时间旅行者的妻子(节选)The Time Traveler’s Wife (Excerpt)


Friday, February 2nd, 2007 (Clare is 35)

CLARE: I sleep all day. Noises 1)flit around the house—garbage truck in the alley, rain, tree rapping against the bedroom window. I sleep. I inhabit sleep firmly, 2)willing it, 3)wielding it, pushing away dreams, refusing, refusing. Sleep is my lover now, my forgetting, my 4)opiate, my 5)oblivion. The phone rings and rings. I have turned off the machine that answers with Henry’s voice. It is afternoon, it is night, it is morning. Everything is reduced to this bed, this endless slumber that makes the days into one day, makes time stop, stretches and 6)compacts time until it is meaningless.

I breathe slowly and deeply. I make my eyes still under eyelids, I make my mind still, and soon, Sleep, seeing a perfect reproduction of himself, comes to be united with his 7)facsimile. Sometimes I wake up and reach for Henry. Sleep erases all differences: then and now; dead and living. I am past hunger, past vanity, past caring. This morning I caught sight of my face in the bathroom mirror. I am paper-skinned, 8)gaunt, yellow, ring-eyed, hair matted. I look dead. I want nothing.

1Kimy sits at the foot of the bed. She says, “Clare? Alba’s home from school…won’t you let her come in, say hi?” I pretend to sleep. Alba’s little hand strokes my face. Tears leak from my eyes. And then Alba crawls into bed with me. She wraps my arm around her, thrusts her head under my chin. I sigh and open my eyes. Alba pretends to sleep. I stare at her thick black eyelashes, her wide mouth, her pale skin; she is breathing carefully, she clutches my hip with her strong hand, she smells of pencil shavings and 9)rosin and shampoo. I kiss the top of her head. Alba opens her eyes, and then her resemblance to Henry is almost more than I can bear. Kimy gets up and walks out of the room.
金太(编者注:克莱尔家的佣人)坐在床尾,说道:“克莱尔?爱尔芭放学回家了……你不想让她进来和你打个招呼吗?”我假装睡着了。爱尔芭的小手轻抚着我的脸。泪水从我紧闭的眼睛里流出来。接着,爱尔芭爬到我身边躺下。她把我的手臂拉过去围在她身上,把头埋在我的下巴里。我叹了口气,睁开眼睛。爱尔芭假装在睡觉。我盯着她又浓又黑的睫毛,看着她大大的嘴、白皙的皮肤;她小心翼翼地呼吸着,一双有力的小手紧紧抓着我的髋部,她身上有股铅 笔屑、松香和洗发水混在一起的味道。我亲吻她的头顶,爱尔芭睁开双眼,她和亨利的那些相似之处,几乎让我难以承受。金太站起身,走出了房间。

Later I get up, take a shower, eat dinner sitting at the table with Kimy and Alba. I sit at Henry’s desk after Alba has gone to bed, and I open the drawers, I take out the bundles of letters and papers, and I begin to read.
A Letter to Be Opened in the Event of My Death(December 10th, 2006)

Dearest Clare,

As I write this, I am sitting at my desk in the back bedroom looking out at your studio across the backyard full of blue evening snow, everything is slick and 10)crusty with ice, and it is very still. It’s one of those winter evenings when the coldness of every single thing seems to slow down time, like the narrow center of an 11)hourglass which time itself flows through, but slowly, slowly. I have the feeling, very familiar to me when I am out of time but almost never otherwise, of being 12)buoyed up by time, floating effortlessly on its surface like a fat lady swimmer. I had a sudden urge, tonight, here in the house by myself to write you a letter. I suddenly wanted to leave something, for after. I think that time is short, now. I feel as though all my reserves, of energy, of pleasure, of duration, are thin, small. I don’t feel capable of continuing very much longer. I know you know.
当我写这封信时,我正坐在内卧室中的书桌前,从后院看过去,夜色中幽蓝积雪的那头正是你的工作室。万物都披上了一层光滑坚硬的冰衣,万籁俱寂。正如那无数冬夜,冰冷的一切似乎让时间慢了下来,如同时间慢慢地、慢慢地从沙漏那狭小的中心流过。我有种很熟悉的感觉,每当时限将至便有此感觉,几乎从没例外,我感觉自己漂浮在时间的海洋之上,如同一个在游泳的肥妇人,轻而易举地漂浮在水面上。今晚,就我自己一个人在屋内,我突然有种冲动,想给你写封信。我突然想为以后留下些东西。我觉得,现在时间不够了。我感到自己所有的精力、快乐和 耐力都变弱了,变少了。我感到自己无法维持太久。我知道你明白的。

If you are reading this, I am probably dead. (I say probably because you never know what circumstances may arise; it seems foolish and 13)self-important to just declare one’s own death as an 14)out-and-out fact.) About this death of mine—I hope it was simple and clean and 15)unambiguous. I hope it didn’t create too much fuss. I’m sorry. (This reads like a suicide note. Strange.) But you know: you know that if I could have stayed, if I could have gone on, that I would have clutched every second: whatever it was, this death, you know that it came and took me, like a child carried away by 16)goblins.

Clare, I want to tell you, again, I love you. Our love has been the 17)thread through the 18)labyrinth, the net under the 19)high-wire walker, the only real thing in this strange life of mine that I could ever trust. Tonight I feel that my love for you has more density in this world than I do, myself: as though it could linger on after me and surround you, keep you, hold you.

I hate to think of you waiting. I know that you have been waiting for me all your life, always uncertain of how long this 20)patch of waiting would be. Ten minutes, ten days. A month. What an uncertain husband I have been, Clare, like a sailor, 21)Odysseus alone and 22)buffeted by tall waves, sometimes 23)wily and sometimes just a 24)plaything of the gods. Please, Clare. When I am dead. Stop waiting and be free. Of me—put me deep inside you and then go out in the world and live. Love the world and yourself in it, move through it as though it offers no resistance, as though the world is your natural element. I have given you a life of 25)suspended animation. I don’t mean to say that you have done nothing. You have created beauty, and meaning, in your art, and Alba, who is so amazing, and for me: for me you have been everything.
我最恨去想你为我等待。我知道,你的一生都在等我,每一次都不知道要等多久。十分钟, 十天,还是一个月。克莱尔,一直以来,我是一个靠不住的丈夫,像个海员,像那在急风高浪中独自远航的奥德修斯,有时狡诈,有时只是众神的玩物。克莱尔,我请求你,我死去以后,别再等我,自由地生活吧。至于我——把我放进你的内心深处,然后去外面的世界,好好生活。爱这个世界,爱活在这个世界里的自己,请你自由地穿梭,仿佛没有阻力,仿佛这个世界和你原本就同为一体。我给你的是休眠般的生活。我并不是说你一事无成。你在艺术上创造出美,并赋予其意义;你把了不起的爱尔芭带到了世上;至于我:对我而言,你就是一切。

After my mom died she ate my father up completely. She would have hated it. Every minute of his life since then has been marked by her absence, every action has lacked dimension because she is not there to measure against. And when I was young I didn’t understand, but now, I know, how absence can be present.

If I had to live on without you I know I could not do it. But I hope, I have this vision of you walking 26)unencumbered, with your shining hair in the sun. I have not seen this with my eyes, but only with my imagination, that makes pictures, that always wanted to paint you, shining; but I hope that this vision will be true, anyway.

Clare, there is one last thing, and I have hesitated to tell you, because I’m 27)superstitiously afraid that telling might cause it to not happen(I know: silly) and also because I have just been going on about not waiting and this might cause you to wait longer than you have ever waited before. But I will tell you in case you need something, after.

Last summer, I was sitting in Kendrick’s waiting room when I suddenly found myself in a dark hallway in a house I don’t know. I was sort of tangled up in a bunch of 28)galoshes, and it smelled like rain. At the end of the hall I could see a rim of light around a door, and so I went very slowly and very quietly to the door and looked in. The room was white, and intensely lit with morning sun. At the window, with her back to me, sat a woman, wearing a coralcolored cardigan sweater, with long white hair all down her back. She had a cup of tea beside her, on a table. I must have made some little noise, or she sensed me behind her…she turned and saw me, and I saw her, and it was you, Clare, this was you as an old woman, in the future. It was sweet, Clare, it was sweet beyond telling, to come as though from death to hold you, and to see the years all present in your face. I won’t tell you any more, so you can imagine it, so you can have it unrehearsed when the time comes, as it will, as it does come. We will see each other again, Clare. Until then, live, fully, present in the world, which is so beautiful.
去年夏天,我坐在肯德里克的候诊室里,突然发现自己位于一间陌生房屋的一 处漆黑的过道上,我被一堆橡胶套鞋缠住,有一股雨天的味道。在过道的尽头,我看见门边一圈依稀的微光,于是我非常缓慢、非常安静地走到门边,朝里张望。在早晨的强光下,房间里一片亮白。窗边,有一位女士背对我坐着,她穿着珊瑚色的开襟衫,一头长长的白发披在背上。她身边的桌子上放着一杯茶。一定是我发出了一些声响,或者她感觉到我在她的身后……她转过身,看见了我,我也看见了她。那是你,克莱尔,是年迈的你,是未来的你。多么甜美的感觉,克莱尔,甜美得无法言喻,就好像从死神手里走出来,抱着你,看着岁月在你脸上留下的痕迹。我不能再多说了,你可以去想象,当那一时刻到来时,你将会有全新的感受,那一定会到来的。克莱尔,我们会再见面的。在那之前,好好地活在这个如此美丽的世界上。

It’s dark, now, and I am very tired. I love you, always. Time is nothing. Henry
现在天色暗了,我累了。我永远爱你。时间没有什么了不起的。Audrey Niffenegger/文

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