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有时候你不得不失去爱情,才能找回它

更新时间:2015-11-30 10:21:46 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

When Cupid Is a Prying Journalist
有时候你不得不失去爱情,才能找回它

My interview with Justin McLeod was winding down when I tossed out one last question: “Have you ever been in love?”

当我抛出最后一个问题时,我对贾斯汀·麦克劳德(Justin McLeod)的采访轻松了下来。我问他:“你爱过吗?”

The baby-faced chief executive had designed Hinge, which was a new dating app. My question was an obvious throwaway.

这位长着一张娃娃脸的首席执行官设计了一款新的约会应用Hinge。我的问题显然是脱口而出的。

Justin looked stricken. No one, he said, had ever asked him that in an interview. “Yes,” he finally answered. “But I didn’t realize it until it was too late.” Then he asked me to stop recording. I hit Stop.

贾斯汀一脸惶恐。他说,从来没有人在采访中问过这个问题。“是的,”他终于回答道。“但我意识到时,已经太晚了。”然后他要求我停止录音。我点了停止按钮。

Off the record, he looked relieved to unburden himself. Her name was Kate. They were college sweethearts. He kept breaking her heart. (Tears now swelled in his eyes.) He wasn’t the best version of himself back then. He had since made amends to everyone, including Kate. But she was now living abroad, engaged to someone else.

关掉录音后,他看起来松了一口气。她的名字叫凯特(Kate),两人是大学校园情侣,他总是伤她的心(此时此刻,他的眼里含着泪水)。他当时还不是最好的自己。后来他向每一个人都弥补了亏欠,包括凯特。但她现在生活在国外,已经跟别人订婚。

“Does she know you still love her?” I asked.

“她知道你还爱她吗?”我问。

“No,” he said. “She’s been engaged for two years now.”

“不知道,”他说。“她已经订婚两年了。”

“Two years?” I said. “Why?”

“两年?”我说。“为什么?”

“I don’t know.”

“我不知道。”

I was by then a year into a separation from a two-decade marriage. I had been doing a lot of thinking about the nature of love, its rarity. The reason I was interviewing Justin, in fact, was that his app had helped facilitate a post-separation blind date, my first ever, with an artist for whom I had fallen at first sight.

那时候距离我走出一段20年的婚姻已有一年的时间,我对爱情是罕有的这一本质,进行了很多思考。实际上,我之所以采访贾斯汀,是因为他研发的应用,帮助我在分居后进行第一次相亲,对方是一名艺术家,我对他一见钟情。

That had never happened to me, the at-first-sight part. He was also the first man to pop up on my screen after I downloaded Justin’s app.

我从未遇到过一见钟情的情况。他也是我下载贾斯汀的应用之后,第一个出现在我屏幕上的男性。

For those keeping score at home, those are a lot of firsts: first dating app, first man on my screen, first blind date, first love at first sight. I was interested in understanding the app’s algorithm, how it had come about, how it had guessed, by virtue of our shared Facebook friends, that this particular man, a sculptor with a focus on the nexus between libidinal imagery and blossoms, would take root in my heart.

对于那些喜欢在家做记录的人来说,这件事里有很多个第一:第一款约会应用,第一个出现在屏幕上的男性,第一次相亲,第一次一见钟情。我很想了解这款应用的算法,它是如何凭借我们共同的Facebook好友发现、推测这个男人会占据我的心。他是一名雕塑家,关注情欲意象与花之间的关系。

“You have to tell her,” I said to Justin. “Listen —— ” and I told him the story of the boy I had loved just before meeting my husband.

“你得告诉她,”我对贾斯汀说。“听着……”于是,我给他讲了我在遇到我丈夫之前,爱过的那个男孩。

He was a senior in college, studying Shakespeare abroad. I was a 22-year-old war photographer based in Paris. We had met on a beach in the Caribbean, then I visited him in London, shell-shocked, after having covered the end of the Soviet-Afghan war.

他当时是一名大四学生,在国外研究莎士比亚。我当时22岁,在做战地摄影师,常驻巴黎,我们在加勒比海的海滩上相识。在报道完苏联与阿富汗之间结束战争之后,精疲力竭的我前往伦敦找他。

I thought of him every day I was covering that war. When I was sleeping in caves, so sick from dysentery and an infected shrapnel wound on my hand that I had to be transported out of the Hindu Kush by Doctors Without Borders, my love for him is what kept me going.

在报道战争期间,我每天都会想他。我当时深受痢疾和手部弹片伤感染的折磨,因此不得不被“无国界医生”(Doctors Without Borders)运出兴都库什山脉,当我在洞穴里睡觉时,对他的爱促使我坚持了下去。

But a few weeks after my trip to London, he stood me up. He said he would visit me at my apartment in Paris one weekend and never showed. Or so I thought.

但我到伦敦几周之后,他却失约了。他说他会在某个周末到我在巴黎的公寓找我,然后就再也没有出现。至少我当时是这么认为的。

Two decades later, I learned that he actually had flown to Paris that weekend but had lost the piece of paper with my address and phone number. I was unlisted. He had no answering machine. We had no friends in common. He wound up staying in a hostel, and I wound up marrying and having three children with the next man I dated. And so life goes.

但20年后,我得知他那个周末确实飞来巴黎,但丢掉了那张写着我的地址和电话的纸。他的通讯录里没有我的号码。他没有录音电话。我们也没有共同的朋友。他最终待在了酒店里,我则与下一个约会对象结了婚,生了三个孩子。生活就是如此。

By the time Google was invented, the first photo of me to appear on his screen was of my children and me from an article someone had written about my first book, a memoir of my years as a war photographer. Soon after, he married and had three children with the next woman he dated. And so life goes.

到Google问世的时候,我第一次出现在他的屏幕上,是在我跟我小孩的一张照片里。那是某人对我的第一本书写的评论,那本书回顾了当战地摄影师的经历。不久,他就跟下一个约会的女人结婚了,有了三个小孩。生活就是如此。

I found him by accident, doing research on theater companies for my last novel. There he was above his too-common name. I composed the email: “Are you the same man who stood me up in Paris?”

我意外地找到了他。我在写我最新的小说时,做了一番关于剧团的研究,在他那个大众名上面,我看到他的照片。我写了封电子邮件:“你是在巴黎放我鸽子的那个人吗?”

That’s how I learned what had happened that weekend and began to digest the full impact of our missed connection.

我这才得知那个周末发生了什么,也才开始思忖,当年的错失有多大的后果。

His work brought him to New York a few months later, and we met for a springtime lunch on a bench in Central Park. I was so flummoxed, I kicked over my lemonade and dropped my egg salad sandwich: Our long-lost love was still there.

几个月之后,他因公到纽约出差,那时是春天,我们在中央公园里的长椅上吃了午餐。我感到相当慌乱,我踢倒了柠檬汁,也把蛋沙拉掉在地上:我们消失已久的那份爱仍然存在。

In fact, the closure provided by our reunion and the shock of recognition of a still-extant love that had been deprived of sun and water would thereafter affect both of our marriages, albeit in different ways. He realized how much he needed to work on tending to his marriage. I realized I had given mine all the nutrients and care I could — 23 years of tilling that soil — but the field was fallow.

我们为重逢感到释怀,发觉那个没有阳光也没了水的爱仍然存在,也让我们都很诧异。事实上,这种情绪之后还将影响我们两个的婚姻。他意识到,自己维护婚姻时,需要付出多大的努力;我也意识到,我付出了全心全力的关怀跟养分来照顾,花了23年耕种,但土壤贫瘠。

Hearing of Justin’s love for Kate while seated on another New York City bench four years later, I felt a fresh urgency. “If you still love her,” I told him, “and she’s not yet married, you have to tell her. Now. You don’t want to wake up in 20 years and regret your silence. But you can’t do it by email or Facebook. You actually have to show up in person and be willing to have the door slammed in your face.”

四年之后,我在纽约的另一张长椅上听贾斯汀讲述对凯特的爱之后,我突然感到有一种急迫性。“如果你还爱她,”我跟他讲,“而且她还没结婚的话,你应该让她知道。就是现在。你不会想要20年后醒来,再后悔自己当时保持沉默。但你不能用电子邮件或Facebook告诉她,你必须本人出现,也宁愿被当着面甩上门。”

He laughed wistfully: “I can’t do that. It’s too late.”

他苦笑:“办不到,已经太迟了。”

Three months later, he emailed an invitation to lunch. The article I wrote about him and his company, in which he had allowed me to mention Kate (whom I had called his “Rosebud”), had generated interest in his app, and he wanted to thank me.

三个月之后,他发来一封电子邮件,邀我共进午餐。那篇我写他还有他的应用的文章——里头他让我提到了凯特(我以“玫瑰蓓蕾”[Rosebud]代称)——让人们对他的应用很感兴趣,他想谢谢我。

On the appointed day, I showed up at the restaurant and found the hostess. “Justin McLeod, table for two,” I said.

在我们约好的那一天,我到了餐厅,找到了服务员。“贾斯汀·麦克劳德,两位,”我说。

“No,” he said, suddenly behind me. “For three.”

“不是,”他突然出现在我身后说。“是三位。”

“Three? Who’s joining us?”

“三位?有谁要跟我们一起吃?”

“She is,” he said, pointing to a wisp of a woman rushing past the restaurant’s window, a blur of pink coat, her strawberry blond hair trailing behind her.

“是她,”他指着餐厅窗外的一瞥急忙的身影说。粉色的大衣一闪而过,她草莓金色的头发在身后飘呀飘。

“What the —— ? Is that Rosebud?”

“是怎么……?她是玫瑰蓓蕾吗?”

“Yes.”

“对。”

Kate burst in and embraced me in a hug. Up close she resembled another Kate — Hepburn, who had appeared in the comedies of remarriage I had studied in college with Stanley Cavell.

凯特突然进来,一把抱住了我。近距离看她,她很像另一个凯特——凯特·赫本(Kate Hepburn)。我在大学里师从斯坦利·卡维尔(Stanley Cavell),研究过再婚喜剧,凯特·赫本就常常在这种剧中出演。

These films, precursors to today’s rom-coms, were made in America in the 1930s and ’40s, when showing adultery or illicit sex wasn’t allowed. To pass the censors, the plots were the same: A married couple divorced, flirted with others, then remarried. The lesson? Sometimes you have to lose love to refind it, and a return to the green world is the key to reblossoming.

这些电影是今天浪漫喜剧的前身,在美国摄制于1930年代和1940年代,当时通奸或不正当的性行为是不允许展示的。为通过审查,情节千篇一律:一对已婚夫妇离婚,与其他人调情,然后再婚。故事的教训?有时候你不得不失去爱情,才能找回它,回到绿色世界是重新开花的关键。

“This is all because of you,” Kate said, crying. “Thank you.”

“这都是因为你,”凯特哭着说。“谢谢你。”

Now Justin and I were tearing up, too, to the point where the other diners were staring at us, confused.

现在,我和贾斯汀也都流泪了,其他食客都疑惑地盯着我们看。

After we sat down, they told me the story of their reunion, finishing each other’s sentences as if they had been married for years. One day, after a chance run-in with a friend of Kate’s, Justin texted Kate to arrange a phone conversation, then booked a trans-Atlantic flight to see her without warning. He called her from his hotel room, asked if he could stop by. She was to be married in a month, but three days later, she moved out of the apartment she had been sharing with her fiancé.

我们坐下后,他们为我讲述了重聚的故事,言语之间互相接话,就好像他们已经结婚多年。有一天,贾斯汀在偶然遇见凯特的一位朋友后,就发短信给凯特,想同她打个电话。然后在没有任何预兆的情况下,订了一个跨越大西洋的航班去看她。他从酒店房间打电话给她,问他是否可以过去拜访。她本来再过一个月后就要结婚了,但三天后,她搬出了与未婚夫共享的公寓。

I felt a pang of guilt. The poor man!

我感到一阵内疚,那个可怜的人!

It was O.K., she said. Their relationship had been troubled for years. She had been trying to figure out a way to postpone or cancel the wedding, but the invitations had already been sent, the hall and caterer booked, and she didn’t know how to resolve her ambivalence without disappointing everyone.

倒还好,她说。他们的关系已经尴尬多年,她一直想方设法推迟或取消婚礼,但邀请函已经发出,大厅和餐饮服务也已预订。她不知道如何化解自己的纠结,而又不让大家失望。

Justin had arrived at her door at nearly the last moment he could have spoken up or forever held his peace. By the time of our lunch, the two were already living together.

贾斯汀几乎是在最后时刻到了她的门前,如果那时没能大声说出来,就要永远保持沉默了。到我们吃午饭的时候,两人已经同居了。

Soon afterward, I had them over for dinner to introduce them to the blossom-obsessed artist who bore half of the responsibility for their reunion. He and I hadn’t worked out as a couple, much to my pain and chagrin, but we had found our way back into a close friendship and even an artistic collaboration after he texted me a doodle he’d been drawing.

此后不久,我让他们过来吃饭,向他们介绍了这位痴迷于花朵的艺术家,他们的重聚有一半要归功于他。我和他没有成为一对,这让我痛苦和懊恼,但他发给了我一幅他正在绘制的涂鸦之后,我们找到了相处的方式——成为亲密的朋友,甚至一起创作艺术。

In fact, we had just signed a contract to produce three books together: “The ABC’s of Adulthood,” “The ABC’s of Parenthood” and — oh, the irony — “The ABC’s of Love.”

事实上,我们刚刚签署了一份合同,一起创作三本书:《成年ABC》、《为人父母ABC》——对了,还有颇具讽刺意味的——《爱的ABC》。

“What was the doodle?” Kate asked.

“那个涂鸦是什么?”凯特问道。

I showed her the drawing on my iPhone.

我给她看了我iPhone上的图画。

“Are those ovaries?” she asked, smiling.

“那些是卵巢吗?”她笑着问。

“Or seeds,” I said. “Or flower buds, depending on how you look at it.”

“或者是种子,”我说。“或者是花蕾,取决于你如何看待它。”

All perfectly reasonable interpretations of love begetting love begetting love, which is why we were all gathered around my table that night, weren’t we? Because real love, once blossomed, never disappears. It may get lost with a piece of paper, or transform into art, books or children, or trigger another couple’s union while failing to cement your own.

这些都是爱产生爱,再产生爱的非常合理的解读。我们那天晚上都围在我的桌子旁正是因为这个原因,不是吗?因为真正的爱一旦盛放,将永远不会消失。它可能会随一张纸而错失,或转变为艺术品、书籍或孩子,或促成另一对眷侣的重聚,却无法抓住自己的相遇。

But it’s always there, lying in wait for a ray of sun, pushing through thawing soil, insisting upon its rightful existence in our hearts and on earth.

但是,它总会在那里躺着,等待一缕阳光,去破开解冻的土壤,并坚定且坦然地存在于我们心中和世界上。

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