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                双语有声阅读 | 不□ 存在的女儿(节选)

                2019-12-16 16:13:40  每日学英语

                The Memory Keeper's Daughter





                The snow started to fall several hours before her labor began. A few flakes first, in the dull gray late-afternoon sky, and then wind-driven swirls and eddies around the edges of their wide front porch. He stood by her side at the window, watching sharp gusts of snow billow, then swirl and drift to the ground. All around the neighborhood, lights came on, and the naked branches of the trees turned white.

                她临盆前几小时下起了雪。起先只是午后阴沉的天上飘下几朵雪花,而后大风吹得雪花滚ξ 滚飞扬,盘旋在他们家宽敞前廊的边际。他站在她身旁,倚在窗边,看着雪花在强风中翻腾、回旋,缓缓飘♀落到地面。附近家家户户点亮了灯火,光秃秃的树枝变得雪白。

                After dinner he built a fire, venturing out into the weather for wood he had piled against the garage the previous autumn. The air was bright and cold against his face, and the snow in the driveway was already halfway to his knees. He gathered logs, shaking off their soft white caps and carrying them inside. The kindling in the iron grate caught fire immediately, and he sat for a time on the hearth, cross-legged, adding logs and watching the flames leap, blue-edged and hypnotic. Outside, snow continued to fall quietly through the darkness, as bright and thick as static in the cones of light cast by the streetlights. By the time he rose and looked out the window, their car had become a soft white hill on the edge of the street. Already his footprints in the driveway had filled and disappeared.


                He brushed ashes from his hands and sat on the sofa beside his wife, her feet propped on pillows, her swollen ankles crossed, a copy of Dr. Spock balanced on her belly. Absorbed, she licked her index finger absently each time she turned a page. Her hands were slender, her fingers short and sturdy, and she bit her bottom lip lightly, intently, as she read. Watching her, he felt a surge of love and wonder: that she was his wife, that their baby, due in just three weeks, would soon be born. Their first child, this would be. They had been married just a year.


                She looked up, smiling, when he tucked the blanket around her legs. "You know, I’ve been wondering what it's like,"she said. "Before we're bom, I mean. It's too bad we can't remember." She opened her robe and pulled up the sweater she wore underneath, revealing a belly as round and hard as a melon. She ran her hand across its smooth surface, firelight playing across her skin, casting reddish gold onto her hair. "Do you suppose it's like being inside a great lantern? The book says light-permeates my skin, that the baby can already see."


                "I don't know,"he said.


                She laughed. "Why not?" she asked. "You’re the doctor."


                "I'm just an orthopedic surgeon," he reminded her. "I could tell you the ossification pattern for fetal bones, but that's about it."He lifted her foot, both delicate and swollen inside the light blue sock, and began to massage it gently: the powerful tarsal bone of her heel, the metatarsals and the phalanges,hidden beneath skin and densely layered muscles like a fan about to open. Her breathing filled the quiet room, her foot warmed his hands, and he imagined the perfect, secret, symmetry of bones. In pregnancy she seemed to him beautiful but fragile, fine blue veins faintly visible through her pale white skin.

                “我只是个骨科医生。”他提醒她,“我可以告诉你小宝宝在胚胎时期的骨化历程,但仅此而已。”他抬高她一只脚,裹在浅蓝色袜子里的双脚细腻而肿胀,他轻轻◆地按摩:她脚后跟的跗骨强劲有力,脚掌骨和趾骨隐藏在肌↙肤之下,密密相迭的肌肉仿佛是把即将展开的扇子。房间里静得能听到她的呼吸声,她的脚温暖了他的双手,他脑海中浮现出骨头的完美、隐秘与匀称。在他眼里,怀孕的她显得美丽而脆弱,苍白Ψ 的肌肤上隐约可见细微的蓝色血管。

                It had been an excellent pregnancy,without medical restrictions. Even so, he had not been able to make love to her for several months. He found himself wanting to protect her instead, to carry her up flights of stairs, to wrap her in blankets, to bring her cups of custard. "I’m not an invalid," she protested each time, laughing. "I’m not some fledgling you discovered on the lawn." Still, she was pleased by his attentions. Sometimes he woke and watched her as she slept: the flutter of her eyelids, the slow even movement of her chest, her outflung hand, small enough that he could enclose it completely with his own.


                She was eleven years younger than he was. He had first seen her not much more than a year ago, as she rode up an escalator in a department store downtown, one gray November Saturday while he was buying ties. He was thirty-three years old and new to Lexington, Kentucky, and she had risen out of the crowd like some kind of vision, her blond hair swept back in an elegant chignon, pearls glimmering at her throat and on her ears. She was wearing a coat of dark green wool, and her skin was clear and pale. He stepped onto the escalator, pushing his way upward through the crowd, struggling to keep her in sight. She went to the fourth floor, lingerie and hosiery. When he tried to follow her through aisles dense with racks of slips and brassieres and panties, all glimmering softly, a sales clerk in a navy blue dress with a white collar stopped him, smiling, to ask if she could help. A robe, he said, scanning the aisles until he caught sight of her hair, a dark green shoulder, her Gent head revealing the elegant pale curve of her neck. A robe for my sister who lives in New Orleans. He had no sister, of course, or any living family that he acknowledged.

                她比他小11岁。一年前,他们初次相逢。当时是11月的一个星期六,天气阴沉,他到市区的一家百货商店买领带,刚好看到Ψ她乘电扶梯上楼。33岁的他刚搬到肯塔基州的莱克星顿。她从人群中脱颖而出,仿佛美景般,一头金发在脑后盘成优雅的髻,珍珠在她颈部与耳际闪闪发光。她穿着一〖件深绿色的毛外套,肌肤澄净而洁白。他踏上电扶梯,推开人群往上走,力图让她不要离开自己的视线。她走到四楼的内衣与丝袜柜⌒ 台,他试图跟随着她,穿过一排排挂满内衣、胸罩、内裤的货架,件件衣物散发出柔软的光泽。有位穿白领和天蓝色外套的售货小姐拦下了他,微笑着询问有何需要服务之处,他说想找件睡袍,同时双眼不停地在货架间搜寻,直至看到她的金发及深绿色的身影为止。她微微低头,露出洁白优美的颈线。我想帮住在新奥尔良的妹妹买件睡袍,他当然没有妹妹,或是任何他所认识的、尚在人间的亲人。

                The clerk disappeared and came back a moment later with three robes in sturdy terry cloth. He chose blindly, hardly glancing down, taking the one on top. Three sizes, the clerk was saying, and a better selection of colors next month, but he was already in the aisle, a coral-colored robe draped over his arm, his shoes squeaking on the tiles as he moved impatiently between the other shoppers to where she stood.


                She was shuffling through the stacks of expensive stockings, sheer colors shining through slick cellophane windows: taupe, navy, a maroon as dark as pig’s blood. The sleeve of her green coat brushed his and he smelled her perfume, something delicate and yet pervasive, something like the dense pale petals of lilacs outside the window of the student rooms he' d once occupied in Pittsburgh. The squat windows of his basement apartment were always grimy, opaque with steel-factory soot and ash, but in the spring there were lilacs blooming, sprays of white and lavender pressing against the glass, their scent drifting in like light.