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麦克尤恩 - 爱无可忍 - 6

(2011-09-29 17:15:04)
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杂谈

分类: 学英文
                                                 Six
There was a time this century when ships, white oceangoing liners such as luxuriously ploughed the Atlantic swell between London and New York, became the inspiration for a form of domestic architecture. In the twenties something resembling the Queen Mary ran aground in Maida Vale, and all that remains now is the bridge, our apartment building. It gleams a peeling white among the plane trees. Its corners are rounded, there are portholes in the lavatories and lighting the shallow spirals of the stairwells. The steel-framed windows are low and oblong, strengthened against the squalls of urban life. The floors are oak parquet and could accommodate any number of jazzy quick-stepping couples.
The two apartments on the top have the advantage of several skylights and one and half twists of an iron staircase that leads on to a flat roof. Our neighbours, a successful architect and his boyfriend who keeps house, have made a fantasy garden in their portion, with clematis severely wound round poles and austere spiky leaves poking between large smooth stones collected from a river bed and retained – Japanese-style – in open black wooden boxes.
In the frenetic month after moving in, Clarissa and I exhausted our small reserve of decorating and nesting energies on the apartment itself, so there’s nothing on our side of the roof apart from a plastic table and four plastic chairs, bolted down in case of high winds. Here you can sit among the TV aerials and dishes, the roofing pitch underfoot wrinkled and dusty like an elephant’s hide, and look towards the greenery of Hyde Park and hear the tranquillising thunder of west London’s traffic. From the other side of the table you have the best possible view of our neighbours’ shrine to orderly growth, and beyond, the dusky roofs of the infinite northward suburbs. This was where I sat the following morning at seven. I had left Clarissa sleeping and brought with me my coffee, the paper and my pages from the night before.

第六章

    本世纪里,曾几何时,豪华的白色远洋邮轮在大西洋的波涛中乘风破浪,往返于伦敦和纽约之间,为居民建筑的式样带来了一种设计灵感。二十年代,一座颇似玛丽 王后号①的巨型建筑群落在梅达谷②拔地而起,现如今,这里只剩下了舰桥部分——我们的那幢公寓,在许多棵法国梧桐间隐约现出一点洁白。它轮廓圆滑,厕所里 装着舷窗似的玻璃窗,在楼梯井浅浅的旋梯上还安有照明设施。钢架边框的窗户低矮且呈长椭圆形,与城市生活的喧嚣风格形成鲜明对比。地上铺着结实的橡木地 板,可供许多对舞伴在上面跳起轻快的狐步舞。

    选择最顶层两座公寓套间的好处在于,它们带有几扇天窗,还有一条曲折的旋转铁梯,可以引人走上一块屋顶平台。我们的邻居是一位事业有成的建筑师,和他的男 友住在一起,平时都由他的男友收拾屋子。他们在属于自己的那一部分空间里搭建了一座梦幻花园:铁线莲缠绕着支杆蔓生,尖尖的长叶朴素无华,从河床里拾来、 被盛放在开口黑色木箱中的大鹅卵石中间钻出,带有一点日本园艺的风格。

    入住后的一个月里,我和克拉莉莎异常忙乱,将剩余仅有的一点精力都投在了房间的装修上面,因此,在我们这一边的屋顶平台上,只有一张塑料桌和四把塑料椅, 都用螺丝固定住,以免大风将它们吹跑。脚下,屋顶上的沥青如同大象的皮肤般褶皱四起,沾满灰尘。在这里,你可以坐在电视天线和卫星锅之间,眺望绿意盎然的 海德公园,倾听西伦敦的滚滚车流传来沉闷的隆隆声响,心情平静。在桌子的另一边,我们邻居那收拾得干净整洁的神社一览无遗,更远方则是北面郊区那些无限延 伸的土灰色房顶。第二天凌晨七点,我离开仍在沉睡的克拉莉莎,带着自己的咖啡、论文和昨晚写好的部分,来到了这里,在椅子上坐下。玛丽王后号(Queen Mary):英国著名皇家邮轮,以英王乔治五世的妻子玛丽王后的名字命名,长1018英尺,排水量达80174吨,1934年下水,是第二次世界大战前欧 洲上流社会歌舞升平的奢华生活达到顶峰时的产物。梅达谷(Maida Vale):位于伦敦西部威斯敏斯特市的一处富人居住区。

But instead of reading myself or others I thought about John Logan and how we had killed him. Yesterday the events of the day before had dimmed. This morning the blustery sunshine illumined and animated the whole tableau. I could feel the rope in my hands again as I examined the welts. I made calculations. If Gadd had stayed in the basket with his grandson, and if the rest of us had hung on, and if we assumed an average weight of a hundred and sixty pounds each, then surely eight hundred pounds wouldhavekept us close to the ground. If the first person had not let go, then surely the rest of us would have stayed in place. And who was this first person? Not me. Not me. I even said the words aloud. I remembered a plummeting mass and the sudden upward jerk of the balloon. But I could not tell whether this mass was in front of me, or to my left or right. If I knew the position, I would know the person.
Could this person be blamed? As I drank my coffee the rush hour below began its slow crescendo. It was hard to think this through. Phrases, well-worn and counter-weighted, occurred to me, resolving nothing. On the one hand, the first pebble in an avalanche, and on the other, the breaking of ranks. The cause, but not the morally responsible agent. The scales tipping, from altruism to self-interest. Was it panic, or rational calculation? Had we killed him really, or simply refused to die with him? But if we had been with him, stayed with him, no one would have died.
然而,我并没有开始阅读,而是想着约翰·洛根,想着我们是如何害死他的。前天发生的事件,在昨日就已变得模糊,而今早明媚的阳光又让那幕场景在我的 脑海里亮堂起来。我端详着掌心的擦痕,感到绳子仿佛又握在了手中。我仔细地算计着:如果盖德和他孙子都在吊篮里,如果我们能够坚持住不放手,如果我们平均 每人有一百六十磅重的话,那么毫无疑问,八百磅的重量会让我们保持贴近地面;如果第一个人没有放手,那么毫无疑问,我们其他人也一定会留在原处。最先放手 的那个人是谁呢?不是我。不是我。我甚至大声地喊了出来。我记得有一个身影陡然下落,然后气球猛然向上抬升,但我没法分辨那个人是在我的前面,还是在我的 左边或者右边。如果我弄清楚了位置,我就能知道那个人是谁。

    我们能责备他吗?我喝着咖啡,心想。这时,随着高峰时段的来临,楼下车流发出的动静渐渐增大。要把这件事想清楚实在是太困难了。我的脑中涌出许多针锋相 对、平庸沉闷的废话,却对解决问题毫无帮助。一方面,它只是引发山崩的第一颗石子,而另一方面,我们的队伍当时已经开始分崩离析。那个人是事故发生的导火 索,但他在道德上并不应为此承担全部责任。思想的天平出现了倾斜,从利他主义偏向了利己主义。这是出于恐惧,还是理性考虑的结果?我们到底是真的害死了 他,还是仅仅拒绝了和他一起赴死?不过,如果我们当时患难与共,和他一起吊在绳索上,也许就没有人会死去了。

Another question was whether I should visit Mrs Logan and tell her what happened. She deserved to know from a witness that her husband was a hero. I saw us sitting face to face on wooden stools. She was draped in black, in pantomime widow’s weeds, and we were in a prison cell with a high-barred window. Her two children stood close by her side, clinging to her knees, refusing to meet my eye. My cell, my guilt? The image came to me from a half forgotten painting in the late Victorian narrative-style, in the idiom of ‘And when did you last see your father?’ Narrative – my gut tightened at the word. What balls I had written the night before. How was it possible to tell Mrs Logan of her husband’s sacrifice without drawing her attention to our own cowardice? Or was it his folly? He was the hero, and it was the weak who had sent him to his death. Or, we were the survivors and he was the miscalculating dolt.
I was so lost in this that I did not notice Clarissa until she sat down on the other side of the table. She smiled and mouthed a kiss. She warmed her hands around a coffee mug.
 

还有一个问题:我该不该去看望洛根夫人,告诉她事情的经过呢?她理应从一位目击证人口中得知,她的丈夫是一位英雄。我仿佛看见,我们面对面地坐在木凳上, 她一袭黑色丧服,就像哑剧里的寡妇,两个孩子紧紧地站在她的身边,抱着她的膝盖,不愿看我。我们身在一所监狱牢房里,高高的窗户上安着铁栅栏。这是我的牢 房吗?我有罪吗?此情此景,来自于我模糊记得的一幅带有维多利亚晚期叙事风格的油画,题目叫“上次你去看望父亲是在什么时候?”。叙事——这个字眼让我心 头一紧。昨天晚上我都写了些什么乱七八糟的东西啊!如果我告诉洛根夫人,她丈夫见义勇为,慷慨献身,那么我们自己的胆小怯懦,她又怎么可能避而不谈?或者 他死于自己的愚蠢?他是英雄,是软骨头们导致了他的死亡;或者说,我们是幸存下来的人,而他则是那个计算失误的傻瓜。

    我深陷在沉思中,直到克拉莉莎在桌子对面坐下,我才注意到她。她将双手捂在咖啡杯上,笑着给我一个飞吻。

‘Are you thinking about it?’
I nodded. Before her kindness and our love got the better of me, I had to tell her. ‘Do you remember, the day it happened, just as we were falling asleep the phone rang?’
‘Mmm. Wrong number.’
‘It was that guy with the pony-tail. You know, the one who wanted me to pray. Jed Parry.’
She frowned. ‘Why didn’t you say? What did he want?’
I didn’t pause. ‘He said he loved me . . .’
For a fraction of time the world froze as she took this in. Then she laughed. Easily, merrily.
‘Joe! You didn’t tell me. You were embarrassed? You clot!’
‘It was just one more thing. And then, I felt bad about not telling you, so it got harder. And then I didn’t want to interrupt last night.’
‘What did he say? Just, I love you, like that?’
‘Yeah. He said, I feel it too. I love you . . .’
“你在想那件事吗?”

    我点点头。在她的体贴和我们的爱情征服我之前,我必须告诉她。“你还记不记得,在事情发生的那天晚上,我们正要睡着的时候,电话铃响了?”

    “嗯。有人打错了。”

    “是那个扎马尾辫的家伙。你知道,就是那个想让我做祷告的人,杰德·帕里。”

    她皱了皱眉。“你当时为什么不说?他想干什么?”

    我没有停顿。“他说他爱我……”

    在听懂这句话之前,她愣住了,世界仿佛瞬间凝固。然后她笑了,很轻松、很开心的样子。

    “乔!你怎么没告诉我!很难为情,是吗?你这笨蛋!”

    “除了这个原因以外,还有别的呢。后来嘛,由于没告诉你这件事,心里很不是滋味,所以就更难启齿了。再说,我也不想搅了我们昨晚的好事嘛。”

    “他都说了些什么?只是‘我爱你’,就这样?”

    “是的。他说,‘我也感觉到了,我爱你……’”

Clarissa put her hand over her mouth, little-girl-style. I hadn’t expected delight. ‘A secret gay love affair with a Jesus freak! I can’t wait to tell your science friends.’
‘All right, all right.’ But I felt lightened to have her teasing me. ‘There’s more though.’
‘You’re getting married.’
‘Listen. Yesterday he was following me.’
‘My God. He’s got it bad.’
I knew I had to prise her from this levity, for all the comfort it gave. ‘Clarissa, it’s scary.’ I told her about the presence in the library, and how I had run out into the square. She interrupted me.
‘But you didn’t actually see him in the library.’
‘I saw his shoe as he went out the door. White trainers, with red laces. It had to be him.’
‘But you didn’t see his face.’
‘Clarissa, it was him!’
‘Don’t get angry with me, Joe. You didn’t see his face, and he wasn’t in the square.’
‘No. He’d gone.’
 

克拉莉莎用手捂住嘴,露出一副小姑娘的俏皮模样。我没想到她会这么高兴。“和一个变态基督徒搞地下同性恋!我都等不及要告诉你那帮搞科学的朋友了。”

    “好吧,好吧。”她对我的揶揄却让我轻松了许多。“还有更多的呢。”

    “你们要结婚了。”

    “听我说嘛。昨天他跟踪我了。”

    “我的天哪!他走火入魔了!”

    我知道我必须打破她的这份轻嘴薄舌,尽管它给了我不少安慰。“克拉莉莎,这太吓人了。”我告诉了她帕里在图书馆里现身,还有我如何跑到外面的广场。她打断了我的话。

    “可你在图书馆里并没有真的看见他。”

    “他走出门的时候,我看到他的鞋了。白色运动鞋,系着红色鞋带。肯定就是他!”

    “但你并没有看见他的脸。”

    “克拉莉莎,那就是他!”

    “别生我的气,乔。你没有看见他的脸,他也没在广场上。”

    “是的。他已经走了。”

She was looking at me in a new way now and was moving through the conversation with the caution of a bomb disposal expert. ‘Let me get this straight. You had this idea you were being followed even before you saw his shoe?’
‘It was just a feeling, a bad feeling. It wasn’t until I was in the library with time to think about it that I realised how it was getting to me.’
‘And then you saw him.’
‘Yeah. His shoe.’
She glanced at her watch and took a pull from her mug. She was going to be late for work.
‘You should go,’ I said. ‘We can talk this evening.’
She nodded but she did not rise. ‘I don’t really understand what’s upsetting you. Some poor fellow has a crush on you and is trailing you about. Come on, it’s a joke, Joe! It’s a funny story you’ll be telling your friends. At worst it’s a nuisance. You mustn’t let it get to you.’
I felt a childish pang of sorrow when she got to her feet. I liked what she was saying. I wanted to hear it again in different ways. She came round to my side of the table and kissed me on the head. ‘You’re working too hard. Go easy on yourself. And remember that I love you. I love you.’ We kissed again, deeply.
现在她看我的眼神和刚才不一样了,说话也小心起来,颇像一位拆弹专家。“让我把这件事理清楚。在你看见他的鞋之前,你就已经感到被人跟踪了?”

    “那只是一种感觉,很不好的感觉。直到我在图书馆里有时间思考的时候,我才意识到严重性。”

    “然后你就看见他了。”

    “没错。他的鞋。”

    她瞟了眼手表,喝了一大口咖啡。她上班要迟到了。

    “你该走了,”我说,“我们可以晚上再聊。”

    她点点头,但没有抬头看我。“我真不明白是什么使你心烦意乱。某个可怜的家伙对你有意思,还四处跟踪你呢。拜托了,这是个玩笑而已嘛,乔!故事倒挺有趣的,你以后可以讲给你的朋友们听。最坏也就是件麻烦事嘛。千万别放在心上啊!”

    她站起身,我就像个孩子一样难过极了。我喜欢她所说的话。我想听她用不同的方式再说一遍。她绕过桌子来到我这边,亲了亲我的额头。“你工作太辛苦了,放松一下自己吧。还有,记着我爱你。我爱你。”我们又一次深深相吻。

I followed her downstairs, and watched as she prepared to leave. Perhaps it was the worried smile she gave me as she bustled past to pack her briefcase, perhaps it was the solicitous way she told me she would be back at seven and would phone me during the day, but standing there on the polished dance floor parquet I felt like a mental patient at the end of visiting hours. Don’t leave me here with my mind, I thought. Get them to let me out. She put on her coat, opened the front door and was about to speak to me, but the words never left her. She had remembered a book she needed. While she was fetching it I lingered by the door. I knew what I wanted to say, and perhaps there was still time. This wasn’t ‘some poor fellow’. It was a man bound to me like the farm labourers by an experience, and by a shared responsibility for, or at the very least, a shared involvement in, another man’s death. This was also a man who wanted me to pray with him. Perhaps he felt insulted. Perhaps he was some kind of vengeful fanatic.
Clarissa was back with her book, stuffing it into her briefcase while she held some other papers between her teeth. She was half way out the door. When I started to say my piece, she set the case down to free her hands and mouth. ‘I can’t, Joe, I can’t. I’m already late. It’s a lecture.’ She hesitated, agonising. Then she said, ‘Go on, tell it to me quick.’ Just then the phone rang and I was relieved. I had thought she was giving a supervision, not a lecture, and letting her off the hook would have wasted even more of her time.
‘I’ll get it, you go,’ I said cheerily. ‘I’ll tell you this evening.’
She blew me a kiss and was gone. I heard her footsteps on the stairs as I reached the phone. ‘Joe?’ said the voice. ‘It’s Jed.’
我跟着她下了楼,看着她准备离去。或许是在匆忙收拾公文包的时候,她向我投来的微笑中隐藏着一丝担忧,或许是在她告诉我晚上七点回来、白天会给我打电话 时,她的口气有些焦虑,我站在抛光的镶木地板上,感觉自己就像个正在接受探访的精神病人,而探访时间已经临近尾声。别把我和我的思想留在这儿,我想。把它 们带走,让我解脱吧。她穿上外套,打开门,想要和我说什么,却什么也没说出来。她想起还需要带上一本书。她去取书的时候,我在门口徘徊。我知道自己想说什 么,也许我还有点时间。那个人并不是“某个可怜的家伙”。他纠缠着我不放,就像束缚在固有经验中的农场工人那样;而且他和我一样,都对另一个人的死亡负有 责任,或者至少来说,我们都卷进了那桩悲剧。他还想让我和他一起做祷告。也许他是感觉受到了侮辱。也许他是个报复狂。

    克拉莉莎带着书回来了,她把书塞进公文包里,嘴里同时还叼着几页文件。她半只脚已经跨出了房门。当我开始说起我的文章时,她放下公文包,把手和嘴都空出 来。“不行,乔,我不能听你说了。我已经迟到了。是一个课堂讲座。”她犹豫着,内心挣扎了一会儿,然后说:“说吧,那就快点说吧。”就在这时,电话铃响了 起来,我如释重负。我原以为她要去指导学生,不用上课。如果让她错过了,会耽误她更多的时间。

    “我去接电话,你走吧,”我轻快地说,“晚上我再告诉你。”

    她给我一个飞吻,拔腿就走了。接电话的时候,我还听到了她下楼梯的脚步声。“是乔吗?”那个声音说,“是我,杰德。”

It was perverse of me to be surprised and, for a moment, speechless. He had phoned the day before, after all, and he was on my lips, on my mind. In my mind to such an extent that I had forgotten that he was also out there, a physical entity capable of operating the phone system.
He had paused after his name, now he spoke into my silence. ‘You phoned me.’ We all had last number recall. The telephone was not what it was. Pitiless ingenuity was making it needlingly personal.
‘What do you want?’ Even as I said the words, I wanted them back. I did not want to know what he wanted, or rather, I did not want to be told. It was not really a question anyway, more a gesture of hostility. So too was, ‘And who gave you my number?’
Parry sounded pleased. ‘That’s quite a story Joe? I went to the –’
‘I don’t want your story. I don’t want you phoning me.’ I almost said, or following me, but something held me back.
‘We need to talk.’
‘I don’t.’
I heard Parry’s intake of breath. ‘I think you do. At least, I think you need to listen.’
‘I’m going to hang up. If I hear from you again I’m calling the police.’
 

惊讶中,我一时无言以对,这对我来说真有点不合情理。毕竟,他前天还打来过电话,他就在我嘴边,就在我脑海中啊。他如此固执地留在我的脑海中,竟然让我忘记了他是一个客观存在的人,一个可以操纵电话系统的物质实体。

    报出名字以后,他停顿了一会儿,而见我沉默,他又开口了。“你给我打过电话。”家家都有末号重拨的功能。电话已经今非昔比。无情的巧妙发明使电话极具私密性、挑衅性。

    “你想要干什么?”话刚出口,我就后悔了,想把它收回去。我不想知道他要干什么,或者更确切地说,是我不想让他告诉我。其实呀,这并不是个问题,更像是表明敌意的一种姿态。接下来的话也是如此。“是谁把我的号码给了你?”

    帕里听上去很高兴。“这可就说来话长了,乔?我去了……”

    “我不想听你的故事,不要你给我打电话。”我差点就说“或者跟踪我”了,但有什么东西让我欲言又止。

    “我们需要谈谈。”

    “我不需要。”

    我听见帕里倒吸了一口气。“我想你需要。至少我认为你需要听一下。”

    “我要挂了。如果你再打电话我就报警。”

The phrase sounded fatuous, the sort of meaningless thing people say, like, I’ll sue the bastards. I knew the local station. They were hard-pressed down there and they had their priorities. This was the sort of thing the citizenry was supposed to sort out for itself.
Parry spoke immediately into my threat. His voice was pitched higher and his words came faster. He had to get this out before I cut him off. ‘Look, I’m making you a promise. Just see me this once, just once and hear me out and you’ll never have to hear from me again. That’s a promise, a solemn promise.’
Solemn. More like panicky. I calculated: perhaps I should see him, let him see me and let him understand that I was distinct from the creature of his fantasy world. Let him speak. The alternative was more of this. Perhaps I could muster a little detached curiosity. When this story was closed it would be important to know something about Parry. Otherwise he would remain as much a projection of mine as I was of his. It crossed my mind to make him bring down his god to underwrite his solemn promise. But I did not want to provoke him.
I said, ‘Where are you?’
He hesitated. ‘I can come to you.’
‘No. Tell me where you are.’
‘I’m in the phone box at the end of your road?’
He said it, he asked it, without shame. I was shocked, but determined to conceal it. ‘OK,’ I said. ‘I’ll be along.’ I hung up, put on my coat, took my keys and left the apartment. It was a comfort to discover that Clarissa’s scent, Diorissimo, still hung in the air on the stairs, all the way down.
这句话听上去很傻气,就像人们常说的那些废话一样(比如“我要去告那些混蛋”),毫无意义。我了解当地的警局。他们事务繁重,被压得死死的,况且行事得分轻重缓急嘛。像这种事情市民应该自行解决才是。

    帕里立刻对我的威胁做出了回应。他的声调抬高,语速也变快了。他必须在我挂电话之前把事情说清楚。“听我说,我向你保证,只要见我这一次,就一次,听我把话说完,我就再也不会来找你了。我向你保证,郑重承诺。”

    郑重,更像是恐慌吧。我琢磨着:也许我该见他,就让他见我,让他明白,我和他幻想世界中的那个人截然不同。就让他说吧。不然的话,就要变本加厉了。也许我 还可以重新拾起那久违了的一点好奇心。等故事完结了,我便可以去了解帕里的一些情况,这可很重要,否则他会继续留在我的心里,而我也会在他的脑子里挥之不 去。闪念之间,我还想让他把上帝从天上请下来,为他的郑重承诺签名作证,不过我并不想刺激他。

    “你在哪里?”我问。

    他犹豫了一下。“我可以来找你。”

    “不行。告诉我你在哪里。”

    “我在电话亭,就在你家楼下大街的头上?”

    他张口说,他开口要,毫无廉耻啊。我很震惊,但我决计不露声色。“好的,”我说,“我这就过去。”我挂掉电话,穿起外套,拿上钥匙,离开了公寓。一路下楼 梯的时候,我欣慰地闻到克拉莉莎身上那股迪奥之韵迪奥之韵(Diorissimo):由法国迪奥公司于1956年推出,被推选为五十年代的经典香水,成了 往后创造典型女性柔美气质香水的典范。的清香,它依然在空气中悠悠飘散。


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