您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 纽约时报中英文版 >> 风尚 >> 正文

我家柜子里的骷髅

更新时间:2018-5-29 20:17:13 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Skeleton in My Closet
我家柜子里的骷髅

My husband, Mark, was a pack rat. So clearing out his belongings after he died suddenly at 57 was a challenge even for a rabid organizer like me. To complicate matters, my two kids and I were moving from a four-bedroom house in the suburbs to a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. Most of what we owned wasn’t coming along.

我丈夫马克(Mark)喜欢囤积没用的东西。因此在他57岁突然去世后,清理他的东西,即便是对我这种热衷整理的人来说也是挑战。更要命的是,我和两个孩子要从郊区一栋有四个卧室的房子搬去曼哈顿的一套两居室公寓,大部分物品都不会和我们一起搬走。

I spent every spare minute making piles: keep, sell, donate, toss. Tucked under the attic eaves were several milk crates of Mark’s old Playboys, Sports Illustrateds and National Geographics, dating back to the 1960s. I sold a few at our moving sale, but the rest sit untouched in a cramped storage unit. I’m guessing the unenviable job of selling them will one day fall to my kids.

我把空闲时间都用在了分堆上:要留的、要卖的、要捐赠的和要扔的。在阁楼的屋檐下,几个装过牛奶的箱子里是马克的旧《花花公子》(Playboy)、《体育画报》(Sports Illustrated)和《国家地理》(National Geographics)。最早的可以追溯回60年代。我在搬家甩卖时卖掉了一些,但剩下的都完好无损地放在一个小角落里。我猜,卖掉它们这件烦人的差事有一天要落在孩子们身上了。

I also found a trove of sweet handwritten letters from his college girlfriend, a stack of cringe-worthy seminude photos of another old girlfriend, and his wedding album. Not our wedding album. It was from his short-lived first marriage. I was wife No. 2 and would’ve become ex-wife No. 2; we were living apart when he died but you’d never know it from the sheer amount of stuff he left behind, as if all he took when he moved out were a couple of T-shirts and a pair of socks.

我还发现了他大学时代的女友给他的大量手写情书、另一个前女友一堆令人难堪的半裸照片,以及他的婚礼相册——不是我们的婚礼相册。那属于他短暂的第一段婚姻。我是他的第二任妻子,也差点成为他的第二任前妻。他去世时候我们已经分居了。但单从他留下的那么多东西来看,你绝对看不出来。仿佛他搬出去的时候只带走了几件T恤和一双袜子。

But one discovery eclipsed them all. Digging through a rarely used closet one night, I opened a Nike shoe box and came face-to-face with a real human skull.

但另一个发现让它们都黯然失色。一天晚上,在清理一个不常用的衣橱时,我打开了一个耐克鞋盒,眼前出现了一具真人头骨。

My first word was “holy” followed by an expletive. Then a hazy memory floated back: My husband, a dentist, was showing me a research skull, the kind dental students use in anatomy class, with metal hinges attaching the lower jaw to each side and two clasps securing the cranium in place. It was the same one I now held. Stamped on the left was a company name — Clay Adams, Parsippany, N.J. — an importer of medical supplies.

我说的第一个词是“天哪”,后面是一句脏话。然后,一段模糊的回忆浮现了出来:当牙医的丈夫给我看过一具研究用的头骨,就是牙科学生在解剖课上用的那种,金属铰链把下颌骨栓在两边,两个搭扣固定着头盖骨。现在我手里拿着的就是它。左边刻着一家公司的名字——克莱·亚当斯(Clay Adams),新泽州帕西帕尼——是一家医药用品进口商。

Of all the things I inherited after Mark’s death, the skull topped a long list I call “I Never Wanted This.” It included cabinets crammed with ancient financial documents, a garage and shed bursting with all manner of cobweb-covered gadgets, and shelves of sweaters not worn since the Reagan administration.

马克去世后,在我继承的所有东西中,这具头骨在“我从来没想到自己拥有的物品”清单上排第一。这个长长清单上的物品还包括几柜子的旧金融文件;布满蜘蛛网、塞满各种小工具的车库兼修车棚,以及几架子自里根政府以后就没再穿过的毛衣。

After we separated, I had imagined that eventually I’d move out and he’d move back in, sparing me this overwhelming job. It was even more fraught because I felt an obligation to my kids, who were just teenagers when he died, to preserve his memory. Would they want his old cameras and slides? His favorite faded blue sweatshirt? If they said no, would they wish they had said yes years from now?

我们分居后,我曾想过我最终会搬出去,他搬回来,给我省去这累人的工作。让我更加忧心的是,我想到自己有责任为孩子们保存他的回忆——在他去世时,他们还只有十几岁。他们会想要他的老相机和幻灯片吗?会想要他最爱的那件褪色的蓝运动衫吗?要是他们现在说“不要”,几年后他们会希望自己当时说的是“要”吗?

Now I felt uneasy. Was it even legal to have this skull in my home? Didn’t it belong in a school or museum?

现在我心神不宁。甚至,在家里拥有头骨是否合法?难道这不应该属于某个学校或博物馆吗?

I was angry at Mark for leaving me with it and I wanted to make the skull disappear. I considered burying it in the backyard, the final resting place of my kids’ four gerbils. But I pictured the future homeowners discovering it while gardening one fine spring day. “Honey, what’s this?” the husband would say to his wife, and in a flash a cop from “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” would be grilling me about where I buried the rest of the body.

当时我因为马克把这么个东西留给我而生气,想让这个头骨消失。我考虑过把它埋在后院,那也是孩子们四只沙鼠的安息之地。但我想到了这座房子未来的主人在某个春日做园艺时发现头骨的样子。“亲爱的,这是什么?”丈夫会这样对妻子说,不出一会,一名来自《犯罪现场调查》(CSI: Crime Scene Investigation)的警察就会开始盘问我把剩下的尸体埋在了哪里。

Once we’d moved into our apartment, I hid it in yet another closet, doing my best Scarlett O’Hara: I’ll think about it tomorrow. Tomorrow turned into three years and last summer I finally decided that, unlike those old magazines, I didn’t want my kids to have to deal with this someday. Keeping it in a closet felt wrong and I wasn’t about to display it in my curio cabinet. This skull needed a new home.

一搬进我们的新公寓,我还是把它藏在了衣橱里,我尽量像郝思嘉(Scarlett O’Hara)那样做:明天我再来想这个问题。结果“明天”变成了三年,到了去年夏天,我终于下了决心,和那些旧杂志不一样,我不希望孩子们未来某一天还要处理这个东西。把它藏在衣橱里感觉不对,而我也不打算把它摆在我的古玩柜里。这个头骨需要一个新家。

But figuring out how to make that happen was trickier than I thought. My research took me down a rabbit hole. Surprisingly, there’s no federal law against owning, buying or selling human skulls (except Native American ones), although there’s a patchwork of vague and often unenforced state regulations. In 2016, eBay put the kibosh on human skulls but you can find them on Amazon and Instagram, or even your local flea market. Macabre? Perhaps. But not necessarily illegal.

但是要弄清楚怎么给它找新家比我想象的更困难。我的研究把我引向了一个未知之地。令我感到意外的是,尽管有着模糊且往往执行不力、东拼西凑的各州规定,联邦法律并不反对拥有、购买或出售人类头骨(美洲原住民的头骨除外)。2016年,eBay终止了人头骨的出售,但你可以在亚马逊或Instagram上,甚至是在你当地的跳蚤市场上找到它们。吓人?也许吧。但并不一定违法。

I also found several reputable companies that trade in human bones. Want a male skull with 25 teeth? How about a Caucasian female with 28 teeth, one broken? Those were two of dozens of skulls — male and female, old and young — I found online, available if you’re willing to part with about $2,000.

我还找到了几家做人骨交易的靠谱公司。想要一个有25颗牙齿的男性头骨?有28颗牙齿(其中一颗坏了)的高加索女性头骨怎么样?这是我在网上找到的几十个在售头骨中的两个——有男有女,有老有少——售价约为2000美元。

Roughly 80 percent come from people like me who inherit one, according to Josh Villemarette of Skulls Unlimited, a family business in Oklahoma City founded in 1986 by his dad.

据Skulls Unlimited公司的乔希·维勒马雷特(Josh Villemarette)说,约80%的头骨是像我这样继承来的。该公司是乔希的父亲1986年在俄克拉何马城创建的家族企业。

“Typically someone’s parents passed away and they’re cleaning out their belongings and they find the skeleton in the closet or the skull in the attic,” he said, adding that skulls were required for many dental students. “Your husband may have had to purchase it in school for $200, which was quite affordable at the time.”

“通常是某人的父母去世了,他们清理父母遗物时发现了壁橱里的骷髅,或者阁楼上的头骨,”他说。他还说,对很多牙科学生来说,头骨是必需的。“你丈夫可能不得不以200美元的价格在学校里买了它,当时这个是很便宜的。”

The skull I had looked smaller than the adult ones online. I went to a mirror and held it next to my head. They were close in size. I sent photos and measurements to Skulls Unlimited. They estimated it was from a 12-year-old, possibly female, likely from India.

我拥有的这个头骨比我在网上看到的成人头骨要小。我走到镜子前,把它举到脸边。它的大小跟我的头差不多。我把头骨的照片和尺寸发给了Skulls Unlimited。他们估计,这个头骨属于一个12岁的孩子,可能是女孩,很可能来自印度。

India? Why would a young girl there donate her body to American science? My question was well meaning but naïve. Turns out that in the 1970s when my husband was in dental school, most skulls came from India, from families too poor to bury or cremate their dead, or because grave robbers dug up bones for profit. India banned the export of human bones in the mid-1980s and China later followed. The skull market soon dried up and prices skyrocketed.

印度?为什么印度的一个小女孩会把自己的遗体捐给美国的研究机构?我这么问是出于善意,但很幼稚。结果发现,1970年代我丈夫在牙科学校就读时,大多数头骨都来自印度,来自那些没钱埋葬或火化亲属遗体的家庭,或者来自那些挖掘遗骨牟利的盗墓者。印度从1980年代中期开始禁止出口人体骨骼,随后中国也开始禁止。头骨市场的货源很快干涸,价格飞涨。

I was horrified that this skull might have belonged to a child who suffered such a fate. Questions swirled: Who was her family? How did she die? It was entirely possible she and I were born around the same year. I began to feel an odd mix of maternal tenderness and sisterly kinship for this skull, laced with a hefty dose of “there but for the grace of God go I.”

我很害怕这个头骨也属于一个遭受这种命运的孩子。我的脑海中还盘旋着很多问题:她的家人是谁?她是怎么死的?她和我完全有可能是同一年出生的。我开始对这个头骨产生了奇怪的母爱和姐妹情,还夹杂着深深的“若非上帝恩典,我也可能有此厄运”的情绪。

Although I couldn’t return it to its original resting place — if it ever had one — maybe it would find peace among other bones that, for whatever reason, had landed far from home.

虽然我不能把它送回原来的安息之地——如果它曾经有过的话——但它也许能在其他头骨的陪伴下找到平静。不管出于什么原因,它们都远离家园。

I sold it to Skulls Unlimited and donated the proceeds to a program at Mark’s dental school that provides free dental care to low-income kids. It seemed fitting: A child in India reaches across decades to give a disadvantaged child in New York a reason to smile.

我把它卖给了Skulls Unlimited,把收益捐给了马克牙科学校的一个为低收入儿童提供免费牙科保健服务的项目。这似乎很合适:经过几十年之后,一个印度孩子给了纽约的弱势儿童一个微笑的理由。

I liked knowing that Mark helped make it happen, not because he was a dentist, but because he was a pack rat. Something good emerged from all his clutter. It also feels pretty good to finally have closets in which, as far as I know, there are no more hidden skeletons.

我认为这一切都是马克帮忙实现的,不是因为他是牙医,而是因为他是囤积狂。他的一大堆杂物总算产生了一点益处。至少据我所知,我的橱柜里终于再也没有隐藏的骷髅了,这也让我感觉很好。

“全文请访问纽约时报中文网,本文发表于纽约时报中文网(http://cn.nytimes.com),版权归纽约时报公司所有。任何单位及个人未经许可,不得擅自转载或翻译。订阅纽约时报中文网新闻电邮:http://nytcn.me/subscription/”

相关文章列表