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我的野蛮祖母


My grandmother was an iron-willed woman, the feared matriarch of our New York family back in the 1950s. 
  When I was five years old, she invited some friends and relatives to her Bronx apartment for a party. Among the guests was a neighborhood big shot who was doing well in business. His wife was proud of their social status and let everyone at the party know it. They had a little girl about my age who was spoiled and very much used to getting her own way.

Grandmother spent a lot of time with the big shot and his family. She considered them the most important members of her social circle and worked hard at currying their favor.

20世纪50年代我们家住在纽约,当时祖母是一家之主,也是一个令人敬畏的强悍女人。

我5岁那年,她邀请了一些亲戚朋友到布朗克斯的公寓里聚会。在客人中有个做生意发了财的大款,他的妻子神气地向大家炫耀他们家的社会地位。他们有个娇气的小女儿,年纪跟我差不多,脾气很蛮横。

祖母殷勤地伺候着那个大款和他的家人,她把他们看作是她的社交圈里最重要的人物,因此她不遗余力地逢迎他们。

 

At one point during the party, I made my way to the bathroom and closed the door behind me. A minute or two later, the little girl opened the bathroom door and grandly walked in. I was still sitting down.

"Don’t you know that little girls aren’t supposed to come into the bathroom when a little boy is using it!?" I hollered.

The surprise of my being there, along with the indignation I had heaped upon her, stunned the little girl. Then she started to cry. She quickly closed the door, ran to the kitchen, and tearfully complained to her parents and my grandmother.

Most of the partygoers had overheard my loud remark and were greatly amused by it. But not Grandmother.

She was waiting for me when I left the bathroom. I received the longest, sharpest tongue-lashing of my young life. Grandmother yelled that I was impolite and rude and that I had insulted that nice little girl. The guests watched and winced in absolute silence. So forceful was my grandmother’s personality that no one dared stand up for me.

After her harangue was over and I had been dismissed, the party continued, but the atmosphere was much more subdued.

晚会进行中,我走进了洗手间并随手把门关上。大概一两分钟后,我当时还坐在马桶上,那个小女孩推开洗手间的门,大模大样地走了进来。

“难道你不知道当一个男孩在使用洗手间的时候女孩子是不可以进来的吗!?”我生气地嚷着说。

听到我生气的吼声,她一下子惊呆了,然后“哇”的一声哭了起来。她飞快地关上门向厨房跑去,边哭边向她的父母和我的祖母告状。

大多数的客人其实都听到了我的怒骂声,他们都被逗乐了,可祖母一点都没笑。

当我从洗手间出来,祖母劈头盖脸地把我骂了一通,骂我没礼貌、少教养、冲撞了那可爱的小女孩。客人们都在静静地看着,我的祖母实在太霸道了,根本没有人敢为我说话。

等她骂完叫我滚开之后,晚会继续进行,但气氛已经大大减弱。

 

Twenty minutes later, all that changed. Grandmother walked by the bathroom and noticed a torrent of water streaming out from under the door.

She shrieked twice—first in astonishment, then in rage. She flung open the bathroom door and saw that the sink and tub were plugged up and that the faucets were going at full blast.

Everyone knew who the culprit was. The guests quickly formed a protective barricade around me, but Grandmother was so furious that she almost got to me anyway, flailing her arms as if trying to swim over the crowd.

Several strong men eventually moved her away and calmed her down, although she sputtered and fumed for quite a while.

My grandfather took me by the hand and sat me on his lap in a chair near the window. He was a kind and gentle man, full of wisdom and patience. Rarely did he raise his voice to anyone, and never did he argue with his wife or defy her wishes.

He looked at me with much curiosity, not at all angry or upset. "Tell me," he asked, "why did you do it?"

"Well, she yelled at me for nothing," I said earnestly. "Now she’s got something to yell about."

Grandfather didn’t speak right away. He just sat there, looking at me and smiling.

"Eric," he said at last, "you are my revenge."

可二十分钟之后,一切全都变了。当祖母从洗手间走过的时候,她发现有股水流从门缝里涌出来。

她先是惊异地叫了一声,很快又愤怒地尖叫起来。她猛力地撞开洗手间的门,发现洗手盆和浴缸都被塞子塞住了,水龙头被拧到最大,水正哗啦啦地直流。

每个人都知道是谁搞的鬼,客人们马上在我周围形成了一堵人墙保护我。愤怒的祖母使劲地挥舞着双手,样子就像在人堆里游泳一样。好几次她差点够着我。

最后几个魁梧的男人才把祖母制住,把她拉开让她冷静下来,但她还是气急败坏地嚷了好一阵子。

祖父这时走了过来,牵着我的手到靠窗的一张椅子上坐下,还把我抱到他的膝盖上坐。祖父的性格好,脾气也特别好。他很少提高嗓门和别人说话,也从来没有和祖母吵架,也从来没有违背过祖母的意愿。

他很好奇地打量着我,没有半点生气或烦恼的样子,“告诉我,”他说,“你为什么要这样做呢?”

“是这样的,她先无缘无故地骂了我一顿,”我认真地说,“这回她骂我就有理由了!”

祖父没有马上说话,他只是坐在那儿,笑眯眯地看着我。

最后他终于开口说:“艾里克,我的乖孙子,你总算替爷爷出了口气!”

我的野蛮祖母


日期:2014/11/26   阅读数[4]

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