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[转贴][双语美文] 初恋

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初 恋


  ——献给韩国[韩]黎泳株 Tigerok译

  她是我荒谬初恋的女主角。在晨曦的微光中,我醒来躺着,等待着她那近乎无声的脚步下到门厅,等待着她那蜂蜜和蜜桃混合的一种说不清的气味,来冲淡游子屋外满满的浓厚的孤寂气息。她会在门外停留片刻,换了拖鞋,然后再走下两级台阶到厨房。那刻,我的荒谬的想象中便涨满了她在门外徘徊的侧影,再真实不过的幻影,比我睁眼所见的一切更真实。每一个清晨,每一个清晨,我便那样守侯着,守侯着赤橙黄绿的光晕像云朵似地聚拢在我紧闭的双睑,那时,就似她下到门厅,从我身上走过,那些云朵突然间散开,露出了她那大大的清澈的带着腼腆睫毛的眼,蓓蕾般的双唇一抹笑意依稀可见,我的双眼仍紧闭着,向着裸露着的白炽灯,我张开双臂,大声说出我的爱我的痛苦:你不知我有多爱你,你的倩影将是我脑中持续一生的兴奋点,你的名字就像一首沁入我耳的诗,仅仅想象轻触你的手,我便会轻轻地颤抖。所有这些声音都被毛毯捂住。

  而现在她正坐在我面前,不再是幻影。她正缓缓地搅拌着咖啡,那杯她刚小心地放入两块方糖的咖啡。她的动作从容不迫,十分悦目。从这间豪华旅馆休息室光线暗淡的一角渗出音乐来,是首著名的小提琴曲,曲里多有E弦音,装束完美的女侍者着品红色及蓝色的韩袍托着果味鸡尾酒在厅里缓缓地移动。岁月在她身上的糙化令我震惊。我注意到她脸上抹的粉,均匀地分布在她湿湿皱皱的肤上,闪耀着。我看着她那蓓蕾不再的唇,明白不用瞧,它们定会在白瓷杯上留下油污,而她会在认为我没看她时悄悄地将它们擦掉。当我无望地搜索着她脸上含糊的反映时,我那心爱的套服内的新衬衣都在嘲笑我,为那女孩几乎捉摸不定的影子,她的脚步声已随我到美国的新生活,且在这二十五年多的每个夜晚安慰我入眠,为我曾经每早等候的那女孩的笑容的影子,若有若无地显现在妻子苍白可爱的脸上。 忆起妻,我感到一阵突然的思乡之痛,为我从没想过的习以为常:刚出炉的面食上撤着的巴马干酪的香味、听到不费力地发出我的美国名字中两个“R”时的愉悦、早晨不加牛奶原味咖啡的魅力、妻长长的四肢及披散着的比连翘稍黑的柔发。在这儿干什么?我,这个中年正秃顶的有位美国妻子的美籍男人,这个喜欢打网球和喜欢鲜沙拉更甚于泡菜的成功医生?我问自己,为什么仍追逐那个幻影,那个本应在二十五前一个大清晨随着脚步声不再经过我的门前就要消失的幻影。这次荒唐的旅行使我懊恼而沉默不语。

  我们现已坐在汉城的高级旅馆的咖啡厅的一张光滑明亮的桌前,像一对可怜的陌生人。

  “你有孩子吗?”她啜了一小口咖啡问道。她用双手捧着咖啡杯,好象那是杯热茶,即便那杯咖啡因她不停地搅动而已变凉。我感到微温的液体滑下咽喉的不快。

  “没有,你呢?”我问,配合着她努力打破难堪的沉默。请别,我内心自语,请别对我说你的儿女已经长大成人,甚至你还来不及向他们的婴儿服道别。触着喉部不再绷紧的皮肤及同样的眼神,别对我说时光过得有多快。当你走进这间休息室,看着我坐在这间高级的西式旅馆时,你曾经留给我的形象,当我还是穷学生住在你母亲出租房时你的形象,过了四分之一世纪后,我一直期盼的,曾认为你将永远是我脑中兴奋点的形象,不复再存。

  “没有,”她答,“我第一次怀孕流产后便不能生育了。”

  她穿着两件套的夏装,我注意到其颜色正是时髦的俗艳。那天下午,在汉城的街上,我已见过许多那样着装的人:微坠的肩上托着肩垫,胸前缀着小而亮的圆扣,及膝的裙。她轻拍裙子的前摆,好似要熨平皱折似的。

  “我没有孩子。”

  我感到必须改变话题。“你的母亲好么?”我问道。

  “她几年前去世了。中风。”

  我向一位微笑的侍者示意,要了杜松子酒和香味饮料。“房子怎样?你还出租它们吗?”

  “没有,我们不得不卖了它们来还看病的费用。我现在住的地方离那很远,我已有十年没到那里去了。”

  突然,那些因各自度过的岁月形成的困扰在我们之间粉碎了。我们谈起了曾经的“房子”,好象现在还是我们的似的。我们谈起了在门旁一到春天便怒放的连翘,谈起了埋在后院的泡菜陶缸。我忆起,在路的转弯处转弯,便可达一幢老式的大房子。一棵大栗树从房后伸出来,遮盖了板石瓦房顶的一部分。穿过房子的大门,一束阳光突然闪现,晃住我的双眼,一位女孩梦幻般的形象慢慢地从阳光中显现。那个形象在我突然发烧的脑中旋转,像幻影般抖动着。她站在前院中央的水井边,白衬衫的袖子卷着,细长的脖子,一束黑色的马尾辫垂在背后,胳膊露在抽水机口撒出来的水下,湿湿的皮肤在耀眼的光线下闪闪发亮。我如何能够让自己忘掉这个形象,即使我能做到?

  “很抱歉,”她现在微笑着说,“你的房间在门厅的最后一间,就靠着厨房,我和母亲每天早上弄了那么多的噪声,烧水啦、煨汤啦、移动瓢盆啦,虽然我们尽力减少噪声。”

  “我不介意,”我说,道出了真话。

  “你记得吗……”

  “我记得,”我答道,然后从软垫椅起身。“我们走吧,”我说着,看着她仍然大大的眼睛里含着惊讶,“去那房子。”

  出租车内,她思绪万千,一语不发。而我惊讶于自己还记得房子的地址。我们找不到它,虽然我们确定是站在正确的街角。陌生!现代的砖式建筑簇立在原先散乱分布的老房子的地方,孩子们在巷子里跑来跑去,夕阳照在他们背上,他们叫喊着其他孩子的名字,这些曾经熟悉的名字引起了我的一丝共鸣:“印寿——呀!董哲——啊!”一切都已被连根拨起又填平,我们已不能找到曾经荫护房子的栗木了。我们站在路的转弯处,过去卖豆奶的小贩常将人力车停在那里,然后拿起松松地绕在脖颈上的毛巾,擦去额头上的汗水。我们盯着地面,好象要挖掘出埋葬在水泥地面下的足迹。她转身,开始走开。面对天空因暮色的逼近而流淌着的红晕,我闭上双眼,听到她那双廉价的高跟鞋敲打着水泥地面的清脆声,像那很久以前脚步声的回响。但当我惊奇地张开双眼,却看到她那裹在艳俗的外套里臃肿的腰,看到了岁月在她的体形上烙下的痕迹,看到了她短发上不自然的粗糙卷曲。我重又闭上眼,看到了曾经滋生我那荒谬的爱的房子呈现在眼前,先是连翘,然后是渐渐掘起的房子。

  后来,她带路,我们去了街边的一家小旅馆,那里浓装女人围着满是污迹的围裙,给我们上了鸡肫和一瓶韩国白酒。我点了支她递给我的烟。突然记忆便从嘴中滔滔而出。我谈起了美国,谈起离开留在脑中的形象的她后的那些年。从厨房的电波传来悲伤的老曲调,透过女歌手如泣如诉的歌声,我得出男人总是离开女人的结论。男人,男人啊,所有的男人都是一样的,啊——,啊——哈。她开始跟着唱,哭泣着。我告诉她我妻子无趣的事实,话一出口,我便感到难堪。我们俩都醉了,不仅仅因这那瓶韩国白酒。

  “当我第一次见到我的妻子,她身上的一些东西使我想起了你,”我说道。

“你对我一点都不了解,”她说道。

  坐在这里看着她的鼻孔呼出长长的羽毛状的烟雾,将她同妻子对照,想找回原先的失落,我想这多奇怪啊。

  “如果你了解我,你就不会说你的妻子使你想起了我。你知道我从来没有小产吗?当那个住在你隔壁的家伙让我怀孕并拒绝娶我时,我母亲叫我做了流产。”她直率地看着我,期望看到我惊讶。我记起了那个家伙令我厌恶的粗厚易动的大唇,惹眼的二头肌及他常自吹大学入学考试的三次落第。他靠他母亲送来的从微薄的收入中挤出的每月津贴生活,所有的寄膳者都讨厌他。她脚步声停止后不久,他突然搬出。我曾看见他们在空寂的房间里,陷在一起,像对在令人昏昏欲睡的夏天午时粘在苍蝇纸上的苍蝇,紧张地听着他们自己挣扎时的喘息。于是我明白了。

  她的幻影一直徘徊在我梦幻到奇妙的颜色的那些早晨,但不在我门旁。

  我是不是以她为模来爱妻,拒绝对妻付出超过我认为可以给脑中的形象更多的爱?我爱她那纯洁的幻影,是不是因为我从没接触她,从没允许自己真实的双手来拨开那层雾呢?我意识到自己根本不了解她,那个躲在皱纹、廉价服装和电烫头发下的她。我恨自己背叛了长久以来让自己一直记得的幻影,那光彩斑斓、迷离双眼无法分辨的、巧妙地混合的、无法想象有多少故事的幻影。二十五年后,我不知道是否还想听新的故事。《男人啊男人》。这首歌以所有的男人都是一样的具体结论结尾。她的烟灰落在她裙子的前摆,但她不想费心去将它们抖落。随之而来的沉默中,我发觉她很少言语,径自让我盯着桌子,即便那首歌曲已结束。她的黑色的睫毛覆在乌云般的双眼上,留下污渍,不再娴静,也许它们从不曾有过,但我心中的隐痛--如爱情故事的“爱”中一样无趣--令我惊讶。我被自己不再回忆感动了。

  “你不了解我,”她突然说道,好象在安慰她自己。

  “为什么你不告诉我?”我问她,睁着双眼斜躺在塑料椅上,等待着心醉的故事再一次开始。


  To Korea, a Very Short Love Story

  By Youngju Ryu ’97

  She was my first and foolish love. In the half-light of the   morning I lay awake waiting for her quiet, almost silent feet to come down the hallway, for her scent—a curious mixture of honey and peach—to part the thick air outside my room filled with the lonely smells of young men living away from home. She would pause outside my door for a moment to put on her slippers before climbing the two steps down into the kitchen, and my foolish imagination would swell with the shadowy silhouette of her lingering by my door, a phantom more real than anything I could have seen with my open eyes. Every morning, every morning, I waited like that, for the circles of azure and gold and auburn to gather like clouds inside my closed eyelids as I felt her steps down the hallway over my body, and for the clouds to burst suddenly and reveal her large and limpid eyes framed with demure lashes, the ghost of a smile on her bud-like lips. Stretching out my arms toward the naked light bulb, my eyes still closed, I would cry out love and agony, muted by my blanket—I love you more than you will ever know, your image will be a fever that will last a lifetime in my brain, your name a poem heard deep, deep inside my ears, and I will tremble with tenderness and desire fro you at a mere imagined touch of your hand, always.

  And now she was sitting in front of me, no longer a phantom, stirring slowly her cup of coffee into which she had carefully dropped two cubes of sugar the minute before, the movement of her hand deliberately and grossly delicate. Into the poorly lit corners of the plush hotel lounge seeped in music, a famous violin melody with a great deal of weeping on the E-string, as impeccably made-up waitresses in fluttering hanboks of magenta and blue floated down the aisles carrying trays of fruity cocktails. The coarseness of her age shocked me. I noticed the powder on her face, spread generously and glistening now in the damp wrinkles of her skin. I saw her no longer bud-like lips, and knew without having to look that they would leave a smear on the white porcelain of her coffee cap that she would try surreptitiously to wipe off when she thought that I was not looking. The new shirt under my favorite suit derided me as I searched her face hopelessly for some faint echo, for an almost undetectable shadow of the girl whose steps had followed me into my new life in America and lulled me to sleep every night of these twenty-five odd years, the girl whose smile I greeted in the morning on my wife’s pale and lovely face.

  And remembering my wife, I felt a sudden pang of homesickness for the things I never thought I would get accustomed to: the smell of Parmesan cheese sprinkled over freshly cooked pasta, the pleasure in hearing the double "r" of my adopted name pronounced effortlessly, the strength of full-flavored coffee taken black ("American-style" they called it here) in the morning, my wife’s long limbs downed softly with hair only slightly darker than the color of forsythias. What was I doing here, this middle-aged, balding man with American citizenship and an American wife, a successful doctor with a passion for tennis and a fondness for fresh salads rather than pickled cabbages? I asked myself why I was still chasing the ghost that should have dissipated away twenty-five years ago with the footsteps that failed to reach my door one early morning. The folly of this trip angered me and made me silent.

  We must have sat like that across the varnished table in the coffeeshop of the fanciest hotel in Seoul, miserable strangers.

  "Do you have any children?" she asked me after a very small sip from her coffee cup. She held her coffee cup with both of her hands as if it were a hot cup of tea, even though the coffee must have gone cold with all her stirring. I felt the unpleasantness of the lukewarm liquid down my throat.

  "No, but you?" I asked, meeting her effort to break the embarrassed silence. Please don’t, I said to myself, please don’t tell me of your daughters and sons grown to adults even before you’ve had time to say good-bye to their baby clothes. Don’t tell me how fast saewol is, and touch the no longer firm skin of your throat with just that look in your eyes. The one you gave me when you came here into the lounge and saw me sitting here in a fancy, Western hotel that didn’t exist when I was a poor college student living in your mother’s boarding house, expecting, after a quarter of a century, for you to be what I thought you would always be—a fever in my brain.

  "No," she said. "I miscarried my first and couldn’t after."

  She wore a two-piece summer suit of gaudy color that I had noticed was in vogue. On the streets of Seoul that afternoon, I had seen many wearing suits just like that: slightly fluted shoulders hiding the shoulder pads, beady buttons down the front, and a skirt just above the knees. She patted the front of her dress as if to iron out any wrinkles.

  "I don’t have any children."

  I felt that I ought to change the subject. "And your mother?" I asked.

  "She passed away years ago. Stroke."

  I motioned to a smiling waitress and ordered a gin and tonic. "What about the house? Do you still keep boarders?"

  "No, we had to sell it to pay the hospital bills. I live far away now. I haven’t been back to the house in ten years."

  Then all of a sudden, the awkwardness of the years spent living separate lives broke between us, and we talked of the "house" as if it had been, was still, ours. We talked of the forsythias blooming by the gates in the spring and the clay jars of kimchi buried in the backyard. I remember turning at the curve of the road, and arriving at the large, old-fashioned house with its slated roof and a huge chestnut tree rising up from behind it to cover parts of the roof. Entering through the gate, my eyes had been blinded by the sudden burst of sunlight until a dreamy image of a girl by the water pump in the middle of the front yard emerged slowly out of the sun, rotating around my suddenly feverish head and trembling like a mirage. The sleeves of her white shirt rolled up, a slender neck, black hair braided down her back in a simple plait, arms under the water falling from the mouth of the pump, glistening with the prismatic layering of light on wet skin. How could I let myself forget that image, even if I could?

  "I felt sorry for you," she said, smiling now. "Your room was the last one on the hallway and next to the kitchen; mother and I made so much noise in the early mornings, the water, soups simmering, pots and pans clanging even though we tried to be quiet."

  "I didn’t mind," I said, speaking the truth.

  "Do you remember…"

  "I remember," I answered her and got up from the cushioned seat. "Let’s go," I said, watching her still large eyes grow with surprise, "to the house."

  In the cab, too busy with memory, she didn’t speak a word, but I surprised myself by remembering the address of the house. We couldn’t find it, even though we were sure we were at the right street corner. Unfamiliar, modern brick buildings were clustered where the old house had once been sprawled out, and children ran in the alleyway with the twilight on their backs, shouting once familiar names of other children that resonated weakly in my brain, "Insu-ya! Dongchul-a!" Everything had been uprooted and paved over; we couldn’t even find the chestnut tree that used to shade the house. We stood at the curve of the road where the bean-curd vendor used to rest his rickshaw and wipe off the sweat from his forehead with the towel looped around his neck. We stared together at the ground as if to trace the footprint buried under the cement. She turned around and started walking away, and I closed my eyes to the sky bleeding red with the approaching night and heard in the harsh click of her cheap high heels on the cement, an echo of her footsteps from long ago. But opening my eyes cautiously, I saw her thick waist wrapped in a gaudy suit, the age that had settled on her figure, the unnatural ahjooma curls of her short hair. I closed my eyes again and saw the house where I had once foolishly loved rise up before me, resurrecting itself by degrees, the forsythias first.

  Afterwards, she led the way. We went to a small street-side restaurant where a thick-set woman with a generously stained apron served us chicken gizzards with a bottle of soju. I lit the cigarette she held out to me. Suddenly becoming voluble, with memories I never knew I had loosening in my mouth, I talked of America and the years that separated me now from that image in my brain. The radio from the kitchen spilled out old melodies with pathetic lyrics; through the weeping voice of the female singer, I made out a verse about men always leaving women. Namja-neun, namja-neun da, moduga geurukye da, ah-aaa, aaaah-a. She started singing along, crying. I told her the banal truths about my wife that embarrassed me as soon as the words were out of my mouth. Both of us were drunk on something more than the bottle of soju.

  "When I first met my wife, something about her reminded me of you," I said.

  "You don’t know anything about me," she said.

  I thought how strange it was to sit here and watch her nostrils breathe out long plumes of coupling smoke from her cigarette, to compare her to my wife and find the original lacking.

  "If you knew anything about me, you couldn’t say that your wife reminds you of me. Do you know that I never miscarried? My mother made me get an abortion when the guy who lived in the room next to yours got me pregnant and refused to marry me. " She looked at me flatly, expecting surprise. I remembered his thick and mobi
le underlip that repelled me, the showy strength of his biceps, and how he used to brag about failing the college entrance exam three times. He had lived on the monthly allowance his mother sent him out of her own small income, and all the boarders hated him. He had moved out suddenly, sometime after her footsteps stopped.
  I saw them together in the empty and silent house, trapped like a pair of flies on flypaper one of those drowsy summer afternoons, listening breathlessly to the sounds of their own labored breathing. And then I understood.

  The shadow of her silhouette had lingered all those mornings when I dreamed in fantastic colors, but not by my door.

  Did I model my love for my wife after her, refusing to give more than what I thought I could give to the image in my brain? Was she the pure phantom I loved because I would never touch her, never allow my all too real hands to dissipate the mist? I realized I knew nothing about her at all, that underneath the wrinkles and cheap clothes and permed hair that I hated for betraying the image I made myself remember long ago, were colors of a different kind, mixed in combinations too subtle for my dream-dazed eyes, stories I couldn’t imagine. And after twenty-five years, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to hear new stories. Namja-neun da geurae. The song ended with a specious conclusion that all men are the same. The ashes from her cigarette fell onto the lap of her dress, but she didn’t bother to shake them off. In the silence that followed, I could see that she was ashamed of the wor
  ds that remained bare for me to see on the table even though the song was now over. Her darkened lashes fell over her cloudy eyes, leaving smudges. They were no longer demure and I realized that perhaps they never were, but the dull ache in my heart—as banal as the word "love" in a love story—surprised me. I was moved by
what I did not remember.

  "You don’t know anything about me," she said suddenly, as if to assure herself.

  "Why don’t you tell me?" I asked her, reclining in the plastic chair with my eyes open, waiting for the enchantment to begin, once again.
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