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我嫁给了一个爱妈妈的好男人

更新时间:2016-10-28 10:19:32 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Marry a Man Who Loves His Mother (Updated With Podcast)
我嫁给了一个爱妈妈的好男人

WHEN Miles and I decided to live together, I asked him if his mother, Terry, would be upset. We sat at the kitchen table in his apartment near Fort Rucker, Ala., while the warm fall evening pressed against the sliding glass doors. Miles would graduate from flight school in a few months, and the Army would be sending him to Fort Bragg, N.C. My job in Tallahassee would be ending at the same time, and the move felt right to both of us.

当迈尔斯(Miles)和我决定同居时,我问他,他的母亲特丽(Terry)会不会难过。在阿拉巴马州拉克堡,我们坐在他的公寓厨房桌子边,玻璃推拉门外是秋日傍晚的温暖夜色。几个月后,迈尔斯便将从飞行学校毕业,陆军将派他去北卡罗来纳州的布拉格堡。届时我在塔拉哈西的工作也将结束。我们俩都觉得应该生活在一起。

“Don’t worry about it,” he said. He leaned back in his wooden chair and propped a foot against the leg of the table. “She’ll probably want to send us a housewarming gift. Go ahead and think of something.”

“别担心,”他说。他斜靠在椅子上,一只脚顶着桌腿。“她兴许想送我们一件乔迁礼物呢。想想要什么吧。”

I thought place mats would be nice.

我觉得餐垫就挺好的。

Terry came for a visit three weeks after we moved into our tiny rented house on the outskirts of Fort Bragg. She did not bring place mats. She was tense and unsettled, the way I remembered her, and she refused to stay in our guest bedroom. She stayed in a hotel across town instead.

在我们搬进布拉格堡郊区租来的小房子三周后,特丽来看望我们。她没有带餐垫,并且紧张不安,就像我记忆中的那样。她不肯住家里的客房,而是住进了小镇另一头的一家宾馆。

In our home, Terry was cordial. She cooked dinner, churning out Miles’s favorites, like “burnt steak stew,” meals with a history that reached back to their hometown in Texas. She made the sugar cookies Miles liked, the kind I could never get right, and she talked about home and church and family.

在我们家里,特丽很热情。她做晚饭时弄了一大堆迈尔斯爱吃的东西,比方说“焦炖牛排”之类,渊源都可以追溯到他们在德克萨斯州的家乡。她做了迈尔斯喜欢的糖饼干,那玩意儿我永远做不好,她还聊起家乡、教堂和家庭之类的事。

On the second day, after Miles had put on his uniform and left for the base, Terry suggested we drive to the mall in Raleigh. Spring unfolds slowly in North Carolina, and the air was cool and damp even as the first daffodils pushed through the wet earth. We climbed into her rental car and drove through Fayetteville, where rhododendrons bloomed pink against the gray morning.

第二天,迈尔斯穿上制服去了基地。特丽提议我们开车到罗利去逛商场。北卡罗莱纳的春天来得格外迟缓,虽然泥地上早生的黄水仙已经破土而出,但空气还是那么潮湿料峭。我们钻进她租来的车子,开过费耶特维尔,沿途粉红色的杜鹃花在灰蒙蒙的早晨显得格外鲜艳。

The rain started when we reached the Interstate, and Terry launched into the reason for her visit.

到达州际公路时开始下雨,特丽聊起她来拜访的理由。

“You know Brad and I don’t approve of you living together,” she said, referring to Miles’s father. She called it “living in sin.” Her hands gripped the steering wheel and outside it poured and poured. “When he has sex with you, he’s disrespecting you.” I thought about telling her that he sometimes disrespected me on the couch. Once in the kitchen.

“你知道我和布拉德(Brad)不同意你们同居,”她说,布拉德是迈尔斯的爸爸。她把我们同居称为“生活在罪恶之中。”她双手紧握方向盘,窗外大雨倾盆。“他与你性交是对你的不尊重。”我真想告诉她,迈尔斯有时候也在沙发上不尊重我,还有一次在厨房里不尊重我。

She talked for an hour and a half, without pause, without my input. But when we reached the shopping center, the space between us seemed somehow easier. We spent the afternoon shopping, as good friends often will, inspecting sales racks and eating Chinese in the food court.

她不停地说了一个半小时,我都没插上嘴。不过到购物中心时,我们之间的气氛不知什么好像变轻松了。那天下午,我们一起逛街,就像好朋友经常做的那样,浏览货架,在餐饮区吃中餐。

At the makeup counter at Macy’s, Terry tried on lavender eye shadow.

在梅西百货(Macy’s)的化妆品柜台,特丽试了一款淡紫色眼影。

“That looks nice on you,” I said.

“你画这个挺好看的,”我说。

She smiled shyly into the hand mirror. When the saleswoman asked if she’d like her to wrap it up, Terry nodded. She was strangely tentative about the exchange, as if she weren’t used to buying nice things for herself.

她对着手里的小镜子不好意思地笑了一下。售货员问她要不要包起来,她点了点头。她对这次交易有种奇怪的犹豫,好像不太习惯给自己买好东西。

Later, after the visit, I asked if Brad had liked the new eye shadow.

后来在她家里,我问她布拉德喜不喜欢那款新眼影。

“He didn’t notice,” she said coolly. The distance had returned.

“他都没注意到,”她冷淡地说。我们又恢复了之前的距离感。

In the summer, we stopped at Miles’s home in the Texas panhandle on our way to Fort Hood in the central part of the state. His unit would spend nine months training there before heading to Iraq. As we turned off the highway onto their gravel road, a steady wind blew. It stirred the dry grass and ruffled the cows in the pasture.

那年夏天,我们在去德克萨斯州中部胡德堡的路上,顺道去了一趟迈尔斯位于德克萨斯锅柄地带(panhandle,指德克萨斯州最北部与新墨西哥州和俄克拉荷马州接壤的一小块地区——译注)的家。他的分队要在胡德堡训练9个月,然后开往伊拉克。我们离开高速公路,驶上他们家的石子路,风一直在刮,吹乱了干草,惹得牧场里的奶牛烦躁不已。

Miles spent his days outside, under the big Texas sky. He rode horses and worked the ranch with Brad, while I stayed inside with Terry. She showed me how to make her meatloaf and wrote the recipe for her sugar cookies on an index card for me to take to Fort Hood. She talked endlessly, hardly pausing for breath. It was as if she weren’t used to having an audience and needed to unload the things she carried in her heart.

白天,迈尔斯在辽阔的德克萨斯天空下骑马,和布拉德在牧场里干活,我和特丽呆在屋里。她教我做她的私房肉糕,在索引卡上写下糖饼干的食谱,让我带去胡德堡。她不停地说话,几乎不停下来喘口气。她好像难得有听众,现在她需要把心里的话都说出来。

Mostly she talked about Miles. About how long it took to conceive him, about the miscarriages that came after. She numbered her lost babies among her children. She talked about breast-feeding, sleepless nights and Miles’s sweet baby smile.

她大部分时间是在说迈尔斯。说她等了多长时间才怀上他,还有后来的流产。她把失去的婴儿也算作自己的孩子。她说起母乳喂养,不眠不休的夜晚以及迈尔斯甜美的婴儿微笑。

She cornered me once about the move to Texas, but before she could get into the sinful parts, someone interrupted the conversation. Anyway, Miles and I were married in less than a year, and by then the point was moot.

有一次,她又质问我搬去德克萨斯的事,但她还没说到罪恶的部分,就有人打断了我们的谈话。反正,不到一年,我和迈尔斯就结婚了,这个问题也失去了意义。

At Christmas, we were back in the panhandle. The Henderson clan had assembled for the holidays, and they were a hard-drinking, hard-partying lot. They gathered at Uncle Rick’s canyon house, where the cousins played cards and drank Coors Light while Aunt Minnie chain-smoked on the back porch. Terry greeted them each with a stiff hug.

那年圣诞节,我们回到德克萨斯锅柄地带。亨德森一家(Henderson)为节日团聚,他们是那种喜欢豪饮和聚会的人。他们聚集在里克叔叔(Rick)峡谷的房子里,堂兄弟姐妹们打牌,喝康胜银子弹淡啤(Coors Light),明妮婶婶(Minnie)在后廊上不停地抽烟。特丽跟他们每个人见面打招呼时,拥抱得很不自然。 

She fit oddly into this mix. She was raised a Catholic, and her mother still went to Mass every Sunday. But when she married Brad, a conservative Protestant, she set aside her faith and adopted his. While Brad’s family were churchgoing folk, none of them approached religion with his hard-line zeal. So while the drinking and cussing and sinning carried on around her, Terry kept herself apart.

她不太能融入这个群体。她从小在天主教家庭长大,她妈妈依然每个礼拜日去参加弥撒。布拉德是一名保守派新教徒,特丽嫁给他后,放弃自己的信仰,皈依了丈夫的教派。虽然布拉德的家人也去教堂,但他们对宗教缺乏他那种坚定的热情。所以,尽管周围的人在喝酒、咒骂、作恶,特丽却总是和这一切保持着距离。

At one point in the card game, someone asked Miles where his mother had gone. He hooked a thumb over his shoulder, toward the back room where the kids watched cartoons. The cousins rolled their eyes and snickered. Miles was the only one not to laugh.

打牌时,突然有人问迈尔斯他妈妈去哪儿了。他把大拇指举过肩膀,指向孩子们看动画片的后屋。堂兄弟姐妹们翻着白眼窃笑。只有迈尔斯没笑。

On the day Miles was deployed, after we left him at the hangar on base, Terry came back to our apartment. She helped me pack up our life so I could go home to my family in Florida. Together, we boxed the towels and the bed linens, the Crock-Pot and the TV. We loaded them into Miles’s pickup and Terry drove the truck back to Texas, where it would wait for him to come home.

迈尔斯上前线那天,我们把他送到基地的飞机库。然后,特丽回到我们的公寓,帮我把家里的东西打包起来,好让我能回佛罗里达州自己家里住。我们一起把毛巾、床单被罩、Crock-Pot慢炖锅和电视放进箱子,装到迈尔斯的皮卡车上。最后特丽把车开回德克萨斯州,让车在那儿等他回家。

When he did come home, it was not the way we expected, but with an escort and an honor guard and casualty assistance officers. Terry told me that when the notifying soldier came to her door, she wouldn’t let him speak.

不过他并不是以我们所期待的方式回到家中,而是在一支护卫队、一支仪仗队,以及伤亡援助军官陪同下回来的。特丽告诉我,通知消息的士兵来到她家门前时,她不让他说话。

“Stop,” she said and held up a hand. “Just tell me if my son is alive.”

“别说了,”她举起一只手说,“你就说我儿子是不是还活着。”

“No, ma’am,” the soldier said. “He’s not.”

“不,夫人,”士兵说,“他去世了。”

I couldn’t imagine that kind of backbone; I had listened silently through my own notification, then thanked the soldiers as they left. But later, when it had all sunk in— this new reality and the things we do when we lose someone we love —her reaction felt right. Miles was the best of her. He had her face, her build, her Texas twang. As much as he was to me, he was more to her, more viscerally hers. They shared DNA, for God’s sake.

我无法想像那种坚强。士兵们来通知我时,我安静地从头听到尾,他们离开时,我对他们表示感谢。但是后来,当我沉浸到新的现实中,做我们在失去所爱之人时做的事情时,才感觉到她的反应是很自然的。迈尔斯是她生命中最美的部分。他有与她相似的脸庞、体形和德克萨斯人特有的鼻音。他是我的,更是她的,从本质上更多地属于她。要知道,他身上有着她的基因。

After the first few months, after the unspeakable sadness of the funeral and learning the horrible details of Miles’s death, Terry came to Florida to help me sort through the things sent back from Iraq. There were two black plastic bins filled with Miles’s possessions, carefully labeled and organized, still covered with a fine dusting of Iraqi sand. Although they were legally mine I was next of kin, after all it didn’t feel right that I should have sole access to them.

前几个月过去了,经历了葬礼上无法言喻的悲伤,知晓了迈尔斯牺牲的可怕细节后,特丽来到佛罗里达州,帮我整理从伊拉克送回的遗物。两个黑色的塑料箱里装满了迈尔斯的东西,经过了仔细的分类整理,依然蒙着伊拉克沙漠的微尘。虽然从法律上讲,它们属于我,因为我是他最近的亲属,但由我独享这些遗物终究感觉不对劲。

We sat in my garage with the doors open while heavy sheets of rain poured down outside, and sifted through Miles’s life in the desert. We sorted through his notebooks and office supplies, his rolled socks and Army fatigues. We flipped through his CD collection and paged through his books.

我们坐在车库里,门开着,外面下着瓢泼大雨。我们仔细查看迈尔斯在沙漠里的生活。我们分类整理他的笔记本和办公用品、他卷好的袜子和军装。我们翻看他收藏的CD唱片,一页一页翻看他的书。

WHEN it was all too much too much to remember, too much life packed into those plastic containers — Terry stopped and pulled a T-shirt from the pile. She raised it to her face and breathed deeply, searching for some trace of Miles. She did not know what I knew, for I had already done the same: The Army had laundered his clothes before sending them home, and this, too, was lost.

两个塑料箱里装了太多太多回忆,太多他的生活,特丽停下来,从遗物堆里拿起一件T恤。她把它捧到脸上,深深地吸了一口气,寻找迈尔斯的气息。她还不知道,但我已经知道了,因为我曾经做过同一个动作――军队把他的衣服送回家之前,已经洗过了,所以他的气息也被洗掉了。

What remained was the space created by Miles’s absence, thick and palpable with our grief. Losing a spouse is in no way like losing a child, but all loss is in some way like losing ourselves. In the months after Miles’s death Terry and I struggled to reorient our own lives, and in that search we found each other. We began to bridge the distance that had been between us, bringing our shared love for Miles into the unknowable middle ground.

剩下的只有迈尔斯离去后留下的空白,因为我们的悲伤而显得格外清晰厚重。失去配偶没法跟失去孩子相比,但所有的失去在某种程度上都像是失去我们自己。迈尔斯去世几个月后,我和特丽努力重新开始自己的生活,在这个过程中,我们找到了彼此。我们开始拉近我们之间原本的距离,带着我们对迈尔斯共同的爱走入未知的中间地带。

At the military briefing following his death, we saw photos of the citrus orchard where his helicopter crashed, and we read the final seconds of audio from the in-flight voice recorder. “Pull up,” Miles had said at the very end. Terry stood behind me during the hardest parts, pressing her small hands into my shoulders.

在迈尔斯牺牲后的军队简报会上,我们看到了他的直升机坠毁的那个柑橘园的照片,我们也听了飞行声音记录仪上最后几秒的音频。“拉起来,”这就是迈尔斯的最后一句话。播放最难过的片段时,特丽站在我身后,小小的手紧紧按着我的肩膀。

I have heard people say that you should never marry a man who does not love his mother. I was lucky: Miles loved his mother fiercely. He loved me, too. In losing him, Terry and I have not divvied up this love, as we have with his other things. We have discovered that there is more than enough to share.

我听人说,绝不要嫁给一个不爱自己母亲的人。我很幸运:迈尔斯深爱着他的母亲。他也爱我。失去他以后,我和特丽分掉了他的遗物,但是这份爱是无法分割的,我们发现,我们可以分享的东西还有很多。

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