英语阅读 学英语,练听力,上听力课堂! 注册 登录
> 轻松阅读 > 经典学吧 >  内容







  But one afternoon—this was in March, shortly before he turned fourteen—he had turned the corner and had seen the counselor, a man named Rodger who was the cruelest, the most demanding, the most vicious of them all, and he had stopped. For the first time in a long time, something in him resisted, and instead of continuing toward Rodger, he had crept backward down the hallway, and then, once he was certain he was safely out of sight, he had run.


  He hadn’t prepared for this, he had no plan, but some hidden, fiery part of him had, it seemed, been making observations as the rest of his mind sat cocooned in its thick, cottony slumber, and he found himself running toward the science lab, which was being renovated, and then under a curtain of blue plastic tarp that shielded one exposed side of the building, and then worming into the eighteen inches of space that separated the decaying interior wall from the new cement exterior that they were building around it. There was just enough room for him to wedge himself in, and he burrowed himself as deep into the space as he could, carefully working himself into a horizontal position, making sure his feet weren’t visible.


  As he lay there, he tried to decide what he could do next. Rodger would wait for him and then, when he didn’t appear, they would eventually look for him. But if he could last here for the night, if he could wait until everything was silent around him, then he could escape. This was as far as he could think, although he was cognizant enough to realize that his chances were poor: he had no food, no money, and although it was only five in the afternoon, it was already very cold. He could feel his back and legs and palms, all the parts pressed against the stone, numbing themselves, could feel his nerves turning to thousands of pinpricks. But he could also feel, for the first time in months, his mind coming alert, could feel, for the first time in years, the giddy thrill of being able to make a decision, however poor or ill-conceived or unlikely. Suddenly, the pinpricks felt like not a punishment but a celebration, like hundreds of miniature fireworks exploding within him and for him, as if his body were reminding him of who he was and of what he still owned: himself.


  He lasted two hours before the security guard’s dog found him and he was dragged out by his feet, his palms scraping against the cement blocks he clung to even then, by this time so cold that he tripped as he walked, that his fingers were too iced to open the car door, and as soon as he was inside, Rodger had turned around and hit him in the face, and the blood from his nose was thick and hot and reassuring and the taste of it on his lips oddly nourishing, like soup, as if his body were something miraculous and self-healing, determined to save itself.


  That evening they had taken him to the barn, where they sometimes took him at night, and beat him so badly that he had blacked out almost immediately after it had begun. He had been hospitalized that night, and then again a few weeks later, when the wounds had gotten infected. For those weeks, he had been left alone, and although they had been told at the hospital that he was a delinquent, that he was troubled, that he was a problem and a liar, the nurses were kind to him: there was one, an older woman, who had sat by his bed and held a glass of apple juice with a straw in it so he could sip from it without lifting his head (he’d had to lie on his side so they could clean his back and drain the wounds).


  “I don’t care what you did,” she told him one night, after she had changed his bandages. “No one deserves this. Do you hear me, young man?”


  Then help me, he wanted to say. Please help me. But he didn’t. He was too ashamed.


  She sat next to him again and put her hand on his forehead. “Try to behave yourself, all right?” she had said, but her voice had been gentle. “I don’t want to see you back here.”


  Help me, he wanted to say again, as she left the room. Please. Please. But he couldn’t. He never saw her again.


  Later, as an adult, he would wonder if he had invented this nurse, if he had conjured her out of desperation, a simulacrum of kindness that was almost as good as the real thing. He would argue with himself: If she had existed, truly existed, wouldn’t she have told someone about him? Wouldn’t someone have been sent to help him? But his memories from this period were something slightly blur-edged and unreliable, and as the years went by, he was to come to realize that he was, always, trying to make his life, his childhood, into something more acceptable, something more normal. He would startle himself from a dream about the counselors, and would try to comfort himself: There were only two of them who used you, he would tell himself. Maybe three. The others didn’t. They weren’t all cruel to you. And then he would try, for days, to remember how many there had actually been: Was it two? Or was it three? For years, he couldn’t understand why this was so important to him, why it mattered to him so much, why he was always trying to argue against his own memories, to spend so much time debating the details of what had happened. And then he realized that it was because he thought that if he could convince himself that it was less awful than he remembered, then he could also convince himself that he was less damaged, that he was closer to healthy, than he feared he was.


  Finally he was sent back to the home, and the first time he had seen his back, he had recoiled, moving so quickly away from the bathroom mirror that he had slipped and fallen on a section of wet tile. In those initial weeks after the beating, when the scar tissue was still forming, it had made a puffed mound of flesh on his back, and at lunch he would sit alone and the older boys would whip damp pellets of napkin at it, trying to get them to ping off of it as against a target, cheering when they hit him. Until that point, he had never thought too specifically about his appearance. He knew he was ugly. He knew he was ruined. He knew he was diseased. But he had never considered himself grotesque. But now he was. There seemed to be an inevitability to this, to his life: that every year he would become worse—more disgusting, more depraved. Every year, his right to humanness diminished; every year, he became less and less of a person. But he didn’t care any longer; he couldn’t allow himself to.


  It was difficult to live without caring, however, and he found himself curiously unable to forget Brother Luke’s promise, that when he was sixteen, his old life would stop and his new life would begin. He knew, he did, that Brother Luke had been lying, but he couldn’t stop thinking about it. Sixteen, he would think to himself at night. Sixteen. When I am sixteen, this will end.


  He had asked Brother Luke, once, what their life would be like after he turned sixteen. “You’ll go to college,” Luke had said, immediately, and he had thrilled to this. He had asked where he would go, and Luke had named the college he had attended as well (although when he had gotten to that college after all, he had looked up Brother Luke—Edgar Wilmot—and had realized there was no record of him having ever attended the school, and he had been relieved, relieved to not have something in common with the brother, although it was he who had let him imagine that he might someday be there). “I’ll move to Boston, too,” Luke said. “And we’ll be married, so we’ll live in an apartment off campus.” Sometimes they discussed this: the courses he would take, the things Brother Luke had done when he was at college, the places they would travel to after he graduated. “Maybe we’ll have a son together one day,” Luke said once, and he had stiffened, for he knew without Luke saying so that Luke would do to this phantom son of theirs what had been done to him, and he remembered thinking that that would never happen, that he would never let this ghost child, this child who didn’t exist, ever exist, that he would never let another child be around Luke. He remembered thinking that he would protect this son of theirs, and for a brief, awful moment, he wished he would never turn sixteen at all, because he knew that once he did, Luke would need someone else, and that he couldn’t let that happen.


  But now Luke was dead. The phantom child was safe. He could safely turn sixteen. He could turn sixteen and be safe.


  The months passed. His back healed. Now a security guard waited for him after his classes and walked him to the parking lot to wait for the counselor on duty. One day at the end of the fall semester, his math professor talked to him after class had ended: Had he thought about college yet? He could help him; he could help him get there—he could go somewhere excellent, somewhere top-flight. And oh, he wanted to go, he wanted to get away, he wanted to go to college. He was tugged, in those days, between trying to resign himself to the fact that his life would forever more be what it was, and the hope, small and stupid and stubborn as it was, that it could be something else. The balance—between resignation and hope—shifted by the day, by the hour, sometimes by the minute. He was always, always trying to decide how he should be—if his thoughts should be of acceptance or of escape. In that moment he had looked at his professor, but as he was about to answer—Yes; yes, help me—something stopped him. The professor had always been kind to him, but wasn’t there something about that kindness that made him resemble Brother Luke? What if the professor’s offer of help cost him? He argued with himself as the professor waited for his answer. One more time won’t hurt you, said the desperate part of him, the part that wanted to leave, the part that was counting every day until sixteen, the part the other part of him jeered at. It’s one more time. He’s another client. Now is not the time to start getting proud.


  But in the end, he had ignored that voice—he was so tired, he was so sore, he was so exhausted from being disappointed—and had shaken his head. “College isn’t for me,” he told the professor, his voice thin from the strain of lying. “Thank you. But I don’t need your help.”


  “I think you’re making a big mistake, Jude,” said his professor, after a silence. “Promise me you’ll reconsider?” and he had reached out and touched his arm, and he had jerked away, and the professor had looked at him, strangely, and he had turned and fled the room, the hallway blurring into planes of beige.


  That night he was taken to the barn. The barn was no longer a working barn, but a place to store the shop class’s and the auto repair class’s projects—in the stalls were half-assembled carburetors, and hulls of half-repaired trucks, and half-sanded rocking chairs that the home sold for money. He was in the stall with the rocking chairs, and as one of the counselors seesawed into him, he left himself and flew above the stalls, to the rafters of the barn, where he paused, looking at the scene below him, the machinery and furniture like alien sculpture, the floor dusty with dirt and the stray pieces of hay, reminders of the barn’s original life that they never seemed able to fully erase, at the two people making a strange eight-legged creature, one silent, one noisy and grunting and thrusting and alive. And then he was flying out of the round window cut high into the wall, and over the home, over its fields that were so beautiful and green and yellow with wild mustard in the summer, and now, in December, were still beautiful in their own way, a shimmering expanse of lunar white, the snow so fresh and new that no one had yet trampled it. He flew above this all, and across landscapes he had read about but had never seen, across mountains so clean that they made him feel clean just to contemplate them, over lakes as big as oceans, until he was floating above Boston, and circling down and down to that series of buildings that trimmed the side of the river, an expansive ring of structures punctuated by squares of green, where he would go and be remade, and where his life would begin, where he could pretend that everything that had come before had been someone else’s life, or a series of mistakes, never to be discussed, never to be examined.


  When he came back to himself, the counselor was on top of him, asleep. His name was Colin, and he was often drunk, as he was tonight, his hot yeasty breath puffing against his face. He was naked; Colin was wearing a sweater but nothing else, and for a while he lay there under Colin’s weight, breathing too, waiting for him to wake so he could be returned to his bedroom and cut himself.


  And then, unthinkingly, almost as if he was a marionette, his limbs moving without thought, he was wriggling out from beneath Colin, quiet and quick, and hurrying his clothes back on, and then, again before he knew it, grabbing Colin’s puffed coat from the hook on the inside of the stall and shrugging it on. Colin was much larger than he was, fatter and more muscular, but he was almost as tall, and it was less wieldy than it looked. And then he was grabbing Colin’s jeans from the ground, and snatching out his wallet, and then the money within it—he didn’t count how much it was, but he could tell by how thin a sheaf it was that it wasn’t much—and shoving that into his own jeans pocket, and then he was running. He had always been a good runner, swift and silent and certain—watching him at the track, Brother Luke had always said he must be part Mohican—and now he ran out of the barn, its doors open to the sparkling, hushed night, looking about him as he left, and then, seeing no one, toward the field behind the home’s dormitory.


内容来自 听力课堂网:/show-7836-468805-1.html

疯狂英语 英语语法 新概念英语 走遍美国 四级听力 英语音标 英语入门 发音 美语 四级 新东方 七年级 赖世雄 zero是什么意思

  • 频道推荐
  • |
  • 全站推荐
  • 广播听力
  • |
  • 推荐下载
  • 网站推荐