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大学申请书选登:我家餐桌的故事

更新时间:2019/5/17 21:37:14 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Trash, the Library and a Worn, Brown Table: The 2019 College Essays on Money
大学申请书选登:我家餐桌的故事

Pottsville, Pa.

宾夕法尼亚州波茨维尔

‘The first thing my Pap said was ‘Give her a hug, you can’t hurt her now.’ ’

“我爸说的第一句话是‘抱抱她吧,你现在不会弄疼她了。’”

—Victoria Oswald

——维多利亚·奥斯瓦尔德(Victoria Oswald)

My kitchen is largely occupied by my old, dirty, warm-brown dinner table.

我的厨房很大一部分被我那张老旧、邋遢的暖棕色餐桌所占据。

It’s seen better days. Every time I sit down, I’m surrounded by splatters of old paint, hot glue and the occasional dab of nail polish (that’s thanks to my older sisters). Whenever I sit at either of our two chairs, I have to be extra careful they don’t fall apart because the legs are held together by a tedious mixture of wood glue, brute force and pure spite.

它的状况已经惨不忍睹。每次坐下来,我都会被旧油漆、热溶胶和偶尔一点指甲油(这要归功于我的姐姐们)的碎屑包围。我们有两把椅子,无论坐上哪一把,我都得格外小心它们会不会散架,因为椅子腿的固定靠的是一种由木工胶、蛮力和纯粹的使坏组成的恼人混合物。

The kitchen table itself has been the hub of my family for the entire first half of my life. When I was younger, we (my Gram, Pap and two older sisters) would eat a home-cooked meal, courtesy of my Gram, at that old, dirty, warm-brown dinner table at exactly 7 p.m. every single night.

在我生命的前半部分,这张厨房桌就是我家的中心。小时候,每天晚上7点,我们(我奶奶、我爸和两个姐姐)会准时在这老旧、邋遢的暖棕色餐桌上吃一顿奶奶做的饭菜。

At these family dinners, I would argue with my Pap for fun, watch him get yelled at by my Gram for interrupting me eating my dinner and listen to my sisters either fight or joke; it was always a gamble. Originally, my kitchen table had five sturdy wooden seats. A couple years later when my oldest sister was 16 years old and I was 8, the chair count lowered to four, as my oldest sister moved out. She fought too much with my Gram and wouldn’t follow the rules, so she left.

在那些家庭晚餐上,我会和我爸争吵取乐,看着他因为打扰我吃饭被奶奶吼骂,并听着我的姐姐们或是争斗或是开玩笑;那永远是一场冒险。最初,我的厨房桌有五把结实的木椅。几年后,我的大姐16岁、我8岁时,椅子的数量随着她的搬走减到四把。她与奶奶的争吵太多,也不守规矩,所以她离开了。

Three years later my grandmother was diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer. That triggered a few more changes to our dinner table routine. First, my other older sister started to skip dinners. Not because of the inevitable food quality decline (cancer messes with your taste buds and overall cooking abilities), but because she was never home. I don’t think that she wanted to be around post-cancer-diagnosis Gram.

三年后,奶奶被诊出患了小细胞肺癌。这给我们的晚餐桌日常又带来了一些改变。起初是我的另一个姐姐开始不来吃晚餐。倒不是因为饭菜难免不那么可口了(癌症会破坏味蕾和整体烹饪能力),而是因为她总是不在家。我觉得她不想待在被诊断癌症后的奶奶身边。

The chair count dropped to three. The dinners themselves after a year or so were much less frequent, not so much because of my Gram, but because my Pap was determined to make Gram rest. She ignored my Pap’s concerns, so it sort of ended up in a middle gray area that I had to live in.

椅子数降到了三把。过了一年左右,晚餐本身的次数也少了很多,主要不是因为奶奶,而是因为爸爸决心让奶奶多休息。她没搭理爸爸的担心,所以最后变成了我得面对的某种不上不下的灰色地带。

A year and a half after my grandmother got cancer, she died. It may sound quick in words, but it was pretty dragged out. Don’t get me wrong, I love my grandmother, but people with cancer are usually dead long before they die.

奶奶得癌症一年半后去世了。这句话说起来很快,但其实拖了很久。别误会,我是爱奶奶的,但得癌症的人往往去世前很久就已经死了。

I was there when she died, right smack dab in the middle of our living room. I was on one side of the bed, and my Pap was on the other. Her labored breaths slowed and then stopped. It sounds depressing, but it was sort of a happy moment. The first thing my Pap said was “Give her a hug, you can’t hurt her now.” And, despite the phlegmy cancer smell, I did. We only needed two chairs.

她过世时我在场,就在我们的起居室里。我在床的一边,我爸在另一边。她沉重的喘息渐渐变缓,然后停了下来。听上去挺难过,但其实多少是个欣慰的时刻。爸爸说的第一句话是“抱抱她吧,你现在不会弄疼她了。”虽然有积痰之症的气味,我还是抱了她。我们只需要两把椅子了。

After that, Pap and I, with the remnants of our nontraditional American family, built an extra nontraditional family. It took a while before we stabilized ourselves, because, to be honest, we were low-income before grandma got cancer, but post-cancer was much worse.

在那之后,爸爸和我还有我们这个非传统美国家庭所剩下的部分,组建了一个格外非传统的家庭。我们过了段时间才稳定下来,因为坦白讲,奶奶得癌症前我们已经是低收入家庭,之后更是每况愈下。

Pap and I cut down on everything. We got rid of our cable, phone and internet. We used less oil, we used less water, we wasted less food, and at times we didn’t have a car because our minivan took up a bunch of gas and liked to break down frequently. But, despite a dreadfully boring WiFi-less and phoneless year, we made it through.

爸爸和我削减了所有开支。我们去掉了家里的有线电视、手机和互联网。少用油、少用水、少浪费食物,有段时间我们没车,因为家里的小面包车太耗油,还经常抛锚。可是,即便那是个没Wi-Fi、没手机、单调至极的一年,我们还是挺了过来。

I still live in the same house, except now it has Wi-Fi. Our kitchen table is still standing, though we took the center piece of wood out so now it’s the perfect size for just the two of us. We don’t have nightly dinners anymore, but sometimes Pap and I sit on the couch and hang out.

我依然住在同一座房子里,只不过现在有Wi-Fi了。我们的餐桌还在,不过我们把中间的木头拿了出来,现在它的大小刚好够我们俩人使用。我们不再像从前那样吃晚饭,但有时候爸爸跟我会坐在沙发上闲聊会儿。

Sure, maybe our coffee table chats aren’t the same as our nightly family dinners, and maybe our television doesn’t turn on anymore. Maybe our kitchen has ants, and maybe we have to listen to the Super Bowl on our outdated radio from the ’90s, and maybe, possibly, he is getting sicker now, too.

当然了,我们的咖啡桌聊天内容或许和从前的家庭晚餐不一样,或许我们的电视已经打不开了。或许我们的厨房里有蚂蚁,或许我们得用90年代的老掉牙收音机收听超级碗(Super Bowl)的实况,又或许,爸爸现在也病得越来越厉害了。

I don’t care that my new life revolves around a holey old couch, a grumpy old man, a couple of fat cats and a bearded dragon. I’m content with my Pap, and I’m content with the fact that every night at 7 p.m., two empty chairs surround my old, dirty, warm-brown dinner table in the darkness of my kitchen. These days, the lights are on in the living room.

我不在乎我的新生活是围着有破洞的旧沙发、一个暴脾气老头、一对肥猫和一只鬃狮蜥转。和爸爸在一起,我感到心满意足;每晚7点,昏暗的厨房里,会有两把空椅子围在脏兮兮的暖棕色旧餐桌旁,我感到心满意足。在这段日子里,起居室的灯是开着的。

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