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交往一年了,我们仍在学习说“爱”

更新时间:2016-12-22 11:53:05 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

A Year In, and Still Trying to Say the ‘L’ Word
交往一年了,我们仍在学习说“爱”

The fortuneteller was wrong. Of course, I didn’t know it at the time.

那个占卜者说错了。当然,当时我并不知道。

This was on a Friday evening last March, the final night of a three-day vacation in New Orleans with my best friend. On a street between Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral, she and I sat on folding chairs, glued to the seats. Before us, a stranger had promised to expound on my future for $50.

那是在去年3月的一个周五晚上,是我和最好的朋友在新奥尔良度过的三天假期的最后一晚。在杰克逊广场和圣路易斯大教堂之间的一条街上,我们坐在折叠椅上,不肯起来。有个陌生人来到我们面前,说只要花上50美元,她就能预测我的未来。

At that price, she said, I could have the full experience: readings of my palms and her Tarot cards and divination crystals. Except, I wasn’t interested in the full experience. I only wanted the answer to one question, using the most inexpensive method available.

她说,那个价格能让我获得全套体验:看手相,以及用塔罗牌和水晶球预测未来。只不过,我对全套体验没兴趣。我只想用最便宜的方式知道一个问题的答案。

So I asked for the palm reading. Actually, I haggled my way to getting both the palm reading and a Tarot card reading for $30. As she took my hands in hers, my heart rate rose and my palms began to sweat.

所以我要求看手相。实际上,我跟她讲了讲价,花30美元既看了手相又算了塔罗牌。她把我的手放进她的手里时,我的心跳开始加速,掌心开始出汗。

Moments before, my friend had asked me if I believed in psychic predictions. I considered myself to be a hopeful skeptic, but a neophyte in the worlds of clairvoyance, soothsaying and any medium promising news of the future. Yet as I strolled the New Orleans streets and listened to the voodoo legends, I knew there was no better place for me to lose my fortunetelling innocence.

在那之前不久,我的朋友问我是否相信通灵预测。我觉得自己将信将疑,但是,在先知、预言以及任何通晓未来的媒介的世界里,我是菜鸟。不过,当我在新奥尔良街头漫步、聆听伏都教的传说时,我知道没有哪个地方比这里更适合开启我的占卜初体验。

But would I be O.K. with the fortune she saw for me? I was convinced I would not be.

但是,我能接受她给我预测的未来吗?当时我确信自己可以。

Wearing a pink hoodie and a crooked smile, the fortuneteller stared at the grid on my palms. Reading it like a map, she traced the lines with long, painted fingernails. As she did, I tried to keep an open mind and not be distracted by her chipped, hot-pink manicure or the too few teeth she revealed as she spoke. She began with the topic I wanted to hear about most: my love life.

占卜者身穿粉色兜帽上衣,微笑时一边嘴角向上,一边向下,她盯着我掌心的纹路。她用长长的涂了色的指甲追寻那些线条,就像在看地图。她这样做的时候,我尽量保持开放的心态,不去注意她那业已斑驳的桃红色指甲油以及她开口说话时露出的稀稀拉拉的牙齿。她首先讲到我最想听的话题:我的爱情生活。

“You’ve been hurt before,” she said.

“你受过伤,”她说。

Typical opening line. Of course I had been hurt before. Hasn’t everyone? My eyes darted warily to my travel companion, and I nodded.

这是一句典型的开场白。我当然受过伤。谁没有呢?我警惕地瞟了我的旅伴一眼,点了点头。

The fortuneteller asked for the name of the person who had hurt me. Then she probed my memories of another failed relationship. After I had named two men I had attempted to forget, she asked me to confirm the presence of a new one in my life.

占卜者让我告诉她伤害我的人的名字。然后打探了我的另一段失败的恋情。在我说出两个我努力忘记的男人的名字之后,她说我的生活中出现了一个新的人,问我她说的对不对。

I nodded again, not sure if I should run away, hold my breath or sit frozen in my seat. She wanted me to say his name. I told her.

我再次点了点头,不知道自己是应该逃走,还是屏住呼吸,还是僵硬地坐在那里。她想让我说出他的名字。我告诉了她。

“He loves you,” she said, “but he has a funny way of showing it.”

“他爱你,”她说,“不过他表达爱的方式有点怪。”

There it was. Without even asking, I had an answer to the question that had been torturing me for weeks.

就是这个。我还没问,就得到了困扰我数周的问题的答案。

My boyfriend and I were nearing the anniversary of our first date. We had met through Hinge, a dating app that relies on social networks. He was only the second person from the app I had agreed to meet in real life.

我和男朋友从第一次约会到现在差不多一年了。我们是通过Hinge认识的,那是一个基于社交网络的约会软件。他是第二个我同意在现实生活中见面的人。

Our first date was on a Monday evening, and it lasted almost three hours. Instead of choosing a bottle, we ordered too many glasses of red wine, talked about our mutual appreciation for “The West Wing” and agreed that marathon running is its own form of masochism. When we called it a night, we dispersed with a hug and his request that I text him when I made it home.

第一次约会是在某个周一的晚上,我们一起度过了将近3个钟头。当时,我们没点成瓶的红酒,而是点了很多很多杯红酒,谈到了对《白宫风云》(The West Wing)的共同喜爱,并一致同意跑马拉松是一种受虐形式。约会结束时,我们在分别前拥抱了一下,他让我到家后发个短信给他。

I did so, and texted him again less than 24 hours later, telling him I hoped he enjoyed the concert he had mentioned he was planning to see that evening. A day passed before my phone lit up with his name. He loved the show, he wrote, and he wanted a second date.

我按照他的要求做了,并在不到24小时之后再度发短信说,希望他很享受他此前提到过的打算在那天晚上去听的音乐会。一天后,他的名字出现在我的手机屏幕上。他写道,他喜欢那场演出,想要和我再次约会。

Twelve months later, we were still together, seeing each other as often as three or four times a week, and I was starting to feel something different about us. I had never been in love, but something told me this was what it felt like.

12个月过后,我们依然在一起,每周约会三到四次,我开始觉得我们之间的关系有些不同。我以前从未遭遇过爱情,但一些迹象告诉我,爱就是这种感觉。

And yet, despite all of that, neither of us had uttered the word. If I felt this way, wouldn’t it make sense that he did too? I wondered if I should say it first, or wait for him to. I kept silent, while he, too, said nothing.

尽管如此,我们俩都不曾把爱字说出口。如果我觉得是这样,难道不意味着他也有同感吗?我不知道自己是该先说出来,还是该等他开口。我保持了沉默,而他也什么都没说。

Tired of waiting, I hoped the fortuneteller would give me the sense of clarity I needed.

我厌倦了等待,希望占卜者为我带来我所需要的豁然开朗之感。

By saying plainly that my boyfriend loved me, she had. And maybe his “funny way of showing it” meant he was unable to say those words himself.

通过直截了当地宣布我男朋友爱我,她做到了这一点。而他“用以表达爱意的古怪方式”或许意味着他无法亲口说出这样的话。

Whatever the case, I had gotten what I wanted and was ready to go, but the fortuneteller continued, shuffling a deck of Tarot cards and predicting I would live to be 96. Her words then became lost amid a cacophony of street noise, and as the cathedral bells rang in the new hour, I took it as our cue to leave.

无论如何,我已经得到了想要的答案,准备离开,但占卜者没有停下来,一边洗一副塔罗牌一边预言我会活到96岁。她的话随后被淹没在街头的嘈杂喧嚣之中,当教堂的钟声在另一个小时开始之际响起的时候,我觉得我们该离开了。

Three weeks later, back home in Washington, I still had not said anything to my boyfriend about the experience. I had teased him about my pricey glance into the future but had resisted mentioning the fortuneteller’s assessment. Meanwhile, her words haunted me, urging me to action, until one night at his apartment, I felt ready to give voice to my feelings.

回到位于华盛顿的家中三周后,我仍然没向男朋友透露关于这段经历的任何细节。我逗弄他说,我花大价钱窥探了一下未来,但不愿提起占卜者给出的评语。与此同时,她的话一直萦绕在我脑海中,敦促我采取行动,直到一天晚上,在他的公寓里,我觉得自己已经做好了准备,可以说出内心的感受。

Standing in front of the microwave, I studied its buttons, wondering whether to trust the popcorn function. My boyfriend uncorked a bottle of wine, and as I heard the cork pop, I turned to the man I had been dating for over a year. My body surged with emotion, lighting my face with happiness. We both smiled. The popping kernels reminded me of the St. Louis Cathedral bells, and I felt transported back to New Orleans. We proceeded to drink the wine but failed to finish the popcorn.

我站在微波炉前研究它的按钮,不知是否应该相信那个做爆米花的功能。我的男朋友开了一瓶红酒,听到拔出软木塞的声音时,我转向了跟我约会了一年多的这个男人。我心潮澎湃,脸上闪耀着幸福的光晕。我们都笑了。爆米花爆开的劈啪声让我想起了圣路易斯大教堂(St. Louis Cathedral)的钟声,我仿佛穿越回了新奥尔良。我们开始喝红酒,但没能把爆米花吃光。

On his bed, we embraced as I stared into his eyes. “Can I tell you something?” I asked in a whisper.

在他床上相拥的时候,我盯着他的眼睛。“我能跟你说件事吗?”我在他耳旁轻声说道。

“Of course,” he said, mimicking my hushed tone.

“当然可以,”他模仿着我的低沉语调。

I paused and took a breath. “I love you.” There. I had said it.

我停顿了一下,深吸一口气。“我爱你。”瞧,我说了出来。

At first, he didn’t say anything. An agonizing pause. Then, finally, he muttered, “Thank you.”

起初,他什么都没说。时间停滞了,弥漫着痛苦的味道。后来,他终于轻声说,“谢谢你。”

I waited to hear him repeat my words, but he didn’t, and everything in me that had felt joyful and optimistic drained away.

我等着听他重复我说过的话,但他没有,我心里的一切开心和乐观都渐渐消失了。

As we talked more, he could neither echo my sentiment nor give me a reason he couldn’t. I thought of the fortuneteller’s words: “He loves you, but he has a funny way of showing it.”

在我们接下来的交谈中,他既不能在感情上和我共鸣,也无法给我一个不能与我共鸣的理由。我想起了算命人的话:“他爱你,但他表达爱的方式有点怪。”

This wasn’t funny; it was gut-wrenching. Maybe he was afraid to confess his love because of what it might mean for us and the future. If so, I could relate. I had waited weeks before bringing it up, because it scared me too.

这不是怪,是虐心。也许他害怕承认心中的爱是因为这对我们和未来可能意味着什么。如果是这样,我能够理解。我等了好几周才提出这件事,因为我也被吓着了。

Amid my tears, I was quick to dismiss what he was saying — and not saying — because I didn’t want to believe him. I had no more belief in palm reading or fortunetelling, but all I could think about were the words from the woman with the missing teeth. If I could believe a stranger in New Orleans, why not the response of a man I had been with for 13 months now?

我泪如泉涌,立即不再考虑他说了什么,没说什么,因为我不愿相信他。我不再相信看手相和算命,但我唯一能想到的只有那个没剩几颗牙的女人说的话。如果我能相信新奥尔良的一个陌生人,那么我现在为什么不能相信一个已经交往了13个月的男人的回答?

It’s hard to say which has more ingredients: a New Orleans Hand Grenade cocktail, or a case of heartbreak. That day didn’t end us, but it was the beginning of our end.

很难说是新奥尔良的手雷鸡尾酒,还是一件令人心碎的事情更让人觉得五味杂陈。那一天不是我们关系的结束,但是我们关系结束的开始。

A few weeks later, with still no mention of the “L” word from him, we broke up. We couldn’t rectify his inability to reciprocate how I felt. Ever since my unanswered profession of love, he’d felt burdened and guilty, he said. In a few months, he would be leaving Washington to pursue a Ph.D. in economics. Although he didn’t say it, I came to realize that being in love with me did not, in a practical sense, align with his immediate career plans.

几周后,在依旧没听到他提及以“L”开头的那个词的情况下,我们分手了。我们无法修复他不能回应我的感受这件事。他说,自从我向他表白爱意却没得到回应后,他一直觉得内疚,有负担。再过几个月,他就要离开华盛顿去攻读经济学博士学位了。尽管他没有说出来,但我慢慢意识到,从现实的角度看去,和我相爱与他近期的职业规划不符。

I spent the weeks after our breakup feeling sad and depressed, wondering what I could have done to make him love me. Often, I thought about the fortuneteller and whether I had been naïve to put my trust in her. But I kept coming back to a single truth: She might have been wrong about my boyfriend’s feelings, but she had given me the courage to do something I had been too scared to do.

分手后的几周里,我感到悲伤和沮丧,想知道自己本来应该怎么做,就能让他爱我了。我常常想起那个算命人,并自问去相信她是不是幼稚的行为。但我总会回到一个事实:她对我男朋友的感情的判断可能是错的,但她给了我勇气,让我去做之前因为太害怕而不敢做的事情。

In telling my boyfriend that I loved him, the worst thing that could have happened did: I lost him. Yet in doing so, I acknowledged my capacity and my limits in matters of love.

告诉男友我爱他后,的确发生了可能会发生的最糟糕的事情:我失去了他。但在这么做时,我承认了自己在爱情方面的能力和极限。

He will always be the first man I loved, and for this I am grateful. I couldn’t force him to love me, and I couldn’t stay if he didn’t feel the same.

他将永远是我爱过的第一个男人,对此我心存感激。我不能强迫他爱我,而如果他的感受和我的不一样,我也不能再坚持下去。

Sometimes life has a funny way of revealing to us what is best. But as the fortuneteller’s words ultimately taught me, how we show love shouldn’t be one of those funny things.

有时候,生活会用一种有趣的方式向我们展示什么是最好的。但正如那个算命人的话最终教会我的一样,我们表达爱的方式不应成为古怪的事情之一。

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