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结束了的故事 英语小说故事摘选

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My mother died on Christmas Day, at home, around three in the afternoon. In the first months afterward, I felt an intense desire to write down the story of her death, to tell it over and over to friends. I jotted down stray thoughts and memories in the middle of the night. Even during her last weeks, I found myself squirrelling away her words, all her distinctive expressions: “I love you to death” and “Is that our wind I hear?”

圣诞节那天大约是下午3点,我的母亲在家中去世了。在随后的第一个月,我有一种强烈的愿望要写下她去世的故事,一遍又一遍告诉我所有的朋友。我将午夜无眠时零散的思绪和记忆随手记下。甚至是在她活着的最后一个星期里,我寻找着我记得的她说过的,所有独特的表达:“我爱你到死”和“那是我们听过的风吗?”

If I told the story of her death, I might understand it better, make sense of it—perhaps even change it. What had happened still seemed implausible. A person was present your entire life, and then one day she disappeared and never came back. It resisted belief. She had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer two and a half years earlier; I had known for months that she was going to die. But her death nonetheless seemed like the wrong outcome—an instant that could have gone differently, a story that could have unfolded otherwise. If I could find the right turning point in the narrative, then maybe, like Orpheus, I could bring the one I sought back from the dead. Aha: Here she is, walking behind me.

假如我讲述了她死亡的故事,我可能更加熟悉它,理解它——甚至可能改变它,这一直让我无法置信的事实。一个人明明存在于你所有的生命,突然有一天就消失了再不会回来。我更拒绝相信的是,她早在两年半前已经被诊断出肠癌,而我,直到她快要死去的几个月前才知道她的病情。但是她的死亡看起来像是一个错误的开始——或说是一段该特别的应该展开的故事情节。如果我能早点找到叙述关键的转折点,那就可能,像奥菲士,能够从死神手中寻回她。啊哈:她在这里,就在我身后。

It was my mother who had long ago planted in me the habit of writing things down in order to understand them. When I was five, she gave me a red corduroy-covered notebook for Christmas. I sat in my floral nightgown turning the blank pages, puzzled.

把有用的东西写下来是我的母亲很久前为了培养我的理解力形成的习惯。在我五岁圣诞节时,她给了我一个红色的绒布封面的记事本,我穿着我像花朵一样的睡裙翻开空白的页面,感到困惑。

“What do I do with it?” I wanted to know.
“You write down things that happened to you that day.”
“Why would I want to do that?”
“Because maybe they’re interesting and you want to remember them.”
“What would I write?”
“Well, you’d write something like ‘Today I saw a woman with purple hair crossing Montague Street.’ ”

“我要它做什么?”我想知道。
“你可以写下你每天经历的。”
“为什么我要这么做?”
“也许他们都很有趣,而以后你会想要记得这些。”
“我该怎么写?”
“你可以这样写‘今天我看见一个紫色头发的女人穿过了蒙塔古街。’”

I still remember the way she said that sentence: Today I saw a woman with purple hair crossing Montague Street. It is one of those memories that I carry around, and always will, like the shard of a shell that falls out of a bag you took to the beach for a long summer.

我一直记得她说的那句话的形式:今天我看见一个一个紫色头发的女人穿过了蒙塔古街。这是我时刻并将一直携带,就像是挂在我的包上那一枚在某个漫长的夏天到海滩上拾到的贝壳。

I hadn’t seen a woman with purple hair crossing Montague Street, of course. But in that sentence was my mother’s sense that one might want to capture the extraordinary, her grasp of children’s love of the absurd, her striking physical presence—in my memory, she was leaning toward me, backlit, her black hair falling forward—and her intuition that my seriousness needed to be leavened with playfulness.

当然,我没有真正看到过穿过蒙塔古街的紫发女人。那句话是我母亲编出来引起我不同寻常注意的,她明白孩子们的好奇心一定不会忽视紫发女人这样惹人注目的存在——在我的记忆中,她站在我的斜前方,背着光,黑色的头发披在前面——她直觉我的当真需要由嬉闹中慢慢来发酵养成。

My brothers and I spent an inordinate amount of time with our mother when we were children, not only because we went to school where she worked, as the head of the middle school, but because she loved being with kids. She was a bit of a child herself. She had married when she was seventeen, and in some ways never lost the teen-ager inside her. Over the summer, she would study the names of Northeastern birds in her Audubon books and, with utter focus, write a list of the ones she’d seen. She had a vivid sense of what makes children feel safe, and she believed in a child’s experience of the world. Students trusted her, even when they’d been sent to her office and she was asking them why in the world they had done whatever it was they had done.

我和哥哥孩童时期时有无数呆在母亲身边的日子,不仅仅是因为我们在母亲当校长的学校里上学,更因为她喜欢和我们这些孩子们呆在一起。她自己也有一点孩子气。从她17岁结婚后,在某些方面来说她一直保留着她内心的童真。夏天结束的时候,她就研究她的奥特朋书籍里东北鸟类的名称并且全神贯注,还会列出她看到过的种类。她具有明显的使孩子们感到安全的气质,相信孩子眼中看到的世界。学生都信任她,即使他们因为做了一些被她认为不当做的事被送去她的办公室,接受她的疑问。

She spent hours with my brothers and me, making gingerbread houses or sledding or cutting out paper snowflakes. She taught us all to make apple pie, and read “The Black Stallion” out loud to us at night—though she also had a habit of promising to read a book out loud and then giving up partway through. The boxes of memorabilia she kept for each of us were always disorganized. One of the things I found there after she died was a card I had made for her birthday when I was about six. It began:

TO MOM
I LOVE YOU.
I LOVE THE STORIES
YOU MAKE WITH ME.

她花了很多时间和我和哥哥在一起,做姜饼屋,滑雪橇还有剪纸雪花。她教我们做苹果派,还会在晚上大声读 “黑神驹”给我们听——尽管她有在答应了要大声读完一整本书后总是半途放弃的习惯。这个她保存着关于我们的重大事件的盒子里总是被翻的杂乱。她死后我找到其中一件东西,那是我六岁那年送给她的生日卡片。上面写着:
致妈妈
我爱你
我爱你讲述的
所有故事

On a hazy October morning, after months of chemotherapy, my mother and I drove down to New York-Presbyterian Hospital in the near-dark, listening to traffic reports like all the other commuters. The cancer had spread to her lungs and her liver. This wasn’t likely to be a story that ended well. But, in a last-ditch effort, we had enrolled her in an experimental treatment program. I thought, darkly, that the creeping cars around us were like souls wandering in Hades. My mother was quiet. I worried that she resented my fussing about what she was eating and whether my father had given her the right pain medication.

在一个雾蒙蒙的十月上午,结束多月的化疗后,傍晚时我和母亲开车去纽约长老教会医院,一边和所有搭乘公车的乘客一样听着交通报道。癌细胞当时已经扩散到了她的肺和肝,这不像是一个有好结局的故事。但是,在义无反顾的努力下,我们让她参加了一个实验性的治疗项目。我思考着,暗沉沉的天色,周围缓慢移动的车流就像地狱中游荡着的幽灵包围着我们。我的母亲保持着安静。我很担心她会对我过分关心她的饮食而感到不满,还担心我的父亲是否给她拿对了止痛药。

I had often picked my mother up after her chemo treatments, but I had never seen one in progress. It is a brisk business. Needles and bags are efficiently hustled into place, as if it were not poison that is about to be put in the body. The nurses were funny and frank, though they’d just met my mother. As the drugs slid up the IV into her arm, we watched stolid barges plug up the Hudson like islands, the water silver in the haze. I read poems, and she asked me about poetry.

我经常接送她去进行化疗,但我从没有见过任何一个工作人员,这是使人感到轻松的一件事。针和药水袋已经有效的固定好,好像只要没有阻碍就将进入身体。护士们都很有趣坦白,尽管她们和我母亲还是第一次见面。我们冷冷看着那药水顺着静脉输液针流入她的手臂,如同驳船像小岛一样堵住了哈德森河,模糊中似乎镀上了银色。我为她朗读诗,她向我询问如何读懂诗。

“I don’t really understand it,” she said. “I never have. Do you think you could teach me to read a poem?”
I said that I could.

“我不是很理解,”她说,“我从没有读过。你认为你能教我读懂一首诗吗?”
我说我能。


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