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我的母亲

2014-01-08

疯狂英语·阅读版 2013年12期
关键词:芝士三明治汉堡

My mom runs fast for a 65-year-old. Shes small—5 1)ft even—weighing in at just over 100 2)lbs. Her compact frame slays in the juniors section of American department stores. I see her 3)sprinting toward me as I stand on the corner of Austins busiest intersection, on its busiest fortnight—the two weeks it plays host to 4)South by Southwest, the annual multimedia conference. Its just after 11 P.M. and traffic is an absolute nightmare. My moms always been sporty but since she stopped dyeing her hair she looks her age. As she gets closer, I worry that her 5)brittle skeleton is going to crumple atop the 6)hood of a 7)swerving 8)SUV. Being picked up by my parents is an experience I thought Id grown out of entirely. After all, I am 33 years old, live in New York and am here on business. But they live just an hour outside of town, and I pulled the trigger on hotels late enough that Im staying with them. Theyve been stuck in traffic for two hours coming to get me.

I was on the phone with my dad, both of us barking over the 9)imperious GPS voice—him in a road rage and me in a full-body eyeroll—when my mom bolted from the car to run ahead, figuring Id be easier to 10)peg on foot. Im watching her beam and wave big, while running hard and yelling my full name in English, just like that: first name; last name. My parents both do this as though its for my benefit. Like, calling a child by their full government name is supercasual. Like, its not a dead giveaway as the weirdest, most 11)ESL 12)affectation in the world. Im waiting with a 24-year-old colleague that I hired straight from college who idolizes me and Im worried that my mom will hurt herself and that people will see.

I love my mother an abnormal amount, even when she forces me to call distant relatives, dialing the phone and pressing it into my cheek while my eyes get hot and watery. She pulls rank all the time and once judo-flipped me on my back in a grocery store to remind me where things stood. She is my favorite and it makes me crazy. You can tell that she was popular in school, but I am a fundamentally more popular person. I care more and Im great at rules. Ive known it since the first grade.

When I was small I thought I was cooler than my mom because of how foreign she is. Shes really foreign. Youd think it would kill her to get store-bought snacks, shes that foreign. She grew up in a Korea filled with Koreans, married a Korean and then moved to Hong Kong in her mid-30s. I was 11 months and my brother was two years. This was back when Hong Kong was a British colony, which meant we were living in Asia with heaps of Australians and bronzed Europeans who dated Filipino women. In any case, I speak four languages and am a ruthless assimilation ninja.

My mother, on the other hand, speaks English poorly with a 13)screwy, 14)poncy Korean British accent, as if she learned it from watching a 1960s 15)MerchantIvory movie. Shes also ridiculously formal, deeply private and not a joiner. She transitions poorly. The move to Hong Kong with two 16)wee kids and an absentee partner was rough. My father had elected to set up a shipping company. He was out of the country for eight months of the year, and sometime around my tenth birthday I discovered that he spoke conversational Russian for reasons that remain 17)murky. All this is to say that he wasnt around a lot.

School was awful. Lunch sucked. My mom would pack the dumbest garbage. She once 18)smeared bits of raw garlic left over from making 19)kimchi onto white sandwich bread, thinking thats how the garlic bread advertised at Pizza Hut was born. I waited until she got off work that night and yelled at her with 20)rank breath. Id eaten most of the seemingly innocent square, elated that a sandwich had turned up at all in a lunch box that usually contained punishment food that sometimes had eyes.

One lunch, I was dragging myself around the playground when I saw my mom standing by the fence, waving big and calling my name. I wanted so badly to ignore her. She was supposed to be at work, so I was suspicious. I began to back away so she started shouting loud enough to be heard over the playground 21)din. I 22)shuffled towards her with every intention to roundhousebludgeon her with my plastered arm. She held out a paper box. It was a McDonalds happy meal: a cheeseburger one, which was my favorite. The offering was so out of character that I considered it a bribe. I asked her what was going on. She mentioned something about how she wanted me to have a lunch that I liked.

I then did what any normal kid would do and yelled and yelled about how embarrassing it was to have her at school with me during lunch of all times. She presented me with a sack of cheeseburgers that I could give out to my friends. I refused the damp bag and screeched about how it was so cheap that she didnt 23)spring for bright red boxes with toys for them as well. I made her take the burgers back with her. If I were an actress and had to think of something sad to make me cry in a scene, I would think about this moment.

I think about my mom all the time and cant stand it. When she rings during a meal I get 24)indigestion if I dont call her back immediately. I dont go home for birthdays or holidays, and on the occasions I do visit, I express my affection in strange ways. I wait for her to fall asleep, peer over her body and imagine what itd be like if she died. I just stand there, hot silent tears coursing down my face.

Were not a demonstrative family, but I love my mom and its a secret. I love her so much it kills me, and Id sooner die than tell her. I kinda want her to know though. Maybe someone could tell her for me; someone who isnt my dad, because that would be weird.

对于一个65岁的人来说,我母亲健步如飞。她体型娇小——刚好5英尺(约1.52米)——体重刚过100磅(约45.4公斤)。凭借紧凑的身型,她完全可以到美国的百货商店青少年服饰部血拼去。恰逢奥斯汀市最忙碌的那两个星期(一年一度的多媒体盛会——西南偏南音乐节在此举行),站在那儿最繁忙的十字路口,我看到母亲向我冲过来。这时刚过午夜十一点,交通完全陷入噩梦状态。我母亲一直热爱运动,但自从不再染发后,她便年岁尽显了。当她离我越来越近时,我担心她那脆弱的小身板会撞在突然转向的越野车引擎盖上而彻底散架。我曾以为自己再也不会体验那种让父母来接的感受了。毕竟,我已经33岁,住在纽约,只是到这里出差办事。但他们的住处就在城外一小时车程的地方,而我决定订酒店时为时已晚,所以只能住在他们家了。他们为了来接我在路上堵了两个小时的车。

我在跟父亲通电话,我俩在导航专横的声音中大吼大叫——他正处于路怒症状态,而我则全身都在翻白眼——当我母亲从车上跳下来朝前跑时,说明了我靠双脚暴走还更容易些。我看到她笑容满面,使劲挥手,一边努力跑着,一边用英语唤着我的全名,就像这样:名字,姓氏。我父母都这么做,像是为了我好似的。就好像呼唤一个孩子的政府登记全名是极其随意的事似的。就像那不是“绝对有问题”,不是世界上最奇怪、英语非母语群体里最矫情的事情似的。我和一位24岁的同事在一起等着,她是我从大学里直接招聘过来的,把我当成偶像,而我很担心母亲会受伤,而旁人会看到。

我爱我的母亲爱得不得了,哪怕当她在我眼睛热辣辣、泪汪汪时,强迫我给远亲们打电话,拨出号码并按在我脸颊上。她总是爱发威,有一次甚至在杂货店里将我一把摔地上,以此警告我别没大没小。她是我的最爱,也让我发疯。你可以说,她曾在学校里备受欢迎,但从根本上说来,我更加受人欢迎。我更加在意且非常遵守规则。我在一年级时就知道这一点。

当我年幼时,我认为自己比妈妈更酷,因为她实在是太外国气了。她真的是很外国气。你会觉得让她吃商店里买的点心就会要了她的命似的,她就是那么外国。她在韩国长大,周围都是韩国人,后来嫁了个韩国人,接着在35岁左右搬家到了香港。那时我11个月,我哥哥两岁。那时候香港还是英国的殖民地,也就意味着我们虽然住在亚洲,但身边是成堆和菲律宾女人约会的澳洲人和古铜色皮肤的欧洲人。不管怎样,我能说四国语言,是一切兼收并蓄的“忍者”强人。

而另一方面,我母亲英语说得很差,还带着古怪而女人气的韩国英式口音,就好像是从一部20世纪60年代莫谦特—艾佛利的电影里学来的。她还一本正经得可笑,极其孤僻,不喜社交。她不太能调适新的生活。带着两个年幼的孩子搬到香港且伴侣不在身边,生活很艰难。我父亲被选去创办一家船运公司。他一年里有八个月不在国内,而在我十岁生日左右时,我发现他能用俄语会话,但至今原因不明。所有这一切都说明了,他经常不在我们身边。

学校生活很糟糕。午餐很难吃。我母亲总会给我打包带上最糟的垃圾食物。她有一次甚至在白三明治面包上抹上了许多做泡菜后剩下的生大蒜,认为必胜客广告里宣传的蒜蓉面包就是这样诞生的。那天晚上我一直等到她下班之后,带着难闻的口气冲着她大叫。我吃掉了大部分看起来干净的边角,还挺满心欢喜的,毕竟午餐盒里装着的是三明治,而非通常那种有时候还带着眼珠子的让人受罪的食物。

一天午餐时,我正吃力地绕着操场行走,我看到母亲站在栅栏旁,大力地挥着手,叫着我的名字。我真想忽视她的存在。她本应该在上班的,因此我满心狐疑。我开始往回走,于是她开始越叫越大声,盖过了整个操场的喧闹声。我拖着脚步向她走去,满心是抡圆了我那打了石膏的手臂痛打她一顿的念头。她拿出一个纸盒。那是麦当劳的开心乐园餐:一份有芝士汉堡的套餐,那是我的最爱。这份大餐实在是太不像她的作风了,所以我认为这是一份贿赂。我问她发生了什么事。她提到类似于她很希望我能够吃到一份自己喜欢的午餐之类的事。

于是我就像其他普通孩子会做的那样,冲着她大喊大叫,说她什么时候不好挑,偏偏在午餐时到学校来看我,这是多么让人尴尬啊。她给了我一袋芝士汉堡,让我拿给朋友们分享。我拒绝接受那个湿巴巴的袋子,尖叫着说那东西廉价,她为什么没有也给他们买装着玩具的亮红色盒子。我让她把汉堡带回去。如果我是个演员,不得不想些伤感的事来让自己在某个场景中流泪,我会想到这一刻。

我一直都很想念母亲,这让我无法忍受。当她在吃饭时间打电话过来,如果不马上回她电话,我就会消化不良。我不会回家过生日或是节日,而当我确实回家看他们时,我总是用奇怪的方式表达我的情感。我等到她睡熟以后,凝视她的身体,想象着如果她去世了会怎样。我就站在那里,热辣辣的眼泪静静地滑落我的脸庞。

我们并不是一个感情外露的家庭,但我爱我母亲,而这是个秘密。我爱她如此之深却让我痛苦不堪,但我情愿死也不愿告诉她。尽管如此,我还是挺希望她能知道。也许有人能帮我告诉她;那个人不能是我父亲,因为那会很奇怪。

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