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生命的一课

2014-01-08byNancyJulienKopp

疯狂英语·阅读版 2013年12期
关键词:课室脚步声二楼

by Nancy Julien Kopp

Life has a way of tapping us on the shoulder, 1)beckoning a finger, and whispering, “Pay attention to this.” It happens when we least expect it. One such lesson presented itself to me at the 2)tender age of eleven.

In the 1950s I spent my days as a sixth grader in a 3)K-8 suburban school. One particular day, classes changed with the usual noise made by voices and feet as students moved down the hall and up or down staircases. I proceeded through the hallway at a rapid pace toward a large double stairway, which led to the second and third floor of the new section of our building. Suddenly, I noticed a new sound added to those already surrounding me.

The harshness of 4)cleats hitting the floor, metal creaking, and heavy footsteps caught my attention. The sound caused me to raise my head and search the area as I neared the bottom of the stairway. A girl, who wore full 5)leg braces and heavy 6)orthopedic shoes with tap cleats on the toes, made her way across a wooden-floored room that connected the old and new parts of our school. Wherever she went, Rochelle carried the reminders of her serious 7)bout with 8)polio a few years earlier. Despite the passage of more than fifty years, I see her clearly.

Rochelles hair was cut in a wavy bob and a big red hair-bow perched on the top. Her fair ivory skin glowed, and her eyes were such a deep blue, they almost looked black. She had a small, upturned nose and a wide mouth that smiled more often than not. The full steel braces supported the wasted muscles in her legs.

As Rochelle moved faster and faster, like a snowball going downhill, her feet tangled, and she landed face down at the top of the wide stairway. A wave of humanity flowed toward her, arms outstretched to help. One word from the 9)prostrate girl stopped them. “No!” she said, as she lay face down on the hard floor. I remained rooted in my vantage point at the bottom of the stairway, frozen in place, holding my breath. Rochelle lifted her head. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears as she gazed straight at me.

This amazing girl pushed herself up to a kneeling position, and with a 10)Herculean effort, made it to her feet. This was not the first time her crippled, twisted legs betrayed her. She held her head high, accepted the dropped book a boy cautiously held out to her, and made her way up the stairway to the second floor, triumph flashing in those dark eyes. The noise level and student movement returned to normal.

The whole episode took no more than a couple minutes, but that day I learned about dignity and strength of character. I found out the meaning of determination and persistence. If Rochelle is alive today, she probably still wears her braces or may even spend her days in a wheelchair, but I feel certain her spirit is unchanged. She more than likely continues to teach lifes little lessons to a great many others, in her own quiet way.

生活自有一套方式,在我们的肩膀上轻轻叩几下,用手指召唤我们,在我们耳边悄悄说:“留心这件事。”这种事总在我们最不经意间发生。这样的一课在我正处于11岁的幼年时期时曾呈现在我的面前。

上世纪五十年代,我在一家包含幼儿园至八年级的郊区学校上六年级。某一天,伴随着学生们在大堂和楼梯上上下下那惯常的说话声脚步声,课堂更迭着。我穿过走廊,快步朝着一座大型的双排楼梯走去。这楼梯通向教学楼新区的二楼和三楼。突然,我察觉到周围的声音中多了一道新的声响。

铁钉击打着地板,金属发出咯吱咯吱的声音,还有沉重的脚步声。这一系列刺耳的声音吸引了我的注意,在我走近楼梯时,驱使我抬起头,扫视四周。一位女孩,两条腿装着全套的腿支架和沉重的矫形鞋,前脚掌还装有防滑钉,正穿过连接学校新旧两区的一间木地板课室。无论她走到哪里,罗谢尔都像随时提醒着人们,几年前她曾经遭受过一次严重的小儿麻痹症。即便半个多世纪已经过去了,她当时的样子依然历历在目。

罗谢尔的头发剪成了波浪型的波波头,头顶上别着一个大大的红色蝴蝶结。她象牙般白皙的皮肤光彩照人,双眼是那么的湛蓝深邃,看起来几乎与黑色无异。她有一个小小的翘鼻子和一张常挂着笑容的大嘴巴。那套包裹全腿的钢铁支架,支撑着她双腿上已经萎缩了的肌肉。

罗谢尔越走越快,就像一个滚下山的雪球,她的双腿绊到了一起,在宽敞的楼梯顶,她一脸扑倒在地上。一大群好心人涌向她,向她伸出援手。然而这个俯卧着的女孩的一句话,让大家止住了。“别!”她说,依然脸朝下趴在坚硬的地板上。我的脚像生了根似地站在楼梯底的有利位置,惊呆在那儿,屏住呼吸。罗谢尔抬起了头。她眼睁睁地盯着我时,双眼饱含着泪水,闪闪发光。

这个了不起的女孩将自己推起至双膝跪地的姿势,使出九牛二虎之力,站了起来。这并不是她第一次跌倒,残障扭曲的双腿出卖了她。她高高地扬起头,接过一个男孩小心翼翼地递过来的那本她掉在地上的书,继续走她的路,爬楼梯上二楼,深邃的双眼里闪烁着胜利的喜悦。周围的嘈杂声和学生们的活动回归到了常态。

这一小插曲只发生在短短的几分钟之内,但是那天,我学到了尊严和人格的力量。我懂得了决心和执着的意义。如果罗谢尔现在还在世的话,也许她还套着她的脚支架,又或是甚至以轮椅代步,但是我敢确定她的精神不会改变。她想必正以自己独有的无声方式,继续给许许多多的人传授人生小课。

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