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我们的爱沉入无边的黑寂

所属:情感空间 作者:webmaster 阅读:3480 次 评论:4 条 [我要评论]  [+我要收藏]

在那个下雪的夜晚,纽约市一个犹太教堂里,我遇到了威廉。我意识到我们会结婚,但没想到这段婚姻仅仅持续了十年。他就坐在我的前面,我一下子爱上了他脖子的背影。地板往前向下倾斜,我没有注意到他有6英尺3英寸高,整整比我高了1英尺。
THE snowy night I met Willem at a synagogue in New York City, I knew we would marry, but I did not know that it would last only 10 years. He was sitting in front of me and I fell in love with the back of his neck. The floor sloped down to the front, so I didn’t realize that he was 6-foot-3, more than a foot taller than I was.
他来自荷兰,父亲是门诺派牧师,本人却信奉犹太教。我是乡下被同化的犹太家庭的孩子。他快满40岁了,还没结过婚。我已经37岁,正准备放弃关于男人,犹太或其他任何什么的一切希望。
He was from the Netherlands, the son of a Mennonite minister, and was drawn to Judaism. I was the child of suburban assimilated Jews. He was almost 40 and had never wed, and I was 37 and had just about given up on men, Jewish or otherwise.
很快,他拖着我到了东城,我们遇到一个拉比。他用有点斜视的目光看着我们,充满睿智的说:“你们将拥有幸福而疯狂的生活。”确实如此。
Soon after, he dragged me to the Lower East Side where we met an old rabbi, who looked at us a bit askance and said wisely, “You will have a sweet and crazy life together,” which we did.
转眼九年过去了。四月,我们的小家庭——威廉,我,还有我们从立陶宛收养的已经三岁儿子杰克(收养时还是个小婴儿)——拜访了在康涅狄格州开农场养羊的朋友。当我们回到纽约,威廉将车停在公寓附近的街上。我们走着回家,杰克骑在威廉的肩上。
Nine years later, in April, our little family — Willem; Jake, our 3-year-old son, whom we had adopted from Lithuania as a baby, and I — visited a friend’s sheep farm in Connecticut. When we returned to New York, Willem parked the car on the street near our apartment. We walked from the car with Jake riding on Willem’s shoulders.
在路上,我说:“我们应该买个车椅吗?”
In the middle of the block I said, “Should we get the car seat?”
“什么是车椅?”威廉问。从这个看似简单的问题开始,我们的生活彻底改变了。
Willem said, “What’s a car seat?” And with that seemingly simple question, we entered a new kingdom.
在接下来的三个礼拜,威廉的性格开始发生变化。他变得容易发脾气。一天早上他问我有没有“墨水笔”。他时常用不同形式的英语词汇。正好我们没有墨水笔了,所以我递给他一支圆珠笔。然后他开始向我大喊大叫。
Over the next three days, Willem’s personality began to change. He had always had a bit of a temper, but one morning he asked if I had an “ink pen.” He sometimes used different forms of English words, but when I handed him a ballpoint, because we didn’t own ink pens anymore, he began to scream at me.
我们觉得应该去婚姻咨询师那看看。咨询师建议威廉做一个检查。在检查室里,我紧皱着眉头注视着医生记录下威廉的各种重要体征。我的丈夫是一个马拉松选手,状态很好,有健康的肺和心脏。但是接着内科医生开始问问题了。
He agreed to go to a marriage counselor, who advised Willem to have a checkup. I sat with a furrowed brow in the examining room as the doctor took all his vital signs. My husband was a marathon runner, in top condition, with healthy lungs and a healthy heart, but then the internist began to ask him questions.
医生举起一个纸夹,威廉说:“我知道这是什么,但我说不出那个单词。”
The doctor held up a paper clip and Willem said, “I know what it does, but I don’t know the word for it.”
英语不是威廉的母语,但这次问题不在这里。
English was not Willem’s first language, but this was something else.
“我有点担心,”医生说,“我会尽快安排一次脑部核磁共振成像检查。”
“I’m concerned,” the doctor said. “I’m scheduling a brain M.R.I. Immediately.”
我载威廉到五个街区外去赴他的约会,然后送杰克去幼儿园。
I dropped Willem at his appointment five blocks away and went to pick up Jake at preschool.
威廉还没有到家,电话就响了。是医生打来的。他的声音很轻柔:“很抱歉,是坏消息。你的丈夫患上了胶质母细胞瘤,是脑癌中最糟的一种。”
Before Willem got home, the phone rang. It was our doctor, who said softly: “I am sorry but I have very bad news. Your husband has glioblastoma, which is the worst form of brain cancer.”
杰克打开了冰箱,把橘子汁打翻在地板上。
Jake had opened the refrigerator and was pouring orange juice on the floor.
“希望我跟他说吗?”医生问。
“Do you want me to tell him?” the doctor asked.
杰克拽我的袖子,让我看他的杰作。
Jake was tugging on my sleeve to show me his handiwork.
“不,不用了,谢谢。”我喃喃的说,“我来告诉他。只告诉我一件事:他会死吗?”
“No, no, thank you,” I murmured. “I’ll tell him. Tell me one thing: Is he going to die?”
“是的。”他说。
“Yes,” he said.
午夜时,威廉和杰克都睡下了,我下了床,在google上搜索“胶质母细胞瘤”。我读到:“病人将逐渐丧失所有记忆,以及所有的肢体运动能力。”
In the middle of the night, while Willem and Jake slept, I got up and Googled “glioblastoma.” I read, “The patient will slowly lose all memory, as well as all bodily movement.”
第二天我看见威廉躺在客厅的沙发上读书。他在重读J. Bernlef用荷兰文写的小说《发疯》,讲的是一个丈夫如何逐渐丧失了理智和说话的能力。
The next day I found Willem reading on the couch in the living room. He was re-reading a novel in Dutch, by the author J. Bernlef, called “Out of Mind.” It is about a husband who slowly loses his mind and ability to speak.
我挤到他旁边,问:“怎么现在又读起这本书?”
I huddled next to him. “Why are you reading this now?”
他耸耸肩:“可能对我有点帮助吧。我觉得现在认字有点困难。”
He shrugged. “Maybe it will help me. I’m having trouble with words.”
“是的。”我说,深吸一口气,“想听听M.R.I.的结果吗?”
“Yes,” I said and took a deep breath. “Do you want to know about the M.R.I.?”
“那是什么?”他说。
“What’s that?” he said.
“就是那些图片,他们给你脑部拍的图片。”
“The picture, the picture they took of your brain.”
“是的,谢谢。”他说。他一向有点一本正经,但现在他的说话方式确实不同了。
“Yes, thank you,” he said. He had always been a formal man, but already his speech was different.
然后我简单地告诉他:“你有一个脑瘤。”就像说我们需要一张新地毯似的。
And then, as simply as I would say we needed a new rug, I said, “You have a brain tumor.”
他点点头,又一头载入他的书里。
He nodded, and then went back to his book.
半个小时后,我正在厨房强忍住泪水,给杰克喂意大利小轮面时, 威廉给我打了电话。
A half-hour later, Willem called to me, while I was in the kitchen trying to feed Jake pasta wagon wheels without weeping.
"那种肿瘤,叫什么来着?"
“What’s it called, the tumor?”
“胶质母细胞瘤。” 我试着以尽量轻快的声音回答,仿佛在说一种花的名字。
I called back as cheerily as I could, “Glioblastoma,” trying to make it sound like a lovely flower.
威廉的第一次手术用了四个小时。医生从手术室出来后,我站在他面前,等待着命运的判决:“大部分都已经切除了。”他说。
Willem’s first operation lasted four hours. After the surgeon came out, I stood before him, waiting to hear our destiny. “We got most of it out,” he said.
我抱紧自己:“还剩多久?”
I hugged myself. “When is he going to die?”
“一年,可能两年。很少人会问这个问题。”
“One year, maybe two. Very few people ask that question.”
我不知道自己为什么这么麻木。当然,奇迹是存在的,例外也是有的。但我只想知道最糟糕的情形会怎样。这样让我觉得更在掌控,即使我清楚明白的知道,我什么也改变不了。
I don’t know why I was so blunt. Of course there are miracles. Of course there are exceptions. But I wanted to know the worst-case scenario. For me that made me feel more in control, even though I was acutely aware I was in control of nothing.
“活在当下。”
“Live in the moment.”
“你拥有的只是现在。”
“All you have is the day.”
“我们都是要死的。”
“We’re all terminal.”
这些字眼不停在我脑海里闪现。立即有一些朋友来看望威廉,并告诉我他们可怕的发现。其他人认为这肯定是由于手机引起的,即使他连一部手机都没有。加利福利亚的一个朋友寄来一张明信片,上面写着:“蓝莓。抗氧化剂会起作用的。蓝莓是关键。”
These phrases ricocheted through my head. Some friends immediately looked up Willem’s illness and forwarded their dire discoveries to me. Others told me it must be because he used a cellphone, although he did not own one. “Blueberries,” wrote a friend on a postcard from California. “The antioxidants will do it. Blueberries are the key.”
威廉是个历史学家。他担任一个照片档案库的主管工作。他花费了大量的时间在他的博士论文上,我因此打趣他称他为脚注先生。但即使他是干研究出身的,他从来没有查阅过关于这个疾病的资料,也没有兴趣加入任何的关怀小组。他只是想继续专注于他热爱的工作,继续与他的那些照片为伍,他想写一本关于二战期间被迫迁徙的人们的书,他想去布拉格庆祝他的五十岁生日,他想在比利时的街头骑单车载着我和杰克,他还想有一天能参加东京的马拉松比赛。
WILLEM was a historian. He worked as the director of a photo archive and spent so long on his doctoral dissertation that I called him Dr. Footnote. And though he was a researcher, he never once looked up his disease and had no desire to join any kind of support group. He wanted to return to his job and work with his beloved photographs and papers, he wanted to write a book about displaced persons in World War II, he wanted to go to Prague for his 50th birthday, he wanted to take Jake and me bike riding in Belgium and run a marathon some day in Tokyo.
“我对疾病毫无兴趣,”他说,“即使疾病对我很有兴趣。”
“I have no interest in cancer,” he declared, “even if it has an interest in me.”
但他明白在疾病的尽头等着的是什么。他主动提出与墓地联系,就是埋葬我祖父的那一块。
Yet he knew what the outcome of his illness would be. It was his idea to call the cemetery where my grandparents are buried.
一个女人在电话里通报了价格。“您是想要一个,两个或三个?”
A woman quoted prices over the phone. “Do you want a single, double or triple site?”
威廉步行回来后,杰克也去幼儿园了,我们就开车去墓地看看。这是一个小山脚下充满田园风情的地方。威廉的头上围着一条爱迪达斯的束带,用以遮盖手术留下的疤痕。
When Willem was back on his feet, with a Nike headband on his head covering his scar, and Jake was at preschool, we drove out of the city to the bucolic cemetery on a hillside.
我很紧张,因为是威廉开车。威廉开车总是让我神经紧张。他在荷兰长大,来到这个国家后才学会了开车。以前他都是以自行车做为交通工具的。因此,他非常满意从自行车到自动车的升级,并总在加速的时候兴奋的用荷兰语喊叫着。
I was nervous having Willem drive. I always was nervous with him at the wheel. He had learned in this country, as an adult, because growing up in the Netherlands his mode of transportation was his bicycle. Now he loved “to put the pedal to the metal” and scream Dutch words of joy as he accelerated.
我们总算是安全抵达了。接待我们的男士耳朵上戴着半导体收音机,他一边收听着梅茨队和卡狄诺队的比赛,一边带领我们到处看看。我们领到需要的表格填写时,我的脑海里不停的回旋一个问题,我什么时候会需要为自己准备这些?然后我们离开,吃了乳酪汉堡和奶昔,开车回城里,到家后做爱。
We arrived safely at the cemetery, and a gentle man carrying a transistor radio to his ear, listening to a Mets-Cardinals game, showed us around. Then we took the proper papers to fill out and my head spun wondering when my time would be. Afterward we went out for cheeseburgers and milkshakes, and drove back to the city, went home and made love.
在四岁生日的前一周,杰克要求给他做一个救火车样子的蛋糕。我不是一个蛋糕师。一年中我有烘培的冲动可能不超过两次,而且每一次都是以苹果派或南瓜派收场。好吧,我承认,上面的碎屑我是从商店里买的。
A week before his fourth birthday, Jake announced that he wanted a cake in the shape of a fire truck. I am not a baker. I have the urge to bake perhaps twice a year, and that usually results in an apple or pumpkin pie with, I confess, store-bought crust.
但我的儿子说要一个救火车蛋糕。那么,就像一个母亲可以凭一己之力抬起压在孩子腿上的汽车一样,我也做成了。我在做糖霜时用了整整一瓶红色的染料,这在以前会把我自己吓死。但现在看来,既然威廉是靠全麦面包和甜菜沙拉喂大的,那么可能垃圾食品倒是活得久的关键。
But my son wanted a cake in the shape of a fire truck, and in that way that mothers are able to lift cars off their children’s feet in an emergency, I somehow made one. I used practically a whole bottle of red dye in the frosting, which in earlier days would appall me. But now I reasoned that if Willem grew up on the purest whole-wheat bread and beet salad, perhaps junk food was the key to a long life.
我费劲心思装饰这个蛋糕——甘草做的水管,薄荷糖做的车轮,奶糖做的车灯,格子样的脆饼干做成的梯子。这个是我对儿子的一种补偿,我知道这将是他与父亲共同渡过的最后一个生日。
I decorated the cake with care — licorice hoses, peppermint wheels, butterscotch headlights and a lattice of thin pretzels for ladders. It was my offering to my son on what I knew would be his last birthday with his father.
生日聚会在中央公园举行。朋友们帮忙把小礼品和食物装到汽车上。威廉缓慢的步行前往,很从容地,握着我的手,头上戴着水手蓝的束带。
We had the party in Central Park. Friends helped push the party favors and food in carts. Willem was able to walk there slowly, but with elegance, holding my hand, wearing his navy blue Nike headband.
孩子们都围坐在餐桌旁。杰克吹灭了蜡烛,许了一个愿。在这段日子里,杰克一看见点燃的蜡烛就会许愿,掉了一根眼睫毛会许愿,对着一朵盛开的蒲公英也会许愿。“ 每次我都是许相同的愿,”他说,“但你一定不能问我许的是什么愿。”
The children sat at a picnic table for cake. Jake blew out the candles on the fire truck cake and made a wish. During that period of our lives, he made wishes whenever candles were lighted, and on eyelashes and fluffy dandelions. “I always make the same wish, Mom,” he’d say, “and you can’t ever ask me what it is.”
我没有问过。不管怎样,威廉还是走了。举行葬礼那天,杰克无论如何也不穿他称之为“满是扣子”的那件T恤,最后勉强穿上了一件有三个扣子的水手蓝polo衫。
I didn’t ask. Regardless, Willem died. On the day of the funeral, I couldn’t get Jake to wear what he called his “lots of buttons shirt,” but he did acquiesce to a navy blue polo shirt with three buttons.
在犹太教堂里,亲友们在缅怀威廉的时候,杰克拽了拽我的袖子,催促我说:“我现在就想要去铲土。”
AT the synagogue, when Willem’s friends were eulogizing him, Jake began to lose patience and tugged on my arm.
终于我们从教堂走了出来,头晕目眩,疲惫不堪,开车前往小山脚下的墓地。就在那里,仅仅几个月前,我和威廉还快快活活的选了一个墓穴位置,然后渡过了一个浪漫的下午。八月的下午,一阵微醺的清风拂过。
“I want to go to the digging part,” he said.
按照拉比的指示,我们依次铲土,为了显示与平常的铲土区别,我们都是倒着拿铲子。然后,就在这个时候,我看见了一幕我永远也不会忘记的画面——我们四岁的儿子伸手握住了铲子,将两铲土倾倒在他父亲朴素的松木棺材上。
Finally we drove out of the city, dazed and weary, to the cemetery on the hill where Willem and I had blithely picked out a spot and spent our romantic afternoon only months before. A sweet wind blew in the August afternoon.
伴随着汽笛声,一列火车在山谷里慢慢驶过。杰克把铲子递给他的表兄弟,向天空伸直了他的双臂。我明白了他的意思,我把他抱了起来,拉比正在说着祈祷词。我们注视着火车绕着山谷缓缓前行,我紧紧抱着杰克,一同向远行的亲人挥手。
We all took turns shoveling, in the way the rabbi had instructed, with the shovel upside down to show this was a special kind of digging. And then, and then, a picture I thought I would never see — my 4-year-old son reached for the shovel and he, too, dumped two shovelfuls of dirt onto his father’s plain pine coffin.
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2010-06-06 20:03 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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