【一等奖译文】

过渡地带

文/罗恩达•卢卡斯 译/邓志辉

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父母离婚一事已无可挽回。房子卖了,今天该搬家了。一家人在此度过的三十年生活现在被一股脑塞到了车库里,放眼望去,只有木墙上砌的2×4寸方材齐整有序1,箱子、家具夹杂着回忆则乱糟糟地堆放着;一切都定格在这个连接过往与未来的过渡地带,茫然待决2。

阳光从窗缝里挤进来,泼洒在箱子堆上,继而象一条荧光的河流,淌过箱体,将冰冷水泥地面上的裂缝一一淹没。我站在房子和车库间的门道上,心里想,到底还有没有可能,阳光会穿透那些箱子里封存的回忆呢。有一刻,硬纸箱们在我眼中恍然变成了一座座墓碑,悼念着那些回忆。

角落里,暖炉巨大的风管呈手指状沿伸着、消失在墙内3。它并不知道,无论怎样努力,它都无法使这所空房子暖和起来了。运行的风机发出有节奏的呼呼声,仿佛为我眼前封箱的回忆哼着挽歌。我关上门,坐到门口台阶上肃穆聆听4。心中的失落感将伤痛的回忆变得不那么糟,将不那么糟的回忆变得美好,再将美好的回忆存入我脑海。尽管如此,我内心依然感觉如此空虚,一如那边搬空了的房子。

我右手边有张工作台,很突兀地空着,上面连一颗钉子都没留下。我头一次发现它的绿色台面如此沉闷呆滞、毫无生气。以前台面总是乱堆着工具,现在清空后,倒象是浴缸摆在厨房里,显得格格不入。事实上,我环顾四周,发现唯一不显得格格不入的,只有角落里的蜘蛛网而已。

工作台前堆放着一组与其他物件分别开来的箱子,上面写着“救世军”几个字,字体潦草,有如颓败建筑上的涂鸦。这些字象闪烁的霓虹灯一样有力地吸引了我的目光:它们太有讽刺意味了。“拯救——对这个家来说可有点晚啦。”我嘲弄地自言自语。

家里所有的家具都曾经过精心挑选,以与不同房间的色调相衬;如今都胡乱堆放在同一面墙前,色彩纷繁、芜杂无章,衬在灰暗的车库中,呼之欲出般地刺目。

我骤然觉到车库阴冷得厉害。但我不想回到房子里去。于是我费力地穿过箱子堆,来到沙发前,清出一块地方躺下,蜷起来,用夹克盖住自己。希望父亲很快能带着卡车回来,我们就可以将车库清空,将这离别带来的诡异寂静抛诸身后了。 □

(选自《短文读本范文》,Mary Lou Conlin 编,Houghton Mifflin,1983)

1. 2×4寸指砌木墙所用的木方材尺寸。西方车库很多是木质结构。
2. 本句中 (in) limbo 语带双关。一方面,如题目中以单个词出现的“limbo”,根据上下文,宜取“transitional, intermediate place”之义,因短文通篇叙述的在车库等待父亲与搬家的卡车到来的这段时光,无论时间或空间上都属于一种“中间地带/过渡地带”(介乎旧家与新家、旧生活与新生活之间);另一方面,“in limbo”形成固定搭配,意为“in a state of uncertainty”,堆在车库中的物品实体上处于“待搬未搬”的某种不确状态,与上下文所烘托的伤感而略带“茫然”的心情又产生情感上的融合。考虑到 limbo 是本文的关键词,而本句在全文中唯一一处出现该词,显然也有意与题目遥相呼应,因此,本句翻译在表现“茫然、待决”(in limbo)的同时,还刻意重复“过渡地带”(limbo),以再现原文对 limbo 在形式上的重复。
3. 经考证,此处 furnace 应指在北美地区广泛使用的“热风采暖系统”,使用设在地下室内的暖风机将室外的冷空气加热后,经设在墙内的风管送到卧室、起居室,这部分空气分别再经过厨房、卫生间,排至室外。欧洲地区则更多使用“热水供暖系统,”称为 boiler。(详见 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forced-air)。
4. 很多离房子不远的车库会在侧墙上开一个方便人员进出的门,叫service door,作者刚才是站在“房子与车库之间的门道上”,指的就是这个门。同时若离主建筑较近,通常要求车库地面比主建筑地面略低,以防车库内汽油泄漏殃及主建筑安全,这种情况下,service door 门内会有一步往下的台阶。

原文:

My parents’ divorce was final. The house had been sold and the day had come to move. Thirty years of the family’s life was now crammed into the garage. The two-by-fours that ran the length of the walls were the only uniformity among the clutter of boxes, furniture, and memories. All was frozen in limbo between the life just passed and the one to come.

The sunlight pushing its way through the window splattered against a barricade of boxes. Like a fluorescent river, it streamed down the sides and flooded the cracks of the cold, cement floor. I stood in the doorway between the house and garage and wondered if the sunlight would ever again penetrate the memories packed inside those boxes. For an instant, the cardboard boxes appeared as tombstones, monuments to those memories.

The furnace in the corner, with its huge tubular fingers reaching out and disappearing into the wall, was unaware of the futility of trying to warm the empty house. The rhythmical whir of its effort hummed the elegy for the memories boxed in front of me. I closed the door, sat down on the step, and listened reverently. The feeling of loss transformed the bad memories into not-so-bad, the not-so-bad memories into good, and committed the good ones to my mind. Still, I felt as vacant as the house inside.

A workbench to my right stood disgustingly empty. Not so much as a nail had been left behind. I noticed, for the first time, what a dull, lifeless green it was. Lacking the disarray of tools that used to cover it, now it seemed as out of place as a bathtub in the kitchen. In fact, as I scanned the room, the only things that did seem to belong were the cobwebs in the corners.

A group of boxes had been set aside from the others and stacked in front of the workbench. Scrawled like graffiti on the walls of dilapidated buildings were the words “Salvation Army.” Those words caught my eyes as effectively as a flashing neon sign. They reeked of irony. “Salvation - was a bit too late for this family,” I mumbled sarcastically to myself.

The houseful of furniture that had once been so carefully chosen to complement and blend with the color schemes of the various rooms was indiscriminately crammed together against a single wall. The uncoordinated colors combined in turmoil and lashed out in the greyness of the room.

I suddenly became aware of the coldness of the garage, but I didn’t want to go back inside the house, so I made my way through the boxes to the couch. I cleared a space to lie down and curled up, covering myself with my jacket. I hoped my father would return soon with the truck so we could empty the garage and leave the cryptic silence of parting lives behind.

(选自Patterns: A Short Prose Reader, by Mary Lou Conlin, published by Houghton Mifflin, 1983.)

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