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Wei Liu: My Life in China 1.12 Summer Night Outside

刘蔚:六年高考1.12:夏夜歇凉

    2013年8月8日

   Wei Liu: My Life in China 1.12 Summer Night Outside

    August 8, 2013

   1976年重庆,我6岁了。那年夏天有些天重庆的气温在摄氏40度居高不下。白天耀眼的阳光把马路上的柏油都烤化了,我的塑料凉鞋在上面粘着了好几次。在家里我就是坐着不动,也感到汗水从皮肤里慢慢渗出来。

   1976,Chongqing, China, I’m 6 years old. That summer it is often 105 degrees in Chongqing. The scorching sunshine melts the tar on the road and my sandals get glued on it several times. At home even I sit motionless and still feel sweat coming out of my skin.

   谢天谢地,炎热的白天总算过去了。晚饭后,我对父母说,“爸爸,妈妈,我出去散步了。”

    Thank God, the baking daytime is finally gone. After supper, I say to my parents, “Father, mother, I go out for a walk.”

   “你去吧。饭后百步走,要活九十九。”妈妈总是对这些有关健康的格言津津乐道。

    “OK, one gets long life by walking a while after a meal,” my Mom is always fond of those maxims on health.

   于是我蹦蹦跳跳地出了家门。在操场上我看见几个大人手里拿着水盆在往地上洒水。等水洒完,我踏过被水浇过的黑色土地上立刻感到上升的热气抚摸着我的脚。我不感到热,只感到暖和,我喜欢这种感觉。

   Then I bounce out of my home. On the playground, I see several adults watering the ground, basin in hand. After that, when I step on the black area made by the water, immediately I feel the heat air touching my legs. That is not hot, but warm. I like that feeling.

   给操场洒水是我们切意的夜间生活的序幕。在洒过水的操场变干变凉之后,从我们破旧的宿舍楼里走出来几十户人家,手里拿着凉板,凉椅,走到操场上之后,他们把凉板搭在木凳子上。在人群中,我看见我爸爸,妈妈,走过去帮他们把凉板搭起来。接着我把一瓶冰水放在凉板旁。白天爸爸在一瓶冷开水里放些糖,然后把它放进他单位的冰箱里,晚上我们就可以享受冰水了。

   Watering the ground is the prelude of our summer night life. After the watered ground turns to dry and cooled down, tens of families coming out of our shabby residential building, bamboo board, bamboo chair in hand. On the playground, they put the wood board/bed on the wooden stool. Among the crowd, I see my father and mother and help them setting the bamboo bed up, and put a bottle of iced water by the bamboo bed. In daytime, my father puts some sugar into a bottle of boiled cool water and put it in the refrigerator in his working unit. Then at night we can have the sweet iced water.

   现在一躺到凉板上,我就舒心了。我一动也不想动了,白天的汗水和疲乏正在离开我而去。与此同时,许多人也和我一样在凉板上休息。

   Now lying on the bamboo bed, I feel comfortable. I don’t want to move a little. The sweet and fatigue in daytime leaves me. Meanwhile, my people lie on the bamboo bed like me.

   1970年代时我们的夏天生活没有冰淇淋、冷饮、冰箱、空调、电视甚至电扇。晚上我们破旧的宿舍楼里房间热得象蒸笼一样。在屋里除了忍受酷热,我们不能有任何乐趣。于是每天我们会在星空下的操场上呆上整晚,大多数天到半夜回屋睡觉,有一两个晚上我们一直在星空下的操场上睡到天亮。在我们宿舍楼北面60米就是医院的五层楼病房。不知道那些病人看见那些医治他们的人员及其家人躺在星空下作何感想?他们是否会觉得这样能让人更愉快,更健康,更少烦恼,更少病痛呢?

   In the 1970s, our summer life does not have ice cream, cooled drink, refrigerator, air-conditioner, TV, even electric fan at home. At night, our shabby residential building is like an oven. Inside home, except the terrible heat, we cannot have any fun. So every night we spend the whole night on the playground under the still starry sky. In most nights, we go back home around midnight. In a couple of nights, we sleep till the dawn on the playground. 60 yards to the north of our residential building is the 5-floor ward of the hospital. I wonder how those patients and their relatives feel when they see us lie under the starry sky. Will they feel staying outside at night let people be happier, healthier, less worry, less illness?

   我今晚的娱乐首先是在无边无际的夜空里数星星。每次当我数过15之后,我就分不清下一颗星星是否是我刚才数过的了。我听见隔我三米远躺着的那个小女孩脆生生的声音,“十五—,十六—,十七—,十八—”在最后一个数字时声音低了下去。应该说她比我好些。

   My first pleasure tonight is first to count the stars in the boundless sky. Every time after I count 15 stars, I cannot tell whether the next one has been counted or not. The crisp sound of the little girl three yards away from me comes to my ear, “15—,16—,17—,18—”. The voice fades at the last number. She has done better than me.

   之后我换了节目。舒服地躺在凉板上,我开始凝视面前的夜空。现在我的整个世界就是我面前的夜空了。那破旧的宿舍楼和闷热的空气已被我忘到九霄云外去了。往上看,我看不见月亮,只有无数的星星抛洒在无边无际的夜空。我听见那个小女孩的姐姐正在指给她看哪里是北斗七星。我对此没有兴趣,因为在我眼里每一颗星星都有它自己迷人的地方。那些不停地闪烁着的星星发出银白的亮光,在深蓝色的夜空里显得灿烂;那些间或闪烁的星星发出稳定的暗光,在深蓝色的夜空里显得柔和。所有这些星星无声地发射着束束冷光,形成一片寂静的星空。

   Then I change my program. Lying on the bamboo bed, I stare at the sky. Now the entire world before me is the dark blue sky. The shabby residential building and the sultry air get sent to limbo. Looking up, I cannot see the moon, only the countless stars strewn on the boundless sky. I hear the elder sister of that little girl showing her which ones are the Great Dipper. I have no interest in this for in my eye, every star has its glamour. Those constantly twinkling stars send out the silver light, looking brilliant in the dark blue sky; those occasionally twinkling stars send out the dim light, looking harmonious in the dark blue sky. All the stars send out the beams of cold light, forming the vast still starry sky.

   躺在凉板上,我看见一颗星在发光,而天上其它的星都没有那么亮的光。我算了一下那个方向,山城电影院方向,也就是太阳出来的方向,也就是东方。山城电影院在第一工人医院/急救中心的东方。那颗星在低天上,大约与地面呈30度吧。躺在凉板上,我有些费力地抬起头来才能看见它。至于这些星星离我们有多远,那我是根本不知道的。这时是晚上约10点钟。

   Lying on the bamboo bed, I see a star sending out the light, brighter than other stars in the sky. I calculate its direction. That is the way of the Mountain Theater, to the east of our First Workers’ Hospital/First Aid Center. I remember that is the way the sun goes up every day, the east. That star is on the low sky, about 30 degrees angle with the ground. Lying on the bamboo bed, I have to lift my head in order to see it. As for how far those stars are from us, I have no idea. Now it’s about 10 o’clock at night.

   或许每一颗星星都有一个故事。哦,讲故事,讲故事。我从沉思中醒来,对爸爸说,“爸爸,你再给我讲三国故事好吗?”

   Perhaps every star has a story. Oh, story telling, story telling, I wake up from the contemplation. I say to my Dad, “Dad, can you tell me a story about the Three-Kingdom?”

   在喝了一口冰水之后,他开始给我讲故事了。在他讲时,我时不时提些问题。

   Having taken a sip of the iced sweet water, he starts to tell me the story and I ask him questions about the story now and then.

   “那位常胜将军一辈子也没打过败仗吗?”我问。

   “That general who always wins victory hasn’t been defeated in his lifetime?” I ask.

   “哦,打过。最后在一个叫麦城的地方,他吃了个大败仗,被敌人杀了头。”

   “Oh, he has. At last, he suffered a lurch at a place called Mai Town, and was beheaded by the enemy,” he answers.

   “好可惜啊!”我长长地叹了一口气。

   “What a pity!” I sigh.

   在讲故事时,我们不停地喝那冰水,冰水只有一升。很多次我想下一口我就不喝了,可是一口引起下一口。喝冰水时我觉得它的甘甜和冰凉冷却着我的每根白天烘热了的神经。对我来说,它真是奇妙。

   During the story telling, we drink the iced sweet water now and then. The iced water is just 1 liter. Many times I think of it will be my last sip tonight, but one sip induces the next sip. Drinking it, I feel its sweetness and coldness cool down every nerve of mine baked in the daytime. To me, the iced water is amazing.

   天晚了,躺在寂静星空下,我感觉它是那样的宁静,仿佛它能给我一种保护。渐渐地我坠入了梦乡,寂静的星空作了我的被单。

   It’s late night. Lying under the still starry sky, I feel it is so tranquil, as if giving me a kind of protection. By and by, slumber takes me, with the still starry sky as my sheet.

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