桥的那一边 On the Other Side

On the Other Side

By the time I enter Omar’s shop, I have already forgotten what I wanted to buy. If one of my neighbors asked me why I go so often to Omar’s, I wouldn’t know what to answer.
走进奥马尔的商店时,我已经忘记要买什么了。假如一个邻居问我为什么常常光顾奥马尔的商店,我也回答不出来。

Omar’s groceries are just fine, his household products are nothing special, and his prices tend to be on the high side.
奥马尔的杂货店只是还可以,他家的家用产品没啥特别,价格似乎还偏高。

Omar wears the same T-shirt every day, although I suspect that he has several of them, exact replicas[复制品] of each other. It’s a red T-shirt with five words printed in yellow block letters[印刷体字母].
奥马尔每天穿着同样的T恤,虽然我怀疑他有好几件这样的T恤。那件T恤是红色的,上面印着五个黄色的印刷体单词。

The five words read: “My name is not Omar.” It’s a joke, of course, or at least, that’s what I believe, since every customer calls him Omar. After midnight, customers become scarce[稀少的] in his shop.
那几个词是:“我不叫奥马尔。”当然这是个玩笑,或者至少我是这样认为的,因为每个顾客都叫他“奥马尔”。午夜过后,他的店里几乎没什么客人。

  When Omar sees me approach[接近] the counter, he puts down whatever book he is reading, smiles at me, and offers me a cup of green tea. “Tea is good for your health,” he reminds me kindly. I nod, take a small sip[一呷之量], and let the cup warm up my hands. I have never told Omar how much I hate green tea and I suspect I never will.
奥马尔看到我走向柜台,他放下正在读的书,对我微笑了一下,递给我一杯绿茶。“茶对你的健康有益,”他好心地提醒我。我点点头,呷了一小口,让茶杯温暖我的双手。我从没告诉奥马尔我有多讨厌绿茶,我想自己永远也不会告诉他。

We drink our tea slowly while we make some small talk. Omar soon picks up the teapot, offers me a second cup, and asks me his usual question. “Did I tell you how I arrived in this country?” I nod distractedly[心不在焉地], trying to look uninterested.
我们一边慢慢地喝茶,一边闲聊起来。很快奥马尔拿起茶壶,给我倒了第二杯茶,问了我和平常一样的问题。“我告诉过你我怎样来到这个国家的吗?”我心不在焉地点点头,试图表现得兴趣缺缺。

It’s part of our game. Omar pretends that he has never told me his story before and I pretend that his story is not the real reason for my visit to his shop. Omar’s story is no different from that of other immigrants[移民].
这是我们的游戏的一部分。奥马尔假装他之前从没向我倾诉过自己的故事,而我则假装他的故事不是我光顾这店子的真正原因。奥马尔的故事和其他移民者的没什么不同。

In fact, Omar is a clumsy[笨拙的] storyteller, except for the end. He always closes with the same words. “My parents stayed there and died in the war. My brother and my friends also stayed there and starved during the winter. I came here alone.”
事实上,奥马尔不太会讲故事,除了结尾。他通常都用同样的语句结尾。“我的父母待在那里,在战争中死去。我的兄弟和朋友也待在那里,冬天时要挨饿。我独自一人来到这里。”

At that point, I drink some more tea and ask the question that Omar is expecting. “But what made you decide to leave?” Omar looks around the shop with mysterious[神秘的] airs, checking that we are alone.
到了那时,我又喝了点茶,就会问出奥马尔一直期待的问题。“可是,是什么让你决心离开呢?”奥马尔神秘地朝商店四周看看,确定除了我俩没有别人。

“Since I was a kid, I wanted to know what was on the other side of the bridge,” Omar whispers over the counter. “That’s why I crossed the bridge, that’s why I came to this country, to see what’s on the other side.”
“我从小就想知道桥的那一边有什么,”奥马尔俯过柜台悄声说道。“那就是我跨过那座桥,来到这个国家的原因,为了看看另一边有什么。”

Later, when I arrive home, I check my pockets to see what I have bought in Omar’s shop. Tonight, it was garlic[大蒜]. Images of Omar’s bridge appear in my dreams every night. In my vision, it’s always me who crosses the bridge. And then, as soon as I get to the other side, I wake up.
后来我回到家查看口袋,看看我从奥马尔的商店买了什么。今晚是大蒜。奥马尔的桥每晚都会出现在我的梦中。在梦中,跨过那座桥的总是我。然后,就在我到达桥的那一边时,梦就醒了。John Vespasian/文