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A Coke and a Smile 可乐与微笑

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A Coke and a Smile

I know now that the man who sat with me on the old wooden stairs that hot summer night over thirty-five years ago was not a tall man. But to a five-year-old, he was a giant. We sat side by side, watching the sun go down behind the old Texaco service station across the busy street. A street that I was never allowed to cross unless accompanied by an adult, or at the very least, an older sibling.



我现在知道,35年前那个炎热夏夜和我坐在破旧的木楼梯上的老人并不高大,但对一个5岁的孩子来说,他却是一个巨人。我们并排坐着,看着太阳落在繁忙的街对面那个老德克萨克加油站的背后。除非有大人或至少一个哥哥或姐姐陪着,我从未被允许穿过那条街。



  Cherry-scented smoke from Grampy's pipe kept the hungry mosquitoes at bay while gray, wispy swirls danced around our heads. Now and again, he blew a smoke ring and laughed as I tried to target the hole with my finger. I, clad in a cool summer nightie, and Grampy, his sleeveless T-shirt, sat watching the traffic. We counted cars and tried to guess the color of the next one to turn the corner.

从祖父烟斗里喷出的白色烟雾在我们脑袋周围上下旋绕,它们散发的樱桃香味使贪婪的蚊子不敢靠近。他不时地喷出一串烟圈,在我试着将手指插入烟圈时他放声大笑。我穿着凉爽的小睡衣,祖父穿着他的无袖T恤,坐在那儿观看繁忙的交通。我们数着过往的车辆,并猜想着下一辆拐过街角的汽车的颜色。



Once again, I was caught in the middle of circumstances. The fourth born of six children, it was not uncommon that I was either too young or too old for something. This night I was both. While my two baby brothers slept inside the house, my three older siblings played with friends around the corner, where I was not allowed to go. I stayed with Grampy, and that was okay with me. I was where I wanted to be. My grandfather was baby-sitting while my mother, father and grandmother went out.

 我又一次陷于两头都够不上的中间境遇,作为6个孩子中的老四,很多事情对于我来说不是因为年龄太小,就是太大而不合适。那天夜里就是这样。我的两个小兄弟在屋里睡觉,我的另外3个长兄和姐姐在拐角与小伙伴们玩,而我是不允许去那里的。我与祖父呆在一起,这也挺好,正是我想呆的地方。在父母和祖母外出时,祖父就在家看孩子。



Thirsty?" Grampy asked, never removing the pipe from his mouth.

" Yes," was my reply." How would you like to run over to the gas station there and get yourself a bottle of Coke?"

I couldn't believe my ears. Had I heard right? Was he talking to me? On my family's modest income, Coke was not a part of our budget or diet. A few tantalizing sips was all I had ever had, and certainly never my own bottle.

" Okay," I replied shyly, already wondering how I would get across the street. Surely Grampy was going to come with me.

 "渴吗?"祖父烟斗不离口地问我。

"是的。"我回答说。"跑到街对面的加油站去给你自己买瓶可乐怎么样?"

我简直不敢相信自己的耳朵,我没有听错吧?他是在跟我说话吗?就我们家微薄的收入来说,可乐不是我们家庭开销的一部分。我只是迫不及待地啜过几小口,从来没有自己喝过一瓶。

"好的。"我害羞地回答说,已经在想着该怎样穿过马路,祖父当然会跟我一块。



Grampy stretched his long leg out straight and reached his huge hand deep into the pocket. I could hear the familiar jangling of the loose change he always carried. Opening his fist, he exposed a mound of silver coins. There must have been a million dollars there. He instructed me to pick out a dime. After he deposited the rest of the change back into his pocket, he stood up.

" Okay," he said, helping me down the stairs and to the curb, " I'm going to stay here and keep an ear out for the babies. I'll tell you when it's safe to cross. You go over to the Coke machine, get your Coke and come back out. Wait for me to tell you when it's safe to cross back."

 祖父将他的长腿伸直,把他的大手伸进口袋。我能听到零钱相碰而发出的熟悉的丁当声,他总是把这些零钱带在身上。他张开手,露出了一堆宝贝似的银币。那里面一定有100万美元!他让我拿出一个1角的硬币。把零钱放回口袋后,他站了起来。

"好吧,"他说,帮着我下楼梯到马路沿儿那儿去,"我站在这儿,听着屋里的两个孩子有没有动静,什么时候穿过马路安全,我会告诉你的。你到对面的可乐机那儿买到你的可乐后再走回来。等着我告诉你什么时候过马路安全。"



My heart pounded. I clutched my dime tightly in my sweaty palm. Excitement took my breath away.

Grampy held my hand tightly. Together we looked up the street and down, and back up again. He stepped off the curb and told me it was safe to cross. He let go of my hand and I ran. I ran faster than I had ever run before. The street seemed wide. I wondered if I would make it to the other side. Reaching the other side, I turned to find Grampy. There he was, standing exactly where I had left him, smiling proudly. I waved.

" Go on, hurry up," he yelled.

我的心砰砰地跳着,紧紧地用汗手攥着那枚1角的硬币,兴奋地喘不上气来。

祖父紧紧地拉着我的手,我们一块看了看大街的前后左右。他走下马路沿儿,告诉我现在可以过去了。他放开我的手,我跑了起来。我从没有跑得这么快过。街道似乎很宽,我怀疑自己是否能跑到对面。跑到对面后,我回头寻找祖父,他正站在我离开他的地方,为我自豪地微笑着。我朝他挥了挥手。

"接着走,快点。"他喊道。



My heart pounded wildly as I walked inside the dark garage.I had been inside the garage before with my father. My surroundings were familiar. I heard the Coca-Cola machine motor humming even before I saw it. I walked directly to the big old red-and-white dispenser. I knew where to insert my dime. I had seen it done before and had fantasized about this moment many times.

The big old monster greedily accepted my dime, and I heard the bottles shift. On tiptoes I reached up and opened the heavy door. There they were: one neat row of thick green bottles, necks staring directly at me, and ice cold from the refrigeration. I held the door open with my shoulder and grabbed one. With a quick yank, I pulled it free from its bondage. Another one immediately took its place. The bottle was cold in my sweaty hands. I will never forget the feeling of the cool glass on my skin. With two hands, I positioned the bottleneck under the heavy brass opener that was bolted to the wall. The cap dropped into an old wooden box, and I reached in to retrieve it. I was cold and bent in the middle, but I knew I needed to have this souvenir. Coke in hand, I proudly marched back out into the early evening dusk. Grampy was waiting patiently. He smiled.

我的心砰砰乱跳着走进昏暗的修车站。我以前曾和父亲一块来过这里,对周围的一切都很熟悉。甚至在看见可口可乐机之前就听到了其马达发出的嗡嗡声。我径直走向那台红白相间的巨大的老自动售货机。我知道该往哪儿插硬币,我曾看人做过并曾多次幻想有一天我也能亲身试一试。

那个老巨人贪婪地吞下我的硬币,我听见了瓶子移动的声音。我踮起脚尖伸手摸索着打开了它厚重的门。它们就在那儿!一排整齐的深绿色瓶子,瓶颈一个挨一个地凝视着我,冰箱里散发出冰冷的气息。我用肩膀顶着门,伸手抓住一个,迅速一拉,将它从捆绑中拉了出来,另一个立即占据了它的位置。瓶子在我汗浸浸的手中显得格外冰凉,我永远忘不了冰凉的瓶子接触我皮肤时的感觉。我两手抓住瓶子,将瓶颈放在固定的墙上的厚铜开瓶器下,瓶盖立即掉在一个老木箱里,我伸手将它捡了出来,感觉好凉,中间已经弯曲,但我知道我需要拥有这个纪念品。手拿可乐,我自豪地走回到外面,已是黄昏时分。祖父正耐心地等待着,并面带微笑。



" Stop right there," he yelled. One or two cars sped by me, and once again, Grampy stepped off the curb." Come on, now," he said, " run." I did. Cool brown foam sprayed my hands." Don't ever do that alone," he warned.I held the Coke bottle tightly, fearful he would make me pour it into a cup, ruining this dream come true. He didn't. One long swallow of the cold beverage cooled my sweating body. I don't think I ever felt so proud.

 

"停在那儿,"一两辆车在我面前飞驶而过,祖父再次走下马路沿儿,"现在过来,"他说,"跑过来!"我跑了起来,冰凉的棕色泡沫溅在我的手上。"别再一个人独自过马路!"他警告我。我紧紧地抱着可乐瓶,生怕他让我把可乐倒在杯子里,毁掉我的梦想。他没有。我咕噜噜长长地吞下一口冰凉的可乐,冒汗的身体顿觉清爽无比。我认为自己再也没有过当时那样的自豪。By Jacqueline M. Hickey (袁红梅 译 自 Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul)
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