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      英語世界
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      The Last Chapter
      發布時間:2017年08月01日     鄧志輝 譯  
      來源: 英語世界
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      The Last Chapter

      末章


      Their marriage was no fairy tale.

      他們的婚姻絕非童話。


      By Elizabeth Livingston

      文/伊麗莎白·利文斯頓


      “I love you, Bob.” 


      “我愛你,鮑勃?!?


      “I love you, too, Nancy.” 


      “我也愛你,南希?!?


      It was 2a.m. and I was hearing my parents’ voices through the thin wall separating my bedroom from theirs. Their loving reassurances were sweet, touching – and surprising.


      凌晨2點,我聽著父母的聲音從一墻之隔的他們的臥室里傳過來。他們之間愛的承諾甜蜜而觸人心弦——卻也頗有些令人意外。


      My parents married on September 14, 1940, after a brief courtship. She was nearing 30 and knew it was time to start a family. The handsome, well-educated man who came by the office where she worked looked like a good bet. He was captivated by her figure, her blue eyes. The romance didn’t last long.


      我父母于1940年9月14日結婚,之前只經歷了短暫的戀愛。當時她年近30,深感已到了成家的時候,而恰好出現在她辦公室的這位男士長相英俊,又受過良好教育,看上去是個很不錯的選擇;他則傾心于她曼妙的身姿和湛藍的雙眸。只是這份浪漫并未持久。


      Seeds of difference sprouted[1] almost immediately. She liked to travel; he hated the thought. He loved golf; she did not. He was a Republican, she an ardent[2] Democrat. They fought at the bridge table, at the dinner table, over money, over the perceived failings[3] of their respective in-laws. To make matters worse, they owned a business together, and the everyday frustrations of life at the office came to roost[4] at home.


      分歧的種子幾乎立刻就萌芽了。她熱愛旅行,他卻想到旅行就厭煩;他愛打高爾夫,她卻對高爾夫毫無熱情;他是共和黨人,她卻是熱心的民主黨擁躉。他們開始爭吵:打橋牌時吵,用餐時吵,為錢吵,為對方家人令人失望而吵。更糟糕的是,他倆還共同經營一家公司,所以工作中的種種煩惱都留待回家后統一發作了。


      [1] sprout出現。

       

      [2] ardent熱烈的;殷切的。

       

      [3] failing缺點,短處。

       

      [4] roost棲息;安歇。


      There was a hope that they would change once they retired, and the furious winds did calm somewhat, but what remained steeled[5] itself into bright, hard bitterness. “I always thought we’d...” my mother would begin, before launching into a precise listing of my father’s faults. The litany[6] was recited so often, I can reel it off[7] by heart today. As he listened, my father would mutter angry threats and curses. It was a miserable duet[8].


      我們曾期望他們退休后會發生改變。的確——退休后,兩人間的狂風暴雨有所平息,然而未曾平息的那一點余留卻被淬煉成尖銳辛酸的苦怨。母親總是會這樣開頭:“我一直以為咱們會……”,然后逐條列舉父親的過失。她喋喋不休的次數實在太多,時至今日我還能一口氣重復出她的那些話。父親聽她嘮叨時會咕噥著發出憤怒的威脅和咒罵,那真是一場折磨人的二重奏。


      [5] steel使冷酷無情。

       

      [6] litany冗長而枯燥的陳述。

       

      [7] reel off流暢地講;一口氣說。

       

      [8] duet二重奏;二重唱。


      It wasn’t the happiest marriage, but as their 60th anniversary approached, my sister and I decided to throw a party. Sixty years was a long time, after all; why not try to make the best of things? We’d provide the cake, the balloons, the toasts, and they’d abide by one rule: no fighting.


      雖然父母的婚姻算不上最美滿,但在他們結婚60周年紀念日來臨之際,我和妹妹決定舉辦一個慶賀聚會。畢竟,60年可不算短,何不接受現狀,好好珍惜呢?我們會準備好蛋糕、氣球、致辭,他們只要遵守一條規則就行:不準吵架。

      The truce[9] was honored. We had a wonderful day. In hindsight it was an important celebration, because soon after, things began to change for my parents. As debilitating[10] dementia[11] settled in, their marriage was about the only thing they wouldn’t lose.


      他們做到了。當天大家過得非常開心?;叵肫饋?,那次慶祝意義重大,因為之后不久,父母親的情況開始發生變化:他們患了老年癡呆癥,隨著癥狀日益嚴重,婚姻關系幾乎成了唯一一件他們忘不掉的事。


      [9] truce停戰;休戰。

       

      [10] debilitating使衰弱的。

       

      [11] dementia癡呆。


      It began when their memories started to fade. Added to the frequent house-wide hunts for glasses and car keys were the groceries left behind on the counter, notices of bills left unpaid. Soon my parents couldn’t remember names of friends, then of their grandchildren. Finally they didn’t remember that they had grandchildren.


      初期時,他們的癥狀表現為記憶逐漸衰退。先是頻繁地滿屋子找眼鏡、找車鑰匙,然后是買東西忘拿、賬單忘付;很快他們從記不得朋友的名字發展到記不得孫輩的名字;最后他們根本記不起自己有過孫子女。


      These crises would have at one time set them at each other’s throats, but now they acted as a team, helping each other with searches, consoling each other with “Everyone does that” or “It’s nothing; you’re just tired.” They found new roles – bolstering[12] each other against the fear of loss.


      若在以前,這類事早會讓他倆對彼此怒不可遏,現在兩人卻仿佛一個團隊:互相幫著找東西,相互安慰說“大家都這樣”“沒事兒,你只是有點累”。他們進入了新的角色,即:互相支持,共同對抗記憶漸失所帶來的恐懼之心。


      [12] bolster支持。


      Financial control was the next thing to go. For all of their marriage, my parents stubbornly kept separate accounts. Sharing being unthinkable, they’d devised financial arrangements so elaborate they could trigger[13] war at any time. He, for example, was to pay for everything outside the house, she for whatever went on inside. The whopays dilemma was so complex for one trip that they finally gave up traveling entirely.


      接下來,他們失去了財務管理能力。在此之前,父母一直固執地堅持各管各的錢。對他們而言,共享絕無可能,因此兩人制定了一系列財務處理條例,太過精細繁瑣,幾乎隨時可能引發一場戰爭。例如,條例規定父親應負責家以外的一切開支,母親則負責所有家內開銷,結果,一旦外出旅行,“究竟該誰付什么賬”的問題就變得極其復雜,后來他們只好徹底放棄了旅行。


      [13] trigger引起。


      I took over the books. Now no one knew how things got paid; no one saw how the columns that spelled their fortunes compared. Next I hired a housekeeper. Cooking and cleaning, chores my mother had long complained about, were suddenly gone. Finally – on doctors’ orders – we cleared the house of alcohol, the fuel that turned more than one quarrel into a raging fire.


      于是由我接過了賬本?,F在他倆沒人了解家里賬單如何支付,沒人見過各自名下賬目有何變化。接著我雇了一個管家,負責做飯和清掃,這些是母親多年來一直抱怨不已的家務瑣事,現在一下子都不再需要她操心了。再后來,我們遵醫囑清理了家中所有藏酒——這東西曾不止一次火上澆油,將小爭小吵升級為怒火萬丈。


      You could say my parents’ lives had been whittled away[14], that they could no longer engage in the business of living. But at the same time, something that had been buried deep was coming up and taking shape. I saw it when my father came home after a brief hospital stay.


      你當然不妨說,我父母已然生命質量不再,已無力繼續經營生活之道。但與此同時,以前被深埋于生活表象之下的某樣東西正漸漸浮現和顯形——對此我曾親眼目睹,當時父親經過一次短暫的住院治療,剛剛從醫院返回家中。


      [14] whittle away逐漸削減。


      We’d tried to explain my father’s absence to my mother, but because of her memory, she could not keep it in her head why he had disappeared. She asked again and again where he was, and again and again we told her. And each day her anxiety grew.


      在那之前我們一直努力向母親說明父親不在家的原因,但是她衰退的記憶使她無法記住這一點,所以她一遍又一遍地反復詢問他在哪,我們則一遍又一遍地向她解釋,可她的焦慮還是與日俱增。


      When I finally brought him home, we opened the front door to see my mother sitting on the sofa. As he stepped in the room, she rose with a cry. I stayed back as he slowly walked toward her and she toward him. As they approached each other on legs rickety[15] with age, her hands fluttered over his face. “Oh, there you are,” she said. “There you are.”


      到我終于接父親出院回家的那天,我們打開前門,看見母親正坐在沙發上。父親走進屋里,母親驚呼著站了起來。我退到一邊,看著父親緩緩地向她走過去,她也向他迎過來;我看著他們邁著因年邁所致的蹣跚步履走近對方,母親伸手摩挲父親的臉龐,不住地說:“哦,你在這兒,你在這兒??!”


      [15] rickety不結實的;要散架的。


      I don’t doubt that if my mother and father magically regained their old vigor, they’d be back fighting. But I now see that something came of all those years of shared days – days of sitting at the same table, waking to the same sun, working and raising children together. Even the very fury they lavished on each other was a brick in this unseen creation, a structure that reveals itself increasingly as the world around them falls apart.


      我完全相信,倘若我父母能神奇地重獲舊日活力,他們一定還會像當初一樣吵架。但我現在明白,他們曾共同度過的歲月——?一起坐在同一張桌邊、醒來看見同一片朝陽、一起工作、一起撫養子女的那些歲月——已經孕育出某樣東西。即便是互相之間拋灑的怨憤也是在為這個看不見的構造添磚加瓦。周遭世界在他們的感知中日漸支離破碎時,這一結構也日漸清晰地自我呈現。


      In the early morning I once again heard the voices through the wall. 


      清晨的時候,我再次聽到墻壁那頭傳來聲音:


      “Where are we?” my father asked. 


      “我們這是在哪?”父親問。


      “I don’t know,” my mother replied softly.


      “我也不知道?!蹦赣H輕柔地回答。


      How lucky they are, I thought, to have each other.


      我心里說,他們能這樣彼此相伴,是何等幸運??!


      (譯者曾獲第五屆“《英語世界》杯”翻譯大賽一等獎)

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