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当月光少女遇上阳光少年

更新时间:2016-12-27 10:57:50 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Night Girl Finds a Day Boy
当月光少女遇上阳光少年

I stumbled across Justin’s online dating profile while waiting for water to boil. I had just gotten home from running errands — A.T.M., mailbox, grocery store — and was cooking dinner before sitting down to work.

在等待水烧开的空档,我偶然看到了贾斯汀(Justin)的在线约会个人主页。此前我刚刚办完一堆差事回到家中——从自动柜员机取款,查看信箱,去食杂店买东西——赶在坐下来工作前准备正餐。

It was just after 4 a.m.

当时刚过凌晨四点。

“Message me if you want to talk about anything and everything until the wee hours of the night,” his profile said.

“如果你想探讨任何事情,请发信息给我,凌晨之前都可以,”他在个人主页上写道。

The phrase “wee hours,” as it turns out, means different things to different people. For him, a software engineer with an eye for design who can wail on an electric guitar, the wee hours are 2 a.m., maybe 3. For me, it’s a little more complicated.

事实证明,在不同的人看来,“凌晨”有着不同的含义。对他这样一名喜欢设计的软件工程师来说,凌晨指后半夜两点,也许是三点。对我来说,事情则有点复杂。

I have a circadian rhythm disorder called delayed sleep phase syndrome. It’s not insomnia; I’ve never had trouble sleeping. It’s that my circadian clock tells me it’s time for bed when the sun is rising and time to wake up as it’s setting. As these things go, I’m an extreme case — a vampire, basically — offset from society’s clock by approximately eight hours.

我有昼夜节奏紊乱的问题,即睡眠相位后移综合症。它不是失眠;我从来都不会睡不着觉。但我的生物钟会在日出时告诉我该上床休息了,在日落时告诉我该醒来了。这样一来,我就成了极端特例——基本就像吸血鬼一样——偏离被社会认可的时钟约八小时。

My father is similarly chrono-challenged, as was his mother. As a child, I struggled to live in the diurnal world. Some children feel they were born into the wrong body. Me? I felt as if I were born into the wrong time.

我父亲同样面临着作息方面的挑战,就像他的母亲一样。还是个孩子的时候,我就难以适应昼出夜伏的世界。一些孩子觉得自己生在了错误的身体里。而我觉得自己生在了错误的时区里。

Now, as a freelance writer making my own schedule, I have reveled in the freedom to live by my own clock, going to bed around 8 or 9 a.m. and waking around 4 or 5 p.m., though some “nights” I stay up late, going to sleep by noon and getting up at 8.

现在,作为一名自行制定个人日程表的自由撰稿人,我沉浸于按照自己的时钟生活的自由之中,每天早上八九点钟上床,下午四五点钟醒来,但有时也会“熬夜”,中午就寝,晚上八点起床。

I’ve always lived in cities — New York, Philadelphia, London, Boston — yet my world is sparsely populated. There are no lines when I grocery shop, only an obstacle course of restocking boxes. No traffic when I drive. No phone calls, emails or social media stir as I work.

我一直生活在城市里——纽约、费城、伦敦、波士顿——但我的世界人烟稀薄。我去食杂店时看不到排起的长队,需要跨越的唯一障碍是补货的箱子。我开车时没有拥堵。我工作时不会收到电话和电邮,也不会被社交媒体上的喧嚣干扰。

Alone with my books and my thoughts, I write about physics.

当我书写与物理有关的文字时,唯有我自己的书籍和思想为伴。

Being nocturnal isn’t a requirement for physics writing, but it helps. The dark of night is perfect for contemplating the universe. With everything silent and still, it’s easier to notice the cracks in reality’s facade.

身为夜猫子并不是进行物理学写作的必要条件,但的确有所帮助。在暗夜中思索宇宙的奥秘,是再合适不过的。当所有的一切都归于沉寂的时候,更容易注意到现实假象的裂缝。

Of course, my chronologic freedom comes with a few technical difficulties, such as an inability to take calls from editors, listen to music without headphones or remember what day of the week it is, since my days are always changing in the middle.

当然了,我在作息方面的自由遭遇了几个技术上的难题,比如无法接编辑打来的电话,无法不戴耳机听音乐,无法记住每一天是星期几,因为我的一天总是从半截儿算起。

Then there’s dating. First dates usually go O.K. because they’re in the evening, but complications quickly arise. It’s hard to explain to a date that you don’t want to drink at dinner because you’ve just woken up and have a full workday ahead. You tire of saying you can’t go to brunch or to the beach because you’ll be sound asleep. When they ask why you don’t just go to bed earlier, as if perhaps you’d never thought of that, you have to explain that your inverted schedule isn’t a preference.

还有就是约会。最初的约会通常比较顺利,因为会被安排在晚上,但困难很快就会出现。你难以向约会对象解释清楚,你吃晚餐时不想喝酒,因为你刚刚起床,还有一天的工作要做。你厌倦了告诉对方,你不能出去吃早午餐或者去海滩,因为你那时已然沉沉入睡。当被问及为何不早点上床睡觉的时候——就好像你从来都没想到过这一点一样——你不得不向他们解释,昼伏夜出并不是你的偏好。

On my first date with Justin, we went to an art museum at 7 p.m., where we spoke easily about our families and passions, software and string theory. I learned that he had a 9-to-5 job (not my 9 to 5 — the other one) and enjoyed cycling and being “out in the sunshine.”

第一次和贾斯汀约会,我们在晚上七点去了一家艺术博物馆,在那里轻松地谈论家人和爱好、软件和弦理论。我得知他有一份朝九晚五的工作(不同于我的晚九朝五),喜欢骑自行车,喜欢沐浴在“户外的阳光里”。

I didn’t mention that I was midway through a regimen of prescription vitamin D, administered in blitzkrieg doses. “Sunshine” was not in my vocabulary.

我没提及自己正按照医生的处方猛补维生素D。我的字典里根本没有“阳光”这个词。

For our second date, it was my turn to make plans. “I know you’re on a normal human schedule,” I texted him. “But the Perseid meteor shower peaks tomorrow night. Want to find a dark spot and watch?”

第二次约会时,轮到我制定计划了。“我知道你是一个作息时间正常的人,”我在发给他的信息中写道。“但英仙座流星雨将在明晚达到高潮。想要找个黑暗的角落一起观赏吗?”

“Despite being a normal human,” he replied, “I’m totally down for that.”

“虽说是个正常人,”他回复道,“但我对此非常感兴趣。”

At midnight, we found a cozy spot by the Charles River and gazed upward, watching for the stray dust of an ancient comet. Despite the city lights, we saw three meteors blaze above the Boston skyline.

午夜时分,我们在查理斯河边找到了一个舒服的地方,仰望夜空,看着源自一颗古老彗星的飘散而过的尘埃。尽管城市里闪耀着灯火,我们还是看到三颗流星在波士顿天际线上方划过。

We talked about starlight, how it had begun its journey thousands of years ago and we were looking back in time. I thought how in a sense that’s always true: My now is not the same as his and never will be. There’s always a delay, each of us living in the immediate past of the other, regardless of how tightly he wrapped his arms around my waist. We are all trapped in our own time zones. The best we can do is try to meet in an imaginary middle.

我们谈论星光,说起它如何于数千年前就踏上旅程,而我们其实是在回望过去。我发现在某种意义上,事情竟然总是如此:我的现在和他的现在不是一回事,而且永远也不会是一回事。延迟永远存在,我们俩都活在对方刚刚度过的时间里,不论他如何紧紧地搂着我的腰。我们都被困在各自的时区里,最好的情况是设法在想象中的中点碰头。

So that’s what we did. He booked us a trip to go night skiing. I made it to the beach in time to feel the sun on my skin. He rigged up a high-powered bike light and took me for a long ride in the summer dark. I ate Thai food for breakfast; he ate pancakes for dinner.

于是我们这样做了。他为我们俩预定了一趟夜间滑雪的行程。我也及时赶到海滩上,体会了阳光洒在皮肤上的感觉。他给自行车配备了一盏高功率的车灯,载着我在一个夏夜里骑行了好长一段路。我拿泰国风味的食物当早餐;他则拿薄饼当晚餐。

Eventually, however, the constant compromise made for two grumpy, bleary-eyed shells of human beings. We were in love but exhausted and ready to give up, resigned to nursing our heartache from the opposite side of a circadian rhythm. He went back to his hometown in Maine to clear his head. I returned to the night to live in mine.

然而,这种持续不断的妥协最终造就了两具脾气暴躁、睡眼惺忪的躯壳。我们爱着彼此,但却精疲力竭,甚至准备就此放弃,默默治疗由截然相反的生物钟引发的内心伤痛。他回到位于缅因州的故乡去厘清思路。我则回归了黑夜,那是我自己的故乡。

One afternoon (i.e., just after midnight), I got an email from him suggesting we try a new approach.

一天下午(意即午夜过后),他发来一封邮件,建议我们采取一种新的相处模式。

“There is no world we both occupy at the same time,” he wrote. “It’s an illusion. We don’t actually need to find that.” Instead of fighting our difference, he said, let’s just love each other from across the clock.

“我们俩同时占据的世界并不存在,”他写道。“它是一种幻觉。我们其实不必寻找它。”与其对抗我们的差异,他说,我们不如隔着时间相爱。

So we decided to move in together. We found an attic apartment with tons of skylights, where sunlight would flood the living room during his day and moonlight would stream through the ceiling during mine. We were still unpacking boxes when there was a total lunar eclipse, and we pulled a lounge chair into the kitchen and watched as the earth’s shadow slid across a terra cotta moon.

于是我们决定同居。我们找到了一套带有很多天窗的阁楼公寓,阳光会透过天窗在他的白天照进起居室,月光则会在我的白天倾泻而入。当我们还在拆箱的时候,全月食出现了。我们把一张躺椅拖进厨房,看着月亮在地球的阴影扫过之际变成古铜色。

As a token of our new living arrangement, I gave Justin an illustrated edition of “The Day Boy and the Night Girl,” a fairy tale by George MacDonald from 1882. Snuggling on the couch, we took turns reading chapters aloud to each other.

作为我们全新的生活安排的象征,我送给贾斯汀一本插画版《日之少年与夜之少女》(The Day Boy and The Night Girl),这是乔治·麦克唐纳(George MacDonald)写于1882年的一个童话故事。我们偎依在沙发上,轮流为彼此诵读书中的章节。

In the story, a witch raises two children in captivity, allowing the boy to see only day and the girl only night. But one day, the boy stays out longer than he’s supposed to, and when it gets dark, he becomes terrified. The girl finds him shaking in the garden and tries to comfort him, explaining “how gentle and sweet the darkness is, how kind and friendly, how soft and velvety!”

在这个故事里,一个女巫圈养着两个孩子,让男孩只能看到白天,让女孩只能看到黑夜。但有一天,男孩待在外边的时间超出了规定,当天色变暗的时候,他很害怕。女孩发现他在花园里瑟瑟发抖,试图安慰他,向他解释“黑暗是多么温柔甜蜜,多么善良友好,多么柔软光滑!”

Since she’s wide awake, she promises to watch over him while he sleeps. When the sun rises, he awakens to find that now she’s scared, a stranger to the sun, and so he carries her in his arms while she sleeps until dark.

由于她正处于完全清醒的状态,于是承诺在他睡觉时看护他。当他在太阳升起之际醒来,发现她正惊魂未定,因为从未见过太阳,于是让她在自己怀中睡去,直到黑夜降临。

Justin and I figured we would do the same. When a repairman insisted on coming at noon, Justin stayed home so I wouldn’t lose a night’s sleep. When he didn’t have time to buy wrapping paper for birthday gifts, I had them ready with ribbons by morning.

我和贾斯汀认为,我们俩也可以如此行事。当修理工非得在中午上门的时候,贾斯汀会留在家中,以免我“彻夜”无法入眠。当他没空买生日礼物包装纸的时候,我会在早上到来前准备好包装纸和丝带。

I always made sure to wake up before he got home from work so we could cook and eat together — his dinner, my breakfast. Then he’d go to bed, and I’d write for hours beneath the moon. Eventually, I would crawl quietly into his arms and we’d dream happily alongside each other — for a few minutes, anyway, before he had to get up.

我总是确保自己在他下班回家之前起床,这样一来我们就能一同烹饪和进餐——他的晚餐,我的早餐。然后他上床睡觉,我则在月光下写上几个小时。最终,我会悄悄溜进他怀里,我们会一同幸福地进入梦乡——尽管只有几分钟,在他不得不起床之前。

On weekends, he played guitar, saw friends, soaked in the sunshine, all while I was still dreaming. By the time I dragged myself to the coffee maker, he’d cycled 35 miles and eaten two meals. With the sun setting, he greeted me with a happy “Good morning!” He told me about his day; I told him about my yesterday.

周末,当他弹吉他、见朋友、晒太阳的时候,我仍在梦乡之中。等到我把自己拖到咖啡机前,他已经骑行了35公里,吃过了两餐饭。太阳下山时,他会用一句欢快的“早上好”跟我打招呼。接着,他把自己一天的经历讲给我听;我则把自己前一天的经历讲给他听。

And so it went, the earth spinning for each of us in turn. We made the most of the hours when our lives overlapped, then let each other thrive in our own times, like animals in our wilds.

就这样,地球轮番为我们俩旋转。我们充分利用了两人生活中相互重合的那些小时,然后让对方在各自的时间里自得其乐。

In August, the earth made its annual pass through the dust and debris of that ancient comet. Late that night, Justin drove me to a secluded beach on the north shore of Massachusetts where a handful of stargazers stared skyward. He put down a blanket as frogs croaked in the distance. Then he fumbled in his camera bag, pulling out a small black box. I couldn’t see what was inside, just a glint, like the flicker of a star. Then he asked, “Will you marry me?”

到了8月份,地球像往年一样,又从那颗古老彗星的尘埃和碎片中经过。当天深夜,贾斯汀开车将我载至马塞诸塞州北海岸一处僻静的沙滩,那里只有不多的几个人在看星星。他就着远处的蛙鸣铺开一条毯子,又在相机包里摸索一番,拿出一个黑色的小盒子。我看不清盒子里装着什么,只看到闪耀的光芒,就好像星星眨着眼睛。然后他问,“你愿意嫁给我吗?”

We lay back on the blanket, grinning, as meteors streaked the sky. By then it was nearly 2 a.m., too late to call anyone, to squeal our news to family and friends. Instead we just lay there in our shared place and time, surrounded by sand and ocean and a few hundred billion stars.

我们仰面躺在毯子上,在流行划过夜空之际咧着嘴笑。当时已经接近凌晨两点,太晚了,不好打电话给任何亲朋好友汇报我们的喜讯。因此我们只是躺在那儿,躺在我们共同的时空里,周围是沙滩、海洋和数不清的星星。

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