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《渺小一生》:成年后,他是个瘸腿的成人

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2020年07月03日

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  It was half a mile from the dormitory to the road, and although he would normally have been in pain after what happened in the barn, that night he felt no pain, only elation, a sense of hyper-wakefulness that seemed to have been conjured particularly for this night, for this adventure. At the edge of the property he dropped to the ground and rolled carefully under the barbed wire, wrapping Colin’s jacket sleeves around his hands and then holding the coils of wire above him so he could scoot beneath them. Once he was safely free, his elation only intensified, and he ran and ran in the direction he knew was east, toward Boston, away from the home, from the West, from everything. He knew he would eventually have to leave this road, which was narrow and mostly dirt, and move toward the highway, where he would be more exposed but also more anonymous, and he moved quickly down the hill that led toward the black dense woods that separated the road from the interstate. Running on grass was more difficult, but he did so anyway, keeping close to the edge of the forest so that if a car passed, he could duck within it and hide behind a tree.

从宿舍到公路大约有半英里路。通常在谷仓里发生的事情之后,他都会很痛,但那一夜他没有感觉到痛,只有欢欣和一种高度的警觉,似乎特别为这一夜、这场冒险升起。来到田野边缘,他蹲下去,小心翼翼地凑近带刺铁丝的底部,用柯林的大衣袖子包住双手,抓起那一圈圈铁丝网举高,让自己钻过去。一旦安全地出去,他的欢欣之感更强烈了。他跑了又跑,朝向他知道是东边的方向,朝向波士顿,远离少年之家,远离西部,远离一切。他知道自己早晚得离开这条大部分是泥土的狭窄小路,转向高速公路,在那里他比较容易被人看见,但也比较不显眼。于是他匆忙走下山丘,进入小路和州际公路之间那片浓密的黑色树林。在草地上跑比较困难,但他还是照跑不误,尽量贴着树林边缘,这样如果有汽车经过,他就可以蹲低身子,躲在树后头。

  As an adult, as a crippled adult, and then as a crippled adult who was truly crippled, as someone who could no longer even walk, as someone for whom running was a magic trick, as impossible as flying, he would look back on that night with awe: how fleet he had been, how fast, how tireless, how lucky. He would wonder how long he had run that night—at least two hours, he thought, maybe three—although at the time he hadn’t thought about that at all, only that he needed to get as far as he could from the home. The sun began to appear in the sky, and he ran into the woods, which were the source of many of the younger boys’ fears, and which were so crowded and lightless that even he was frightened, and he was not frightened in general by nature, but he had gone as deep into them as he could, both because he had to go through the woods to reach the interstate and because he knew that the deeper he hid within them, the less likely he was to be discovered, and finally he had chosen a large tree, one of the largest, as if its size offered some promise of reassurance, as if it would guard and protect him, and had tucked himself between its roots and slept.

成年后,他是个瘸腿的成人,一度瘸得很严重,有时甚至连路都没办法走,对他而言,跑步是一种魔法,就跟飞行一样不可能,此时他会充满敬畏地回顾那一夜:他曾经跑得多么快,他是多么灵活、多么不知疲倦、多么幸运。他很好奇那一夜他到底跑了多远(至少两小时,他心想,或许三小时)。当时他根本没去想这些,只想着离少年之家越远越好。太阳升起,他跑进树林,很多年纪较小的院童都很怕这里,里面浓密、黑暗无光,就连通常不怕大自然的他都会怕。但是那天他尽量深入那片森林,一来他得穿过森林到州际公路,二来是他知道自己越深入就越不可能被发现。走到最后,他终于挑了一棵大树,仿佛那巨大的树身可以提供安心的保证,守着他、保护他,他就缩在树根之间的空隙里睡着了。

  When he woke it was dark again, although whether it was late afternoon or late evening or early morning he wasn’t certain. He began moving his way through the trees again, humming to comfort himself and to announce himself to whatever might be waiting for him, to show them he was unafraid, and by the time he had been spat out by the woods on the other side, it was still dark, so he knew it was in fact nighttime, and he had slept all day, and that knowledge made him feel stronger and more energetic. Sleep is more important than food, he remonstrated himself, because he was very hungry, and then to his legs: Move. And he did, running again uphill toward the interstate.

他醒来时,天又黑了,但他不确定是傍晚过后、深夜还是凌晨。他又开始穿过树林,一边哼着歌安抚自己,同时也向任何可能等着他的东西宣示,让它们知道他不害怕。等到他从树林另一头走出来,天还是黑的,于是他知道这时是夜里,他睡掉了一整个白天,这一点让他觉得更强壮、更充满活力。睡眠比食物更重要,他告诉自己,因为他非常饿,接着他告诉两条腿:快跑。他跑了起来,朝上坡的州际公路跑去。

  He had realized at some point in the forest that there was only one way he would be able to get to Boston, and so he stood by the side of the road, and when the first truck stopped for him and he climbed aboard, he knew what he would have to do when the truck stopped, and he did it. He did it again and again and again; sometimes the drivers gave him food or money, and sometimes they didn’t. They all had little nests they had made for themselves in the trailers of their trucks, and they lay there, and sometimes after it was over, they would drive him a little farther, and he would sleep, the world moving beneath him in a perpetual earthquake. At filling stations he would buy things to eat and would wait around, and eventually someone would choose him—someone always did—and he would climb into the truck.

在森林中,他领悟到去波士顿只有一个办法,于是他站在路边,碰到第一辆停下的卡车就爬上去,卡车停下时他知道自己必须做什么,所以就做了。他做了一次又一次;有时那些卡车司机会给他食物或钱,有时不会。他们都会在卡车后头的拖车里为自己布置一个小窝,有时完事后,他们会继续载着他往前。他就会睡觉,整个世界在他下方摇晃,像是永远在地震。到了加油站,他会买东西吃,然后等候,最后会有人挑上他,总会有的。于是他就会爬上卡车。

  “Where’re you headed?” they would ask him.

“你要去哪里?”他们会问他。

  “Boston,” he would say. “My uncle’s there.”

“波士顿,”他会说,“我叔叔家在那里。”

  Sometimes he felt the shame of what he was doing so intensely he wanted to vomit: he knew he would never be able to claim to himself that he had been coerced; he’d had sex with these men freely, he had let them do whatever they wanted, he had performed enthusiastically and well. And sometimes he was unsentimental: he was doing what he had to do. There was no other way. This was his skill, his one great skill, and he was using it to get somewhere better. He was using himself to save himself.

有时他对自己做的事情羞愧到简直想吐。他知道自己永远不能自称是被强迫的;他跟这些人免费性交,他让他们做他们想做的事情,他执行得热诚而出色。而且有时他不会伤感,他在做他必须做的。没有别的办法。这是他的技能,他很厉害的技能,他在利用这个技能去更好的地方。他在利用自己拯救自己。

  Sometimes the men would want him for longer and they would get a motel room, and he would imagine Brother Luke waiting in the bathroom for him. Sometimes they would talk to him—I have a son your age, they’d say; I have a daughter your age—and he would lie there and listen. Sometimes they would watch television until they were ready to go again. Some of them were cruel to him; some of them made him fear he would be killed, or hurt so badly he wouldn’t be able to escape, and in those moments he would be terrified, and he would wish, desperately, for Brother Luke, for the monastery, for the nurse who had been so kind to him. But most of them were neither cruel nor kind. They were clients, and he was giving them what they wanted.

有时那些男人会希望他陪他们久一点,于是带他去汽车旅馆,他会想象卢克修士为了他等在浴室里。有时他们会跟他讲话(他们会说,我有个儿子跟你一样大,我有个女儿跟你一样大),他躺在那里听着。有时他们会看电视,直到他们准备好再来一次。有些人对他很残酷;有些人让他害怕自己会被杀,或者被伤得很严重而无法逃跑。在那些时刻,他会吓得半死,怀念卢克修士、修道院,还有那个曾经对他很仁慈的护士。但他们大部分既不残酷也不仁慈。他们是顾客,他只是把他们想要的给他们。

  Years later, when he was able to review these weeks more objectively, he would be dumbstruck by how stupid he had been, by how small his oculus: Why hadn’t he simply escaped? Why hadn’t he taken the money he had earned and bought a bus ticket? He would try and try to remember how much he had earned, and although he knew it hadn’t been much, he thought that it might have been enough for a ticket somewhere, anywhere, even if not Boston. But then, it simply hadn’t occurred to him. It was as if the entire store of resourcefulness he had possessed, every piece of courage, had been spent on his flight from the home, and once on his own, he had simply let his life be dictated to him by others, following one man after the next, the way he had been taught to do. And of all the ways in which he changed himself as an adult, it would be this, this idea that he could create at least some part of his own future, that would be the most difficult lesson to learn, as well as the most rewarding.

几年后,当他有办法更客观地回顾这几个星期时,他会惊讶于自己当时有多愚蠢、多么目光如豆:他为什么不逃走就好?为什么他不拿赚到的钱买张巴士车票?他会一再设法回忆他当时赚了多少钱。他知道并不多,但很可能够买一张到哪里的车票,哪里都好,不是波士顿也没关系。但当时,他就是没想到。仿佛他累积的所有应变能力、所有勇气,都在逃出少年之家时用光了。一旦只剩他自己一人,他只是让别人命令他该怎么做,跟着一个接一个的男人,就像他从小被教导的那样。他成年后改变了很多,在所有的改变之中,他发现他可以创造自己的未来、至少某些部分的未来——这个想法是最难学到的一课,但也是最值得的一课。

  Once there had been a man who had smelled so terribly and had been so sweatily large that he had almost changed his mind, but although the sex had been horrific, the man had been gentle with him afterward, had bought him a sandwich and a soda and had asked him real questions about himself and had listened carefully to his made-up answers. He had stayed with the man for two nights, and as he drove, the man had listened to bluegrass music and had sung along: he had had a lovely voice, low and clear, and he had taught him the words, and he had found himself singing along with this man, the road smooth beneath them. “God, you have a nice voice, Joey,” the man had said, and he had—how weak he was, how pathetic!—allowed himself to be warmed by this comment, had gobbled up this affection as a rat would a piece of molding bread. On the second day, the man had asked him if he wanted to stay with him; they were in Ohio, and unfortunately he wasn’t going any farther east, he was headed south now, but if he wanted to stay with him, he would be delighted, he would make sure he was taken care of. He had declined the man’s offer, and the man had nodded, as if he had expected he would, and given him a fold of money and kissed him, the first of them who had. “Good luck to you, Joey,” he said, and later, after the man had left, he had counted the money and realized it was more than he thought, it was more than he’d made in his previous ten days altogether. Later, when the next man was brutish, when he was violent and rough, he had wished he had gone with the other man: suddenly, Boston seemed less important than tenderness, than someone who would protect him and be good to him. He lamented his poor choices, how he seemed unable to appreciate the people who were actually decent to him: he thought again of Brother Luke, how Luke had never hit him or yelled at him; how he had never called him names.

中间他碰到一个男人,身上臭得要命,块头大得不得了,让他差点改变心意。虽然性交的部分很可怕,但那个男人事后却对他很温柔,买了一个三明治和一瓶汽水给他,还认真问了一些有关他的问题,仔细听着他编造的答案。他陪了那个男人两夜,那男人开车时都听蓝草音乐[4],还一边跟着唱,他的声音不错,低沉而嘹亮。他还告诉他歌词,他不自觉地跟着男人唱了起来,一路顺畅往下开。“老天,你的嗓子真好,乔伊。”那男人说,而他(他是多么软弱、多么可悲!)准许自己因为这个评语而感到温暖,大口地吞下这份关爱,就像一只老鼠大口吞咽着一块发霉的面包。第二天,那男人问他是否愿意跟着他;当时他们在俄亥俄州,很不幸没有更往东,而是往南走,如果他愿意跟着他,他会很高兴,一定会好好照顾他。他婉拒了那男人的提议,那男人点点头,好像早就料到了,然后给了他一沓钞票,吻了他,是那些男人之中第一个吻他的。“祝你好运了,乔伊。”他说。等那个男人离开后,他数了那些钱,发现比原先想的还多,比他之前十天加起来的还要多。后来,下一个男人很粗暴,他被暴力且粗野地对待时,他就很希望自己跟了前一个男人。忽然间,波士顿似乎比不上温柔,也比不上某个会保护他、对他好的人。他哀叹自己的决定这么糟糕,好像不懂得珍惜真正对他好的人。他再度想到卢克修士,想到卢克从来不会打他或吼他,也从来不会辱骂他。

  Somewhere he had gotten sick, but he didn’t know if it was from his time on the road or from the home. He made the men use condoms, but a few of them had said they would and then hadn’t, and he had struggled and shouted but there had been nothing he could do. He knew, from past experience, that he would need a doctor. He stank; he was in so much pain he could barely walk. On the outskirts of Philadelphia he decided he’d take a break—he had to. He had torn a small hole in the sleeve of Colin’s jacket and had rolled his money into a tube and shoved it inside and then closed the hole with a safety pin he had found in one of the motel rooms. He climbed out of the last truck, although at the time he hadn’t known it would be the last truck; at the time he had thought: one more. One more and I’ll make it to Boston. He hated that he had to stop now when he was so close, but he knew he needed help; he had waited as long as he could.

中途他病了,他不知道是在路上还是在少年之家染上的。他要那些男人用避孕套,少数几个说会用却没有,于是他挣扎、大喊,但也无济于事。从过往的经验看,他知道自己得去看医生。他很臭,而且痛得几乎没办法走路了。来到费城的市郊时,他决定休息一下,也非得休息不可了。他在柯林那件大衣的袖子上撕开一个小洞,把身上的钱卷成一小卷塞进去,然后用他在某个汽车旅馆捡到的安全别针别住那个洞。他爬下最后一辆卡车,当时他不知道那会是最后一辆;他心想:再一趟,再一趟我就抵达波士顿了。现在距离这么近了,他真不想停下来,但他知道自己得看医生,已经拖到不能再拖了。

  The driver had stopped at a filling station near Philadelphia—he didn’t want to drive into the city. There, he made his slow way to the bathroom; he tried to clean himself. The illness made him tired; he had a fever. The last thing he remembered from that day—it had been late January, he thought; still cold, and now with a wet, stinging wind that seemed to slap against him—was walking to the edge of the gas station, where there had been a small tree, barren and unloved and alone, and sitting down against it, resting his back in Colin’s now-filthy jacket against its spindly, unconvincing trunk, and shutting his eyes, hoping that if he slept for a while, he might feel at least a little stronger.

放他下车的司机不想开进市区,就停在靠近费城的一个加油站。他下了车,慢慢走到洗手间,设法清理自己。那疾病害他疲倦;他发烧了。那是一月下旬,他心想。天气还是很冷,还有潮湿、刺人的寒风,像在甩他巴掌。那一天他记得的最后一件事,就是走到加油站边缘,有一棵小树,干枯、孤单无依,他就靠着那棵树坐下来,穿着那件已经很脏的大衣,背靠着单薄、不牢靠的树干,闭上眼睛,希望自己睡一会儿,或许就会比较有力气了。

  When he woke he knew he was in the backseat of a car, and the car was moving, and there was Schubert playing, and he allowed himself to be comforted by that, because it was something he knew, something familiar in such unfamiliarity, in a strange car being driven by a stranger, a stranger he was too weak to sit up and examine, through a strange landscape to an unknown destination. When he woke again he was in a room, a living room, and he looked around him: at the sofa he was on, the coffee table in front of it, two armchairs, a stone fireplace, all in shades of brown. He stood, still dizzy but less dizzy, and as he did, he noticed there was a man standing in a doorway, watching him, a man a little shorter than he, and thin, but with a sloping stomach and fertile, swelling hips. He had glasses that had black plastic bracketing their top half but were clear glass beneath, and a tonsure of hair trimmed very short and soft, like a mink’s coat.

他醒来时,知道自己在一辆汽车的后座,那辆车正在移动,车上播放着舒伯特,他让自己被那音乐抚慰,因为那是他熟悉的事物。此刻他身在一个不熟悉的环境:在一辆陌生的汽车里,虚弱到无法坐起身来看一下开车的陌生人,车子开过一片陌生的风景,驶向一个未知的目的地。他再度醒来时,身在一个客厅里,他看看四周:他躺的沙发、沙发前的茶几、两张安乐椅、一个石砌壁炉,全是褐色调。他站起来,还是觉得晕眩,但好一些了,然后注意到有个男人站在门口观察他,那男人比他矮一点,很瘦,不过有个鼓起的肚子和肥大的臀部。他戴的眼镜上半部有黑色塑料框、下半部无框,秃顶的头发剪得非常短,发质柔软,像貂毛一般。

  “Come to the kitchen and have something to eat,” the man said in a quiet toneless voice, and he did, walking slowly after him and into a kitchen that, except for its tiles and walls, was also brown: brown table, brown cupboards, brown chairs. He sat in the chair at the foot of the table, and the man put a plate before him with a hamburger and a slide of fries, a glass filled with milk. “I normally don’t get fast food,” the man said, and looked at him.

“来厨房吃点东西。”那男人说,声音平静而单调。他照做了,缓缓跟着那男人走进厨房,里头除了瓷砖和墙壁之外,都是褐色的:褐色的餐桌、褐色的碗橱、褐色的椅子。他坐在桌尾的椅子上,那男人在他面前放了一个盘子,里头有一个汉堡和一堆薯条,还有一个装了牛奶的玻璃杯。“我平常不买快餐的。”那男人看着他说。

  He wasn’t sure what to say. “Thank you,” he said, and the man nodded. “Eat,” he said, and he did, and the man sat at the head of the table and watched him. Normally this would have made him self-conscious, but he was too hungry to care this time.

他不确定该说什么。“谢谢。”他说。那男人点点头。“吃吧。”他说。于是他吃了,那男人坐在桌首看着他。通常这会让他难为情,但这回他实在饿得顾不了那么多了。

  When he was finished he sat back and thanked the man again, and the man nodded again, and there was a silence.

吃完之后,他往后坐,再度谢谢那个男人,男人也再度点点头,接下来是一段沉默。

  “You’re a prostitute,” the man said, and he flushed, and looked down at the table, at its shined brown wood.

“你是男妓。”那男人说。他脸红了,低头看着桌子,看着那发亮的褐色木头。

  “Yes,” he admitted.

“是的。”他承认。

  The man made a little noise, a little snuffle. “How long have you been a prostitute?” he asked, but he couldn’t answer him and was silent. “Well?” the man asked. “Two years? Five years? Ten years? Your whole life?” He was impatient, or almost impatient, but his voice was soft, and he wasn’t yelling.

那男人发出一点声音,是一种小小的鼻音。“你当男妓多久了?”他问,但他无法回答。“怎么样?”那男人问,“两年?五年?十年?还是当了一辈子?”他不耐烦起来,或近乎不耐烦,但他的声音很柔和,没有大吼。

  “Five years,” he said, and the man made the same small noise again.

“五年。”他说。那男人又发出那个小声音。


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