three
By six that evening we were back home, in our kitchen, and everything looked the same – the railway clock above the door, Clarissa’s library of cookery books, the flowery copperplate of a note left by the cleaning lady the day before. The unaltered array of my breakfast coffee cup and newspaper seemed blasphemous. While Clarissa carried her luggage into the bedroom, I cleared the table, opened the picnic wine and set out two glasses. We sat facing each other and began.
We hadn’t said much in the car. It had seemed enough to be coming through the traffic unharmed. Now it came out in a torrent, a post-mortem, a re-living, a de-briefing, the rehearsal of grief, and the exorcism of terror. There was so much repetition that evening of the incidents, and of our perceptions, and of the very phrases and words we honed to accommodate them that one could only assume that an element of ritual was in play, that these were not only descriptions but incantations also. There was comfort in reiteration, just as there was in the familiar weight of the wine glasses, and in the grain of the deal table which had once belonged to Clarissa’s great-grandmother. There were smooth, shallow indentations in its surface near the knife-scarred edges, worn by elbows like ours, I always thought; many crises and deaths must already have been considered round this table.

第三章

 

    当晚六点,我们回到了家中。厨房里的一切看上去都是老样子——悬在门上的挂钟,克拉莉莎的装满烹饪书的书架,清洁女工前天留下的手写花体的字条。而我吃早 餐时用的咖啡杯和报纸也摆在一起,原地未动,仿佛有些亵渎之意。克拉莉莎将行李搬进卧室的时候,我收拾了一下桌子,打开了野餐酒,摆上两只玻璃酒杯。我们 面对面坐下来,开始讨论。

    在车上我们说得很少。能从车水马龙中一路穿梭平安回家,仿佛已经足够了。现在,我们一口气倾泻了出来,就像进行事后的检讨,在想象中重新经历这桩事件,对 情况进行详细盘问,将悲伤再次排演,以驱散心中的恐惧。那天晚上,我们无休止地重复谈论着这些事件,重复着我们的看法,重复着那些我们斟酌再三以与事实相 符的话语和字眼。我们重复的次数如此之多,以至于让人只能这样猜想:这是在上演一场仪式,这些话不仅仅是一份叙述,也是一种咒语。不断的重复有种抚慰人心 的效果,这份抚慰也同样来自于玻璃酒杯那熟悉的重量,来自于那张曾属于克拉莉莎曾祖母的冷杉木桌上的纹理。在留着刀刻印迹的桌面边缘,有几处浅而光滑的凹 痕,我一直以为,它们都是被手肘磨出来的,就和我们的一样。先人们肯定也曾围坐在这张桌前,讨论过许许多多的危机和死亡。

Clarissa told the beginning of her story in a rush, of the swaying, blundering tangle of ropes and men, of the shouting and cursing, and of how she had gone forward to help but could not find a spare line to hang on to. Together we heaped curses on the pilot, James Gadd, and his incompetence, but this could not protect us for long from thoughts of all the things we should have done to avert Logan’s death. We jumped forward to the moment he let go as we did many other times that evening. I told her how he seemed to hang in the air before dropping, and she told me how a scrap of Milton had flashed before her: Hurl’d headlong flaming from th’Ethereal Sky. But we backed away from that moment again and again, circling it, stalking it, until we had it cornered and began to tame it with words. We went back to the struggle with the balloon and the ropes. I felt the sickness of guilt, something I couldn’t yet bear to talk about. I showed Clarissa the rope burn on my hands. We had finished the Gassac in less than half an hour. Clarissa raised my hands to her lips and kissed my palms. I was looking in her eyes – that beautiful loving green – but the moment couldn’t hold, we were not permitted that kind of peace. She winced as she cried out, ‘But oh God when he fell!’ and I stood up hurriedly to reach for a bottle of Beaujolais from the rack.
克拉莉莎在匆忙中开始讲述她的故事,她说起胡乱晃动的绳索和这一群混乱不堪的男人,说起那些叫声和骂声,然后是她如何跑上前,试图帮助他们,却又找不到一 条多余的绳子。我们一起大骂那个驾驶员詹姆斯·盖德和他的无能,但这只能带给我们暂时的安慰,过了一会儿,我们又会想起我们该做却没有做的事情,如果我们 当时做了,也许洛根就不会死去。我们的谈话又跳到了他放手的那一刻,就像我们在那天晚上其他许多时间里做的那样。我告诉她,在坠落之前,他看上去就像悬在 空中,而她则告诉我,弥尔顿的一句片断如何从她眼前闪过:“万能的主从天庭将他用力抛下,将那迅速升起的火焰扔上轻渺的天空。”出自弥尔顿《失乐园》卷 一。然而我们一次又一次回避那个时刻,仿佛它是一只野兽,我们一圈一圈围着它,一点一点逼近它,直到把它逼进死角,才开始用言语驯化它。我们又回到了与气 球和绳索的搏斗上。我感到了因为内疚而产生的懦弱,那是一种说不出口的感觉。我给克拉莉莎看了看绳子在我手心里留下的印记。我们已经在不到半小时的时间里 干掉了那瓶葡萄酒。克拉莉莎抬起我的手,轻轻地亲吻我的手心。我盯着她的眼睛——那对惹人怜爱的美丽绿色双眸——然而,这样的情形无法持续,我们无法奢享 这份安详宁静。她的脸一阵抽搐,刹那间哭出声来:“可是天哪,他掉下去的时候!”我赶忙起身,从架台上取下一瓶博若莱博若莱葡萄酒(Les Vins du Beaujolais,或简称为Beaujolais)是生产于法国中部偏东的博若莱地区的葡萄酒。
We were back with the fall again, and how long it had taken him to reach the ground, two seconds or three. Immediately we backed off into the peripheries, the police, the ambulance men, one of whom was not strong enough to hold his end of the stretcher carrying Greene, and had to be helped across the field by Lacey; and the garage break-down truck that had towed away Logan’s car. We tried to imagine it, the delivery of this empty car to the home in Oxford where Mrs Logan waited with her two children. But this was unbearable too, so we returned to our own stories. Along the narrative lines there were knots, tangles of horror that we could not look at first time, but could only touch before retreating, and then return. We were prisoners in a cell, running at the walls, beating them back with our heads. Slowly our prison grew larger.
我们又回到了那场坠落,以及洛根过了多久摔在地上,两秒,抑或是三秒的讨论中。刹那间我们仿佛又回到了现场周围,身边有警察,也有救护人员。有个人想抬起 运送格林的担架一端,但他的力气不够大,最后还是在莱西的帮助下,才把格林一路抬离现场。从汽车修理厂来的故障抢修车拖走了洛根的汽车。我们试图想象那一 情景:这辆空车被送往正在牛津的家中翘首等待的洛根太太和她的两个孩子那里。但这也同样叫人无法忍受,于是我们又回到了自己的故事中。沿着叙事的主线布满 了死结和恐惧的纠结,我们一开始无法正视它们,只能在退下之前触碰一下,然后重新回来。我们成了牢房中的囚徒,不停地向狱墙冲去,用脑袋将它们撞得往后 退。慢慢地,我们的监狱变得大了起来。
Strange to recall that with Jed Parry we felt on safer ground. She told me how he had walked over to her and said his name and she had said hers. They hadn’t shaken hands. Then he had turned and followed me down the hill. I told the prayer story as comedy and made Clarissa laugh. She locked her fingers into mine and squeezed. I wanted to tell her I loved her, but suddenly between us there sat the form of Logan, upright and still. I had to describe him. It was far worse in recollection than it had been at the time. Shock must have dulled my responses then. I began to tell her how his features appeared to hang in all the wrong places, and I broke off my description to tell her of the difference between then and now, and how a certain dream logic had made the unbearable quite ordinary, how I had thought nothing of carrying on a conversation with Parry while Logan sat shattered on the ground. And even as I was saying this it occurred to me that I was still avoiding Logan, that I had shied away from the description I had begun because I still could not absorb the facts, and again, I wanted to tell Clarissa this fact too. She watched me patiently as I spiralled into a regress of memory, emotion and commentary. It wasn’t that I couldn’t find the words; I couldn’t fit the speed of my thoughts. Clarissa pushed back her chair and came round my side of the table. She drew my head against her breasts. I shut up and closed my eyes. I caught in the fibres of her sweater the tang of the open air and imagined I saw the sky spread before me.
令人奇怪的是,当回忆起杰德·帕里时,我们有种安全的感觉。她告诉我,他是怎么朝她走过去、说出他的名字的,然后她也介绍了自己的名字。他们没有握手。接 着他就转过身跟着我下山了。我把祈祷的故事当作笑话讲给克拉莉莎听,把她逗得哈哈大笑。她用十指扣住我的十指挤压着。我想告诉她我爱她,可突然在我们中间 出现了洛根坐在地上的形体,僵直不动。我不得不去描述他的样子。回忆比当时现场看到的情景更加糟糕。肯定是当时在震惊之下我的反应产生了迟钝。我开始告诉 她,他的五官如何看上去都错了位,然后我打断了自己的描述,告诉她当时所见和现在的回忆之间的差别,以及某种梦一般的理想逻辑让无可承受之痛变得相当普 通,当洛根粉身碎骨地坐在地上时,我根本不想与帕里交谈。而且就在我说这件事的时候,我明白过来,我还是在回避洛根,回避着我已经开始的那段描述,因为我 还无法接受现实,而同时我又想让克拉莉莎知道这一现实。她耐心地看着我,而我正沉浸在飞速闪过的一帧帧记忆、一段段情感和一幕幕现实之中。事实上,我并非 无话可说,只是我觉得我无法跟上我思维的速度。克拉莉莎推开椅子走到我的身旁。她轻轻托着我的头靠住她的胸部。我闭上嘴,合上眼,感觉自己被包在她毛衣纤 维的强烈气味中,这气味像是户外的空气,我仿佛看见了在我面前逐渐展开的天空画卷.
A little later we were back in our seats, leaning over the table like dedicated craftsmen at work, grinding the jagged edge of memories, hammering the unspeakable into forms of words, threading single perceptions into narrative, until Clarissa returned us to the fall, to the precise moment when Logan had slid down the rope, hung there one last precious second, and let go. This was what she had to get back to, the image to which her shock had attached itself. She said it all again, and repeated the lines from Paradise Lost. Then she told me that she too had willed deliverance, even as he was mid-air. What had come to mind were angels, not Milton’s reprobates hurled from heaven, but the embodiment of all goodness and justice in a golden figure swooping from the cloud base to gather the falling man in its arms. In that delirious thought-rich second it had seemed to her that Logan’s fall was a challenge no angel could resist, and his death denied their existence. Did it need denying, I wanted to ask, but she was gripping my hand and saying, ‘He was a good man,’ with a sudden pleading note, as though I were about to condemn him. ‘The boy was in the basket, and Logan wouldn’t let go. He had children of his own. He was a good man.’
过了一会儿,我们又各自回到了自己的座位上,身子斜探过桌面。我们就像专心工作的工匠,将记忆中参差不平的边缘打磨光滑,将那说不出的事铸成词语,将一份 份孤立的感觉串联成故事。我们专注于我们的“工作”,直到克拉莉莎不禁又谈起坠落,谈起洛根滑下绳子时那精确的一刻,在那宝贵的最后一秒钟里,他挂在那 儿,然后就放手了。她不得不去回顾这幅场景,她的震惊正在于此。她把整个经过又重复了一遍,反复念叨着《失乐园》中的诗句。然后她告诉我,即使他已悬在半 空,她在心中也同样期望着他能得到拯救。浮现在她脑海中的是天使,但不是弥尔顿笔下被抛出天堂的堕落天使,而是象征着全部美好与正义的化身,他们金色的身 影划过云端,扫过天际,俯冲而下,将那坠落的人揽入自己的怀中。在那让人神志迷糊、思想爆炸的一秒钟里,在她看来,洛根的坠落仿佛连任何天使都无法阻挡, 他的死亡否定了他们的存在。这需要否定吗?我本来想问,但克拉莉莎紧紧抓住我的手说:“他是个好人。”她对我用了一种近乎恳求的口气,就好像我马上要谴责 洛根似的。“那个男孩还在吊篮里,洛根不肯放手。他自己也有孩子。他是个好人。”
In her early twenties a routine surgical procedure had left Clarissa unable to bear children. She believed her medical notes had been confused with another woman’s, but this was impossible to prove, and a long legal action foundered in delays and obstructions. Slowly, she had buried the sadness, and built her life again, and ensured that children remained a part of it. Nephews, nieces, godchildren, the children of neighbours and old friends all adored her. She remembered all their birthdays and Christmases. We had a room in our house, part nursery, part teenage den, where children or young adults sometimes stayed. Friends considered Clarissa to be successful and happy, and most of the time they were right. But occasionally something happened to stir the old sense of loss. Five years before the balloon accident, when we had known each other for two years, Marjorie, a good friend from her university days, had lost her four-week-old baby to a rare bacterial infection. Clarissa had been to Manchester to see the baby when it was five days old and had spent a week there helping to look after it. The news of the baby’s death cut her down. I had never witnessed such disabling grief. Central to it was not so much the baby’s fate as Marjorie’s loss which she experienced as her own. What was revealed was Clarissa’s own mourning for a phantom child, willed into half-being by frustrated love. Marjorie’s pain became Clarissa’s. A few days later her defences were back in place, and she dedicated herself to being as useful as she could to her old friend.
在克拉莉莎二十刚出头时,一次常规的外科手术让她永远失去了生育能力。她相信是医院把她的病历单和另一个女人的搞混了,但这一点无法得到证实,而漫长的立 案过程一再拖延,阻碍重重。慢慢地,她将这份哀痛埋在心底,重新开始建设自己的生活,并保证孩子将是其中的一部分。她的侄子、侄女、教子、教女甚至是邻居 或老朋友的小孩们都很喜爱她。她一直记得他们所有人的生日和圣诞节日。在我们家中,有一个房间既是儿童室又是少年活动中心,孩子们或者青年人有时会在里面 住宿。克拉莉莎的朋友们都认为她是一个既成功又快乐的人,大多数时候他们都是对的。但偶尔有些事还是会碰巧激起克拉莉莎暗藏在心中的失落感。在气球事件发 生的五年前——那时我们已经认识有两年多了——克拉莉莎大学时代的好友玛乔丽四周大的宝宝不幸因一种罕见的细菌感染而夭折。在宝宝五天大的时候,克拉莉莎 曾去曼彻斯特看过那小家伙,并帮忙照顾了他一星期。孩子夭折的消息令她深受打击。我还从未见过她如此肝肠寸断。她最感到痛苦的还不仅仅是小宝宝的命运,而 是玛乔丽的丧子之痛,她将这当成了自己的损失。这件事显示出克拉莉莎是在哀悼一个虚幻的孩子,一个因受挫的爱而变得似有似无的孩子。玛乔丽的痛苦变成了克 拉莉莎自己的痛苦。几天之后,她的心理防线重新恢复,她又忠心耿耿、尽职尽责地帮助起这位老朋友来。
This was an extreme example. Other times, the unconceived child barely stirred before the moment passed. Now, in John Logan she saw a man prepared to die to prevent the kind of loss she felt herself to have sustained. The boy was not his own, but he was a father and he understood. His kind of love pierced Clarissa’s defences. With that pleading note – he was a good man – she was asking her own past, her ghost child, to forgive her.
The impossible idea was that Logan had died for nothing. The boy, Harry Gadd, turned out to be unharmed. I had let go of the rope. I had helped kill John Logan. But even as I felt the nausea of guilt return, I was trying to convince myself I was right to let go. If I hadn’t, Logan and I might have dropped together, and Clarissa would have been sitting here alone tonight. We had heard from the police late in the afternoon that the boy had come down safely twelve miles to the west. Once he had realised he was on his own, he’d had to stir to save himself. No longer frightened by his grandfather’s panic, he had taken control and done all the right things. He let the balloon rise high over the power lines, and then released the gas valve to make a gentle descent on to a field by a village.

  这是一个很极端的例子。在其他时候,这个未能怀上的孩子几乎没有激起她的情感波澜,直到时机来临。现在,从约翰·洛根身上,她看到一个男人为了不让她自己 所承受的悲剧重演而准备英勇赴死。那孩子不是洛根的,但他也是一位父亲,他能理解。他的这份爱意突破了克拉莉莎的心理防线,带着那种央求的口气——“他是 个好人”——她正在请求她的过去和那无法出世的孩子原谅自己。

    最叫人无法接受的是:洛根死得一文不值。那个叫做哈利·盖德的男孩最后毫发无伤。我松开了绳索。我成了杀害洛根的帮凶。但即便我心中感到内疚和憎恶,我仍 试图让自己相信,我松手是对的。如果我不这么做,我和洛根会一起掉下去,而克拉莉莎现在只能一个人孤零零地坐在这里。那天下午晚些时候,我们从警察口中得 知,男孩已经在西边十二英里外安全着陆。他一意识到自己已经孤身一人,就不得不清醒过来,开始自救。他不再被他祖父的惊慌失措所吓倒,而是控制住气球,完 成了所有正确的程序:他让气球飞高,越过高压电缆,然后打开气阀,在一座村庄旁的田野上来了个漂亮的软着陆。

Clarissa had gone quiet. She was supporting her chin on her knuckles and staring down into the grain of the table. ‘Yes,’ I said finally. ‘He wanted to save that kid.’ She shook her head slowly, acknowledging some unspoken thought. I waited, content to escape my own feelings in order to help her with her own. She was aware of me watching her and glanced up. ‘It must mean something,’ she said dully.
I hesitated. I’d never liked this line of thinking. Logan’s death was pointless – that was part of the reason we were in shock. Good people sometimes suffered and died, not because their goodness was being tested, but precisely because there was nothing, no one, to test it. No one but us. I was silent too long, for she added suddenly, ‘Don’t worry, Joe. I’m not going weird on you. I mean, how do we begin to make sense of this?’
I said, ‘We tried to help and we failed.’
She smiled and shook her head. I went and stood by her chair and put my arms around her and protectively kissed the top of her head. With a sigh she pressed her face against my shirt and looped her arms around my waist. Her voice was muffled. ‘You’re such a dope. You’re so rational sometimes you’re like a child . . .’
克拉莉莎平静了下来,她用指关节撑住下巴,双眼盯着桌子的纹理。“是的,”我终于开口了,“他想救那孩子。”她缓缓地摇头,仿佛在确认一些还未说出 口的想法。我等待着,对自己能撇开自己的感情来帮助她颇感满足。她察觉到我注视的目光,抬起头来。“这一定意味着什么。”她含糊不清地说。

    我犹豫了。我从不喜欢以这样的方式思考。洛根的死没有意义——这是震撼我们的一部分原因。好人有时会遭遇不幸而死去,不是因为他们的善良需要经受考验,而 恰恰是因为没有什么事物或人去考验。没有人,除了我们。我沉默良久,她突然说:“别担心,乔。我不是突然跟你发癫。我的意思是,我们该如何理解这件事?”

    我说:“我们想帮忙,可是帮不上啊。”

    她笑了,摇了摇头。我走到她的椅子旁边,抱住她,吻了她的额头。她叹了口气,把脸贴在我的衬衫上,抱住我的腰,声音低沉地说:“你真是个傻瓜。你太理智了,有时就像个小孩……”

Did she mean that rationality was a kind of innocence? I never found out because her hands were working lightly across my buttocks towards my perineum. She caressed my balls, and keeping one hand there, loosened my belt, pulled my shirt clear and kissed my belly. ‘I’ll tell you one thing it means, dummkopf. We’ve seen something terrible together. It won’t go away, and we have to help each other. And that means we’ll have to love each other even harder.’
Of course. Why didn’t I think of this? Why didn’t I think like this? We needed love. I had been trying to deny myself even the touch of her hand, assuming that affection was inappropriate, an indulgence, an irreverence in the face of death. Something we would come back to later when all the talking and confronting was done. Clarissa had effected a shift to the essential. We went hand in hand into the bedroom. She sat on the edge of the bed and I undressed her. When I kissed her neck she pulled me towards her. ‘I don’t mind what we do,’ she whispered. ‘We don’t have to do anything. I just want to hold you.’ She got under the blankets and lay with her knees drawn up while I undressed. When I got in she put her arms around my neck and brought my face close to hers. She knew I was a fool for this kind of encirclement. It made me feel that I belonged, that I was rooted and blessed. I knew that she loved to close her eyes and let me kiss them, and then her nose and cheeks, as though she were a child at bedtime, and only at last find her lips.

 

    她是指理性是一种纯真的表现吗?这个问题我一直没有得到答案,因为此时她的手轻柔地从我的臀部移向了我的会阴。她爱抚着我的睾丸,一只手留在那里,另一只 手解开了我的腰带。她脱去了我的上衣,亲吻着我的肚皮。“我会告诉你它意味的一件事,傻瓜。我们一起看到了一些可怕的事。它不会离我们远去,我们必须互相 帮助。这就意味着,我们得相互爱得更深。”

    当然了。为什么我就没有想到这一点呢?为什么我就没有从这方面去想呢?我们需要爱。我一直在试图拒绝她的爱,连碰碰她的手都觉得不合适,仿佛那是一种纵 容,是对死亡的大不敬。当所有的谈话和回顾结束后,我们就会回到爱的暖流之中。是克拉莉莎将我引向了这件事的本质。我们牵着手走进卧室。她坐在床沿上,而 我则为她宽衣解带。我亲吻着她的香颈,这时她把我拉近身旁。“我不在乎要做些什么,”她耳语道,“我们什么也不必做。我只想抱着你。”说罢,她钻进被子躺 下,顶起膝盖,而我也脱去了衣服。当我进入的时候,她用双臂搂住我的脖颈,让我的脸离她的更近些。她知道,我最喜爱这种温柔的环抱,这让我获得了一种归属 感,感觉扎实和幸福。我知道,她喜欢闭上双眼,让我去亲吻它们,然后是鼻子和下巴,就好像她是该睡觉的孩童,直到最后,我才会找到她的双唇。

We often told ourselves off for wasting time in chairs, fully dressed, talking, when we could be doing the same, lying down in bed, face to face and naked. That precious time before love-making is ill-served by the pseudo-clinical term, ‘foreplay’. The world would narrow and deepen, our voices would sink into the warmth of our bodies, the conversation became associative and unpredictable. Everything was touch and breath. Certain simple phrases came to me which I didn’t say out loud because they sounded so banal – Here we are, or, This again, or, Yes, this. Like a moment in a recurring dream, these spacious, innocent minutes were forgotten until we were back inside them. When we were, our lives returned to the essentials and began again. When we fell silent, we would lie so close we were mouth to mouth, delaying the union which bound us all the more because of this prelude.
So, there we were, this again, and it was deliverance. The darkness beyond the gloom of the bedroom was infinite and cold as death. We were a point of warmth in the vastness. The events of the afternoon filled us, but we banished them from conversation. I said, ‘How do you feel?’
‘Scared,’ she said. ‘Really scared.’
‘But you don’t look it.’
‘I feel I’m shivering inside.’

我们常常责备自己总是坐在椅子里浪费时间,衣着整齐地交谈,而我们明明也可以躺在床上,脸对脸肉贴肉地聊天。这段做爱之前的宝贵时光,用一个伪临床术语来 假称,叫作“前戏”。世界会变得又窄又深,我们的声音会逐渐融入肉体的温暖中去,谈话就变得富于联想而不可预测了。肌肤相亲和呼吸相闻就是全部。有些简单 的话到了嘴边,我却不愿大声说出来,因为它们听起来太乏味——只是一些像“我们到了”,“再来一次”,“对,就这样”之类的呻吟。就像在一个重复的梦境中 的某一时刻,这无边无际、纯洁无邪的数分钟时间被遗忘了,直到我们回返其中时才想起来,然后我们的生命又回到了本质之中,重新开始。当我们坠入静默时,我 们会挨得紧紧的,双唇紧贴,让这前戏延迟我们肉体结合的时间。

    就这样,我们到达了这里,又一次,这是一种解脱。卧室里光线黯淡,更为浓重的黑暗似乎无穷无尽,像死亡一样冰寒。我们是无限空旷中的一点热源。下午发生的事情充斥着我们的记忆,但我们通过交心将它们驱逐出脑海。我问她:“你感觉怎么样?”

    “害怕,”她回答,“非常害怕。”

    “可你显得并不怕。”

    “我感觉内心在发抖。”

Rather than follow the path that must lead us back to Logan, we told shivering and shaking stories, and as often happened in these talks, childhood was central. When Clarissa was seven she went to Wales on a family holiday. One of her cousins, a girl of five, had gone missing on a rainy morning and six hours later had still not been found. The police came, bringing with them two tracker dogs. Villagers were out combing the bracken and for a while a helicopter hovered above the higher ground. Just before nightfall the girl was found in a barn asleep under some sacking. Clarissa remembered a general celebration in the rented farmhouse that evening. Her uncle, the girl’s father, had just shown the last of the policemen to the door. As he came back into the room his step faltered and he sat back heavily in an armchair. His legs were shaking violently, and the children watched in fascination as Clarissa’s aunt knelt by him and pressed her palms soothingly along his thighs. ‘At the time I didn’t connect it with the search for my cousin. It was just one of those odd things you observe neutrally as a child. I thought this might be what they meant by drunkenness, those two knees dancing up and down inside his trousers.’
I told the story of my first public performance on the trumpet when I was eleven. I was so nervous and my hands were shaking so badly that I could not keep the mouthpiece against my lips, nor could I stretch my lips in the proper way to make a note. So I put the whole mouthpiece between my teeth and bit hard to hold it in place, and half sang, half tooted my part. In the general cacophony of a children’s Christmas orchestra nobody noticed. Clarissa said, ‘Even now you do a good imitation of a trumpet in the bath.’
我们没有回头沿着这话题去谈洛根的事,而是开始讲起令人战栗、颤动人心的故事。就像通常在这些谈话中发生的那样,童年始终是中心话题。克拉莉莎七岁时,有 一次她们举家去威尔士度假。她有一个五岁的堂妹,在一个阴雨濛濛的早晨失踪了,六个小时后仍未找到。警察来了,还带来了两条追踪警犬。村民们在外面对蕨丛 来了个地毯式搜索,而且有一阵子还有架直升机在高地上盘旋寻找。就在日暮时分,小女孩终于被找到了,原来她在一个谷仓里躺在麻布袋下面睡着了。克拉莉莎记 得,在那天晚上,大家在租来的农房里举行了一个庆祝会。她的叔叔,也就是那女孩的父亲,刚刚把最后一位警察送出门,当他回到屋子里时,他脚一软,重重地坐 进扶手椅中。他的双腿剧烈地抖动着,孩子们好奇地看着克拉莉莎的婶婶跪在叔叔面前,用手抚慰地摩挲他的大腿。“那时,我没有把这一举动和寻找我的堂妹联系 起来,只是从一个孩子的角度观察这奇怪的事情。我想,或许这就是他们所说的喝多了,那两只膝盖在裤管里跳上跳下的。”

    我则讲述了自己在十一岁时第一次面对公众表演吹小号的故事。我那时太紧张了,双手抖动得非常厉害,以至于我无法将吹口对准嘴巴,也不能适当控制自己的嘴 型,吹出一个音符。于是,我把整个吹口紧紧咬在牙齿中间,将它固定住,半唱半吹地演奏完了我负责的部分。在儿童圣诞管弦乐队制造出的一片嘈杂刺耳的噪音 中,没有人注意到我。克拉莉莎说:“现在你在浴室里模仿吹小号还是挺像的。”

From shaking we came to dancing (I hate it, she loves it) and from there we came to love. We told each other what lovers never tire of hearing and needing to say. ‘I love you more now I’ve seen you go completely mad,’ she said. ‘The rationalist cracks at last!’
‘It’s just the beginning,’ I promised. ‘Stick around.’
This reference to my behaviour after Logan hit the ground broke the spell, but only for half a minute or so. We drew closer and kissed. What eventually followed was heightened by all the emotional rawness of a reconciliation, as though a calamitous week-long row with threats and insults were sweetly resolved in mutual forgiveness. We had nothing to forgive, unless, I suppose, we were absolving each other of the death, but those were the feelings that broke with each wave of sensation. A high price had been paid for this ecstasy and I had to repel an image of a dark house in Oxford, isolated, as if set in a desert, where from an upstairs window two baffled children watched their mother’s sombre visitors arrive.
讲完颤动人心的故事后,我们开始聊起舞蹈(我不喜欢跳舞,可她却喜欢),然后便转到了“爱”这个话题上。我们彼此交心,告诉对方那些恋人们永远听不厌和说不烦的情话。“你一达到彻底痴狂的境地,我就愈发爱你。”她说,“理智的头脑终于吃不消了!”

    “这才刚刚开始呢,”我向她保证,“再多呆会儿。”

    提到我在洛根坠地后所采取的行动,它打破了那段可怕的回忆对我们心灵的困扰,但其效力也只持续了半分钟左右。我们贴得更近了,亲吻着对方。重修旧好所带来 的全部坦诚,增强了最终进入我们心灵的情感,就像一场持续了一周、伴随着威胁和辱骂的争吵,最后甜蜜地消融在了相互谅解之中。我想,我们无需谅解对方,除 了将那场死亡所带来的重压从彼此的肩上卸下,可每当心澜荡漾时,这些情绪就会爆发出来。为了这份沉迷,我们已经付出了高昂的代价,而我还得驱避这样一幅图 景:在牛津,有一幢黑洞洞的房子,孤零零的,就像坐落在沙漠中,从楼上的一扇窗户里,两个孩子正困惑地看着母亲的那群面色阴郁的客人们到来。

Afterwards we fell asleep and when we woke, after an hour or so, we were hungry. It was while we were back in the kitchen in our dressing gowns, raiding the fridge, we discovered a need for company. Clarissa went to the phone. Emotional comfort, sex, home, wine, food, society – we wanted our whole world re-asserted. Within half an hour we were sitting with our friends Tony and Anna Bruce, eating a Thai take-away I had ordered and telling our story. We told it in the married style, running alone with it for a stretch, talking through the partner’s interruption sometimes, at others, giving way and handing over. There were also times when we talked at once, but for all that, our story was gaining in coherence; it had shape, and now it was spoken from a place of safety. I watched our friends’ wary, intelligent faces droop at our tale. Their shock was a mere shadow of our own, resembling more the good-willed imitation of that emotion, and for this reason it was a temptation to exaggerate, to throw a rope of superlatives across the abyss that divided experience from its representation by anecdote. Over the days and weeks, Clarissa and I told our story many times to friends, colleagues and relatives. I found myself using the same phrases, the same adjectives in the same order. It became possible to recount the events without re-living them in the faintest degree, without even remembering them.
后来,我们睡着了。当我们醒来时,已是将近一个小时以后,我们也饿了。我们穿着睡衣走进厨房,乱翻了一通冰箱,发现还需要找一些人来陪伴我们。克拉莉莎去 打电话了。感情上的安慰,性,家,酒,食物,社会——我们需要重树我们的整个世界。不到半小时,我们就与朋友托尼和安娜·布鲁斯坐在了一起,吃着一份我订 购的泰国外卖,一起诉说着我们的故事。我们夫唱妇随地讲着,沿着事件的脉络铺陈下去;有时听的人插进话来想打断我们,但我们还是继续说下去;而另一些时 候,我们会退让一步,让他们接过话匣子;还有些时候,我们一起开口议论纷纷。不过总的来说,我们的故事听上去越来越连贯一致。它有了具体的轮廓,现在正从 一处安全的场所被讲述出来。我看着朋友们,在听我们讲故事的过程中,他们那机警聪慧的面庞变得黯淡下去。他们受到的震动只是我们自己内心深处惊悸的缩影, 更像是出于善意而好心模仿出来的情绪。正因如此,我们禁不住诱惑,开始添油加醋夸大其词,仿佛用一根绳索将横亘在真实经历与奇闻异事中间、使之泾渭分明的 深壑连通,将它们串在一起。在以后的几天甚至几周里,我和克拉莉莎将我们的故事复述了许多遍,讲给我们的朋友们、同事们和家人们听。我发现我一直说着同样 的话,用着同样的形容词,按着同样的顺序来描述。我们根本不用再次经历,甚至根本不需要重新回忆,就可以去一一描述发生的所有事件了。
Tony and Anna left at one in the morning. When I came back from seeing them out, I noticed that Clarissa was glancing through some lecture notes. Of course, her sabbatical was over. Tomorrow was Monday and she was due to start teaching. I went into my study and looked at my diary even though I knew precisely what was there – two meetings, and a piece to be finished by five. In a sense we were well defended against this catastrophe. We had each other, as well as numerous old friends. And we had the demands and absorption of interesting work. I stood in the light of my desk lamp staring at the half dozen or so unanswered letters that lay in an untidy pile, and felt reassured by them.
We stayed up another half an hour talking, but only because we were too tired to set about going to bed. At two o’ clock we managed it. The light had been out five minutes when the phone rang and snatched me from the beginnings of sleep.
I have no doubt that I remember his words correctly. He said, ‘Is that Joe?’ I didn’t reply. I had already recognised the voice. He said, ‘I just wanted you to know, I understand what you’re feeling. I feel it too. I love you.’
I hung up.
Clarissa murmured into the pillow, ‘Who was that?’
It may have been exhaustion, or perhaps my concealment was protective of her, but I know I made my first serious mistake when I turned on my side and said to her, ‘It was nothing. Wrong number. Go to sleep.’

凌晨一点钟,托尼和安娜告别了我们。当我送完他们回来时,我发现克拉莉莎正在浏览一些教学讲义。当然,她的休假已经结束了。明天是星期一,她要去上课了。 我走进书房,翻看那本内容早已谙熟的日记——两场会晤,一篇下午五点钟之前要完成的文章。在某种意义上,我们已经安然渡过这场灾难。我们彼此拥有,还有为 数众多的老朋友们的支持。我们渴望也需要投入到有趣的工作中去。我站在台灯的灯光下,盯着差不多半打杂乱堆积、尚未回复的信件,感觉自己终因它们而放下心 来。

    我们又聊了半个小时,只因为太累,已没力气爬上床睡觉。两点,我们终于睡着了。灯关上才五分钟,电话铃就响了,把我从蒙眬的睡意中拉了回来。

    我清楚地记得他说的话,这一点我敢肯定。他说:“是乔吗?”我没有回答。我已经听出了这个声音。他说:“我只是想让你知道,我理解你现在的感受,我也感觉到了,我爱你。”

    我挂了电话。

    克拉莉莎埋在枕头里嘟哝:“谁啊?”

    也许是因为太累了,也许我的遮掩是为了保护她,但如今我知道,当我翻身躺下对她说话的时候,我犯下了第一个严重的错误。我说:“没事。打错了。睡吧。”

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