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264次理发、我的秘密和一段婚姻的结束

更新时间:2017-2-16 10:24:04 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

After 264 Haircuts, a Marriage Ends
264次理发、我的秘密和一段婚姻的结束

Elizabeth lofted the black cape as I watched it billow in front of me like a sheet blossoming on a clothesline. She fastened the buttons around my neck, placed her hands on either side of my head and whispered, “I can’t do this anymore.”

伊丽莎白扬起那个黑色的披肩,我看着它在我面前鼓胀着飘了起来,犹如晾衣绳上展开的床单。她系上我脖子周围的扣子、把两只手放在我脑袋的两边并低声说,“我再也不能这么做了。”

“Do what?” I asked.

“做什么?”我问。

“This,” she said, gesturing around us. “I have to let you go.”

“这件事,”她一边说,一边在我们周围打手势。“我必须放你走。”

Still, she reached into a black case and pulled out scissors and a comb. The scent of freshly cut grass drifted through an open kitchen window along with the squeals of neighborhood children.

但她仍伸手从一个黑色的箱子里拿出了剪刀和一把梳子。刚刚修剪过的草坪散发出的气味,连同邻居家孩子的尖叫声,透过一扇开着的厨房窗户飘了进来。

“Who will cut your hair?” she asked.

“以后谁给你理发?”她问。

I shrugged my shoulders.

我耸了耸肩。

For more than 22 years, roughly 264 haircuts, we had shared this ritual. She would run her hands through my hair, nudging my head forward and sideways, her fingers mere inches away from the secret thoughts and desires swirling inside of my skull.

在超过22年的时间里,大约理了264次发,这是我们共同的习惯。她会把双手放进我的头发里,轻轻推着我的头偏向前面和侧面。她的手指距离在我脑海里翻腾的秘密和欲望只有咫尺之遥。

She pulled up a swath of hair with a comb and began to snip.

她用梳子挑起一绺头发开始剪。

When we first met, in the 1980s, I wore my hair parted on the side, a preppy conservative look. On our second date, she swept back my bangs with her fingertips and offered to cut my hair for the first time. Over the years, clumps of my dark hair have slid down the cape and pooled on the kitchen floor. Eventually, the side part vanished and flecks of gray started to mingle with the black. Now, the hair that fell was mostly gray, peppered with black strands.

我们第一次见面是在80年代。当时,我留着偏分的发型,看上去颇为传统和保守。第二次约会时,她用指尖把我额前垂下的头发拨了回去,并第一次主动提出要给我理发。这么多年过去了,我的一绺绺黑发沿着这块披肩滑落,堆积在厨房的地上。最终,我的偏分发型消失了,黑发中开始夹杂着灰发。现在,掉落的头发中以灰发为主,夹杂着黑发。

“Do you have the clippers?” I asked.

“有推子吗?”我问。

She reached into the case and pulled out the heavy Wahls. When she turned them on, they emitted a low electronic buzz.

她伸手从箱子里拿出那把沉重的华尔(Wahl)牌推子。她打开推子后,它发出一阵低沉的电子嗡嗡声。

“Cut it all off,” I said.

“都剪了,”我说。

“What?”

“什么?”

“I want you to buzz it all off.”

“我想让你把头发都推了。”

If I didn’t have any hair, it wouldn’t matter that I no longer had her to cut it.

如果一根头发都没有了,不能再让她给我理发也就无关紧要了。

“Go on,” I said. “Do it.”

“来吧,”我说。“动手吧。”

I watched the hair tumble onto the cape. Her breasts pressed against my shoulder as her hand brushed the hair from my head. And then I felt something wet fall on my cheek. I heard a sound, like a hiccup, and then I heard it again, but it was more like a sucking noise, like someone trying to catch a breath. Her tears began to fall.

我看着头发落到披肩上。她把胸部靠在我的肩膀上,用一只手捋我的头发。这时,我感觉到有湿漉漉的东西掉到我的脸颊上。我听到一个声音,像打嗝,然后又听到了一声,但它更像吸气的声音,就像人努力喘气一样。她的眼泪开始往下掉。

“Shh, it’s O.K.,” I said.

“嘘,没事的,”我说。

She stood back, her face red and blotchy. “It’s just that you look so different now.”

她往后站了站,脸色通红,满脸泪痕。”只是因为你现在看上去完全不一样了。“

She held up a mirror, and I winced. “Oh man,” I said. There was something honest and bold about the look. “Shave off the rest.”

她拿起一面镜子,我皱了皱眉。“哎呦,天哪,”我说。那个样子有一种率直和大胆的感觉。“把剩下的也剃了。”

“But you’ll look like a cancer patient.”

“但那会让你看起来像个癌症病人。”

“It’s just hair.”

“只是头发而已。”

She finished. As if my thoughts had been laid bare, too, she said: “You know I’m stronger now. I can make it on my own.”

她剃完了。像是我的想法也暴露在外了一样,她说:“你知道的,我现在更坚强了。我自己能做到。”

“I know that,” I said.

“我知道,”我说。

For two months, ever since I moved out, we had been engaged in a weekend dance of me visiting to keep contact with our girls, staying in our home in Virginia as if nothing had changed. But everything had changed.

在我搬出去后的两个月里,我们一到周末就要演戏。我会回家,以便保持和女儿的联系,并住在我们位于弗吉尼亚州的家里,就像什么都没变一样。但一切都变了。

She rubbed lotion on my neck and pulled out the straight razor. I felt the cool metal on my skin as she nudged my head forward and down with her fingertips.

她把润肤液抹在我的脖子上,并拿出了剃刀。在她用指尖轻轻推着我的头往前和往下偏时,我感觉到了金属接触皮肤时传来的凉意。

I closed my eyes. I could hear our 14-year-old daughter chattering on the telephone and laughter coming from the TV. Our dog’s claws clicked across the floor.

我闭上了眼睛,能听到我们14岁的女儿在电话上聊天的声音和从电视机里传来的笑声。我们那只狗的爪子在地上发出咔哒声。

“I didn’t cheat on you,” I said, keeping my head down and my eyes closed.

“我没有出过轨,”我说,依然低着头,闭着眼。

The blade stood still for a moment, then skimmed down the back of my neck.

刀片停留了一会儿,然后移到了后勃颈。

“I had to get that H.I.V. test,” she said, “because you were acting so out of character.”

“我不得不做那个HIV检测,”她说,“因为你表现得太反常了。”

I was offended when she had first told me this. How many times had we made love? Was it greater or fewer than the number of haircuts? Of course the test was negative. I could count on one hand the number of people I had been intimate with before her.

她第一次对我这么说时,我感到很恼火。我们做过多少次爱?比理发的次数多还是少?检测结果当然是阴性的。我用一只手就能数清在她之前,我和多少人有过亲密接触。

The first was my childhood neighbor in Greensboro, N.C. He and I were too young to understand our dark fumbling during sleepovers. In college, I lost my virginity to Sally, a red-haired flute player, in a rite of passage that I simply wanted to get over.

第一个是我童年时在北卡罗来纳州格林斯伯勒的邻居。那时他和我都还太小,不懂我们在外过夜时在黑暗中笨拙摸索的行为。上大学时,作为成年礼,我把自己的第一次给了一头红发的长笛演奏者萨利(Sally)。那时,我只是想跨过那一步。

When I was 20 and in Colorado for the summer with my aunt Sheila and her psychic girlfriend, I stumbled out of a bar on the edge of town walking arm in arm with Don, my aunt’s handsome young friend. Under the shadow of Pikes Peak, he and I kissed. I heard Sheila’s voice in the distance calling out, “He’s not sure if he’s gay yet, Don!”

20岁的时候,我与姨妈希拉(Sheila)和她那个灵媒女友在科罗拉多州避暑。我跌跌撞撞地走出位于城市边缘的酒吧,和我姨妈年轻英俊的朋友唐(Don)相互挽着胳膊散步。在派克峰的阴影下,我们接吻了。我听到希拉在远处大喊,“他还不确定自己是不是同性恋呢,唐!”

But I knew.

但我知道。

When I first started seeing Elizabeth, at 21, I told her about Sally but not Don. That part of my life was supposed to have been erased by conversion therapy, which involved me praying with my mother at the dining room table every day not to be the way I was.

21岁开始和伊丽莎白交往时,我就和她说了萨利的事,但没有说唐的事情。我生命中的那一部分本应该已经被改变治疗抹去了。在这种治疗中,母亲和我每天都会坐在餐桌旁,祈祷我不是那样的。

The first time Elizabeth and I had sex was on a sofa in my brother’s off-campus apartment in Raleigh, N.C. Neither of us was a virgin, so there was no awkward fumbling, just as there was no passionate taboo. I recognized it for what it was; this was as good as it could get.

我和伊丽莎白第一次发生性关系是在我哥哥在北卡罗来纳州罗利的校外公寓的沙发上。我们两人都不是第一次,所以没有令人尴尬的笨拙摸索,但同样也没有令人充满激情的禁忌。我对那一次有着准确的认识,我已经做到最好了。

For more than 22 years, after our daughters were born and as my hair became grayer and Elizabeth’s body became softer, I kept my secret locked away. Then, on a Wednesday night 10 years ago in a Walmart parking lot, Elizabeth saved me. “Are you gay?” she asked.

在超过22年的时间里,在我们的女儿出生后,随着我的头发变得更加灰白,伊丽莎白的身体变得更加柔软,我藏起了自己的秘密。后来,十年前一个周三的晚上,在沃尔玛(Walmart)的停车场里,伊丽莎白救了我。“你是同性恋吗?”她问。

“I don’t want to be,” I said.

“我不想是,”我说。

Shortly after, our marriage ended, but while I was still making my weekend visits, there was Ray. On our second date, I ripped the clothing off his body. Afterward, he held up his pants and examined the broken zipper and popped button.

不久后,我们的婚姻结束了。在我依然会在周末回家期间,我遇到了雷(Ray)。第二次约会时,我扯下了他的衣服。事后,他拿起裤子检查被扯坏的拉链和崩落的纽扣。

“Those were my favorite pants,” he said. I laughed. He did not.

“这是我最喜欢的裤子了,”他说。我笑了。他没有。

Elizabeth brushed the hair from my shoulders and removed the cape. I stood up, put on my shirt, and pulled the broom from the kitchen closet to sweep up.

伊丽莎白扫掉我肩上的头发,脱下了罩袍。我站起来,穿上衬衫,到厨房壁橱拿来扫帚开始扫地。

When the girls went to bed, I wandered the house taking stock of things that were no longer mine. There on the dining room table was the blue metal pitcher we found in an antique shop in New Hampshire. This painting, above the brick mantel, was my 20th wedding anniversary gift to her. Here was the sofa where Elizabeth and I once lay side by side with a sleeping dog at our feet. The wooden floors creaked as I passed.

孩子们上床睡觉时,我在房子里四处走着,查看那些已经不属于我的东西。餐厅桌上有个蓝色金属水壶,是我们在新罕布什尔一家古玩行找到的。砖砌壁炉上方的画,是我送给她的20周年结婚纪念礼物。伊丽莎白和我曾经肩并肩坐在这沙发上,脚上躺着一条呼呼大睡的狗。木地板走起来会吱嘎作响。

When I reached the top of the stairs, Elizabeth stood motionless in the dark hall.

我走到楼梯尽头时,伊丽莎白站在黑暗的厅里一动不动。

“Can I sleep with you, just sleep, this one last night?” I asked.

“这是最后一晚了,我可以和你一起睡吗?只是睡觉,”我问。

“Don’t wake me in the morning,” she said.

“早上不要叫醒我,”她说。

She removed her nightgown. I took off my shirt.

她脱掉睡衣。我脱掉衬衫。

That was her side of the bed, and this used to be mine. Here was the blue comforter where we cradled our newborn girls. These were the pillows flattened with use.

她曾经睡在床的这一边,这张床曾经是我的。我们曾用这条蓝色的厚被包裹我们新生的女儿。这些枕头已经被我们用得扁平。

I lay awake on my back. She rested her hand on my neck. I turned to my right side, and she to her left as we twisted in our bittersweet ballet of goodbye.

我仰面躺着,无法入睡。她把手放在我的脖子上。我转向右边,她转向左边,我们在这支悲喜交集的告别芭蕾中扭曲着身体。

In the grainy morning light, I closed the bedroom door and tiptoed to my daughters’ rooms. This was Sophie’s. Those were the boxes filled with her dolls. I tucked her dark hair behind her ear and kissed her warm cheek.

在微熹的晨光中,我关上卧室的门,蹑手蹑脚地走进女儿们的房间。这是苏菲的房间。那些盒子里装满了她的娃娃。我把她的黑发拂到她耳后,亲吻她温暖的脸颊。

Here was Marisa’s. These were her glasses. I picked them up and cleaned them with the tail of my shirt.

这是玛丽萨的房间。那是她的眼镜。我拿起它,用我的衬衫下摆擦拭。

“I’m just going to work now,” I muttered, a half-truth in the half-light.

“我现在要去工作了,”暗淡的光线之下,我嘟囔着半真半假的话。

This, behind me, was the house full of secrets, and here before me was the path that lay ahead. This is what I left: an empty chair at the table, the scent of my skin on the sheets, an old painting, a sleeping dog, a blue pitcher, my lingering shadow on the front steps before I let go.

留在我身后的是一栋充满秘密的房子,摆在我面前的则是通往前方的道路。这些都是我留下来的:桌边的一把空椅子、我的皮肤留在床单上的气味、一幅老画、一只睡眼惺忪的狗、一个蓝色的水壶,我放手之前徘徊在门前台阶上的阴影。

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