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Twilight Time 黄昏时分

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Reflexively I reached to turn on my car radio, preset to KGBX, the soft-rock station I always listen to on my early-morning drives to my job at the post office. Then I glanced at my 14-year-old daughter in the passenger seat and thought better of it.
  下意识地,我伸手打开车里的收音机,预先调好的KGBX台是我每天清晨开车去邮电局上班的路上经常听的软摇滚音乐台。我看了一眼坐在乘客位子上14岁的女儿,又把收音机关了。
  Liz wore a dress. That in itself bespoke the seriousness of the occasion. We were on our way to the Springfield, Missouri, districtwide music competition, where Liz would be playing a flute solo, her very first. I knew from my own competition days back in Minnesota that it messed with your concentration to hear any music besides the piece you were planning to play.
    莉斯穿着礼服,从着装可看出她要去的是一个隆重的场合。我们在去往密苏里州斯普林菲尔德的路上,去参加全区的音乐竞赛,莉斯将首次独奏长笛。我自己以前在明尼苏达州参加过竞赛,知道别的任何音乐都会干扰你的注意力,除了你自己将要演奏的曲子。

“Dad said he might come,” Liz said. Her father hadn’t been a big part of her life since our divorce 10 years earlier, and she sounded both excited and scared.


    “爸爸说他可能会来,”莉斯说。自从我们10年前离婚后,她父亲就不再是她生活中的重要组成部分了。她的声音听起来有些兴奋,又有些害怕。

Boy, did I know that feeling -- wanting to impress your father and at the same time, being terrified of letting him down? Suddenly I was 12 years old again, sitting onstage at the Minnesota state music competition, fingers poised on the keyboard of my shiny black PanItalia accordion. I looked out at the audience of proud parents. Then I saw him. My dad. He sat at the end of a row, arms folded, crew cut bristling. His piercing blue eyes narrowed behind his black-rimmed glasses and focused unwaveringly on me.
噢,想给父亲留下深刻印象,又担心他失望我是否有过这种感觉?突然间,我仿佛又回到了12岁,坐在明尼苏达州音乐竞赛的舞台上,手指平稳地放在我那黑亮的PanItalia手风琴的键盘上。我朝着那些自豪的家长观众看了一眼。然后看到了他。我的父亲。他坐在最后一排,双臂交叉放在胸前,平短的头发根根直竖着,两只锐利的蓝眼睛在黑框眼镜后面眯缝着,目不转睛地注视着我。

I completely choked. I’d practiced my contest piece for months until I knew it by heart, inside and out. But my fancy accordion might as well have been a cardboard box that afternoon. I forced out some semblance of a tune and fled the stage in tears.

我完全窒息了。我已经把我的竞赛曲子练习了好几个月,直到背得滚瓜烂熟。但是那天下午,我别致的手风琴好像变成了纸板盒。我挤出了一小段不伦不类的调子,满眼泪水逃离了舞台。
No consolation came from my father, a World War II veteran who epitomized authority. He didn’t say a thing to me. He just took the wheel of our station wagon, his mouth a grim line as we set off on the 150-mile drive back to Duluth. I didn’t say anything either. What could I say, really, after what I’d done? I knew how hard Dad worked to scrape together enough money for my accordion and lessons. But the one time he was able to come to a competition, I let him down.

我的父亲,一个二战老兵,权威的缩影,没有给我任何安慰。他什么也没对我说。他只是握着旅行车的方向盘,双唇冷酷地紧闭着,驶在回德卢斯150英里的路途中。我也一言不发。在这样的表现之后,我还能说什么呢?我知道,为了我的手风琴和琴课,父亲是多么辛苦工作才勉强凑够钱的。然而就在他能够来参加的唯一一次比赛中,我却让他失望了

The farther we drove, the more the silence in our station wagon grew until it stood like an impenetrable wall between Dad and me. It seemed an especially cruel punishment considering music had been our deepest connection.
我们开得越远,旅行车里就越显得寂静,直到在我和父亲之间仿佛筑起了一堵不可穿透的墙。想到音乐曾经是我们内心最深处的交流,这就像是一种极其残酷的惩罚。

By the time I came along, the last of five children, my father was worn out from the demands of supporting a large family. My brothers and sisters and I tiptoed around him when he came home from his shift at Jeno’s Pizza factory. But on Sunday afternoons, Dad would sit back in his recliner and ask me to play for him. He loved the music of the Big Band era, and none more than the song Twilight Time. I taught myself the tune from the sheet music, just for him. It didn’t seem to matter that my rendition was lacking in style. My father would hum along, his eyes closed, tears escaping from the corners as if I’d transported him to some magical, heavenly place.

家中5个孩子,我排行老幺,当我来到这个家时,我的父亲已经为了养一大家子累得精疲力竭了。我和哥哥姐姐们总是在他从杰诺比萨厂下班回来后踮着脚尖围着他。但在星期天下午,父亲会靠在他的躺椅上,让我为他演奏。他喜欢大爵士乐队时代的音乐,尤其喜欢《黄昏时分》这首歌。我从乐谱上自学了这首曲子,就为了他。他似乎并不在乎我的演奏风格全无。父亲会跟着哼唱,闭着眼睛,泪水从眼角悄然滑落,仿佛我把他带到了一个魔幻般的世外桃源。

Dad never said a word the entire way home, never again attended one of my competitions. I never got over the hurt of having disappointed the one person I’d most wanted to make proud. I’d lost more than my composure that afternoon. I felt as if I’d lost the key to my father’s heart, and he died before I could find it again.


   回家的路上,父亲一言不发,也再没参加过我的比赛。父亲是我最希望令其自豪的人,而我却让他失望了,我永远无法从这种痛苦中解脱出来。那天下午我失去的不仅仅是镇静。我感觉自己仿佛失去了打开父亲心扉的钥匙,而他在我重新找回这把钥匙之前就去世了。color]

[color=Purple]Why did you let me fail my father? I’d often wondered to God in the years since. Couldn’t you at least have given me a chance to make it up to him? “Mom, this is it.” My daughter’s voice snapped me back to the present. I parked in the lot at Central High. “Good, I have time to warm up,” Liz said as we walked into the school.

你为什么要让我辜负我的爸爸?自那以后多年,我经常质问上帝。难道你就不能给我一个弥补的机会吗?“妈妈,到了。”我女儿的声音把我拽回了现实。我把车停在了中央高中的停车场。“还好,我还有时间热热身,”莉斯一边说着一边和我一起走进了学校。

In the practice room, Liz took her flute out of its case, unfolded her music and ran through her piece flawlessly. Just before we stepped into the recital hall, I gave her a hug. “Relax,” I said. “You’re going to do great.”
   在练习室里,莉斯把长笛从盒子里拿了出来,打开乐谱,完美地吹奏了一遍曲子。进演奏大厅之前,我给了她一个拥抱。“放松,”我说。“你会吹得很棒的。”

Liz laughed nervously. “Maybe you should wait till the competition’s over before you decide that.” One after another, the soloists scheduled before Liz played. The clock clicked ominously close to her 11:05 performance time. “Dad’s here,” Liz whispered to me. “I can hear him in the hallway.” Her father trooped in, carrying a video camera. I felt a flutter of anxiety for Liz. The next thing I knew she was no longer in the seat next to me but standing stiffly onstage beside the piano. Mr. Hillme, her social-studies teacher and accompanist, winked at her.
莉斯紧张地笑了笑。“也许你应该等到比赛结束了再下判断。”在莉斯之前的独奏选手一个接着一个地表演完了。时针不祥地逼近了她的演出时间:11点05。“爸爸来了,”莉斯低声地告诉我。“我能听见他在走廊里的声音。”他父亲随着人群走了进来,带着一台摄像机。我不禁为莉斯感到一阵焦虑。接着我才发现她已不在我身旁的座位上,而是拘谨地站在舞台上的钢琴旁边。希尔米先生是她的社会课老师兼伴奏,向她眨眼示意。
 “Hey, not as bad as one of my tests, is it?” Liz chuckled, the tension easing from her face, and lifted the flute to her lips.

“嘿,总不至于像我的考试那么糟吧!”莉斯咯咯地笑着,紧张的神情渐渐从她的脸上褪去,她举起长笛放到了嘴边。

Lord, please let her play her best.  
  上帝,请让她发挥出最佳水平吧!

Liz took a deep breath and launched into her solo. Her fingers danced along the silver keys. The melody floated out of the instrument, sweet and pure and honest. I closed my eyes, letting myself be carried away by my daughter’s song.
  莉斯深吸了一口气,开始了她的独奏。她的手指在银色的按键上翩翩起舞。乐器飘扬出甜美、纯净、朴实的旋律。我闭上眼睛,任由女儿的音乐牵引我的思绪。

I forgot about the competition. I forgot about Liz’s nervousness at performing in front of her father.
我忘记了比赛。忘记了莉斯在她父亲面前表演的紧张情绪。

 All at once I pictured my own father, patiently enduring my nightly accordion practice sessions though he must have yearned for peace and quiet after his long days at the pizza factory. My practical dad, adamantly opposed to any kind of debt, conceding to make payments on a top-of-the-line, full-size accordion when I’d outgrown my secondhand student model. My stern, serious dad, cranking up our Lowrey organ, picking out the notes of a swingy Big Band tune and getting the whole house jumping. My unsentimental, overworked father? leaning back in his recliner, his burdens chased away by tears of joy at hearing his youngest child play his favorite song.
 
突然,我想起了我的父亲。虽然他在比萨厂呆了一整天后一定非常渴望清静,但还是耐心地忍受着我每天晚上练习手风琴的那段时间。我务实的父亲坚决反对任何形式的欠债,但当我长大用不了二手的学生型手风琴时,他让步了,为我买了一台最好的标准尺寸的手风琴。表情严肃的父亲打开我们的Lowrey手风琴,弹奏了一小段节奏强劲的大型爵士乐曲,整个屋子欢腾了起来。不易动情、过度操劳的父亲靠在他的躺椅上,听着他最小的孩子演奏他最喜欢的曲子,快乐的泪水冲走了他的负担。

My dad, who must have felt so awful knowing his presence prevented me from playing well onstage that he hadn’t known what to say or do to comfort me -- except to stay away and not upset me at my subsequent competitions. Dad, I’m sorry I thought you were disappointed in me. I know you loved me even more than you loved music. I wish you could know how much I love you too. I wish I could play Twilight Time for you again.

知道自己的出现使我无法在台上正常发挥后,父亲必定非常难过,他甚至都不知道说什么或做什么来安慰我,唯有在后来的比赛中不再参与、不再干扰我。爸爸,对不起,我以为你对我失望了。我知道,你爱我更甚于音乐。我也希望你能明白,我是多么地爱你。但愿我能再为你演奏一曲《黄昏时分》。
 Liz put down her flute and took a bow to thunderous applause (well, thunderous to a proud mother, anyway). “Mom, I didn’t even see the music,” Liz exclaimed in the car on the way home. “I mean, I was looking at it, but I didn’t have to read it. I just played and let it take me away.” I knew what she meant.
   莉斯放下长笛,在雷鸣般的掌声中鞠躬致谢(无论如何,至少对于一个自豪的母亲来说,这掌声如同雷鸣一般)。“妈妈,我甚至连乐谱都没看!”回家的路上,莉斯在车里喊着:“我是说,我只是看着它,但不用读。我只是演奏,任由音乐带着我。” 我明白她的意思。

Monday morning after Liz’s competition, I set out for my 4:30 A.M. shift at the post office. I clicked on my car radio. Silence. Then instead of KGBX’s soft rock, out of the speakers came the unmistakable brassy sounds of a 1940s-era big band. Where did this station come from?

 在莉斯比赛之后的周一清早,我出发去邮局上4点半的班。我打开了车上的收音机。开始没有声音,接着从扬声器里传来的并不是KGBX的软摇滚音乐,而很明显是20世纪40年代大型爵士乐队的铜管乐。这个电台是从哪里来的呢?

A woman’s smoky contralto crooned words I’d never heard sung, though they were printed on the tattered sheet music in my old accordion case. “Heavenly shades of night are falling, it’s twilight time./Out of the mist, your voice is calling, it’s twilight time./When purple-colored curtains mark the end of day/I’ll hear you, my dear, at twilight time.”

   一个女低音歌手幽幽地哼唱着我从未听人唱过的歌,虽然我曾在我的旧手风琴盒里的破烂乐谱上见过这些歌词。“天空的夜幕落下,已是黄昏时分。/透过薄雾,传来你的声音,已是黄昏时分。/当紫色天幕预示着一天的结束,/我将听到你的声音,亲爱的,在那黄昏时分。”

Tears trickled out of the corners of my eyes. The music of God’s love had bridged the years and the silence between my dad and me at last.

 眼泪一滴滴地从我的眼角流下。上帝的爱之音乐终于在我和父亲之间架起了一座桥,跨越了那沉默的岁月。


最后由 sarah娟栀 于 2006-08-21 15:46 编辑
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