Can’t Live Without Love by Xu Baiyuan ~ 何百源 《活着不能没有爱》 with English Translations

作品原文

何百源 《活着不能没有爱》

庄丽怡已过不惑之年,女儿都已读初一。但她身段依然姣好,头发依然乌黑,眼角一点鱼尾纹都还没有。她常对着镜子发呆,一对就是老半天。
她丈夫是某大酒店的点心师,每天清晨4时便起床上班,因此每晚很早便睡。只有丽怡和女儿二人在客厅里将音量调小看电视。母女俩都看得很专注入迷,尤其爱看爱情戏、家庭温馨伦理剧。每当看到男女之间海誓山盟、追逐求爱的“火爆”片段,更是目不转睛。女儿是因为一种新奇感,而丽怡则半是钦羡半是疑惑,她怀疑那仅仅是戏剧,人世间不可能会有那样的事情。
每当她对着镜子的时候,就常常想,一个女人,被人爱着将是一种什么样的滋味?
她就不曾感受过爱。在她的42年人生经历中,不曾有人主动追求过她,不曾有人给她写过情书,也不曾有人对她说过:“我爱你。”她当过六年知青,1978年回城后,先后有三起做媒的上门来为她说亲。父母经过认真比较,选择了一位诚实厚道、政治条件好,又在国营单位工作的男子童家满(就是现今的丈夫)。遗憾的是,他们之间建立不起感情。
结婚时,男方单位为他俩举行茶话会。来贺喜的双方的同事亲友起哄,要童家满当着大家的面说“我爱你”,然后吻她一嘴。但不管大家怎么起哄,木讷的家满就像根树桩似的站着不动。
忆昔犹昨,一晃眼十多年过去了。十多年来,她未曾感受过爱的甜蜜、心贴在一起的那种悸动,家满也竟然没有说过一次“我爱你”。他们之间是一对地道的“柴米夫妻”。她开始明白爱情和婚姻有时并不是一回事。
她常常想,被人追求,被人爱着,一定是很幸福的。倘若被人真爱一回,死也值得。
有一天,她突然想起在农场当知青时场部卫生所那个张医士,她忽然醒悟到张医士可能是爱她的。因为有一次她去看病时,偶然说起过《红楼梦》这套书,张医士便不顾一切地借回了一套,并且决心为她手抄下来。因为那时连看《红楼梦》都被认为是“追求地主资产阶级情调”,所以张医士只有在夜深人寂时躲在屋里紧闭门窗秘密地抄呀抄呀,大热天也是如此。须知那时是连电扇都没有的。可是直到丽怡回城时,还未抄完。后来丽怡和家满的婚事定下来,并很快完婚,她觉得不应该接受丈夫以外别个男子的礼物,于是写了一封信,叫张医士不要再抄了……
现在,她明白到,张医士这样痴心舍命地为她抄书,是对她有情有义,因为十多年来,家满从来就不曾表现出即使X分之一那样的痴情。但张医士当初却为什么不说穿道命呢?
从此,她就经常对着镜子想张医士。
她渴望今生有人给她写一封求爱信。
可是,日子就那样平平淡淡过去,既没有夫妻吵架的波澜,也没有爱的眩晕。
她突然想到,何不让想象中的张医士给自己写一次求爱信?于是,她就在梳妆台边,一笔一划地写呀写;把那些从书上,从影视上学来的爱呀生呀死呀甜呀酸呀泪呀写了满满两页纸,落款是张柯(张医士的名字)。
读着这封信,她感动得泪流满面。
每当寂寞难耐时,她就把这封信拿出来读一遍,一边读一边流泪。读完,就将它锁紧出嫁时自己买的一个精致的梳妆盒里。
她感到自己有了女人应有的秘密。
她感受到了被人爱着的幸福。

 

 

作品译文

Can’t Live Without Love
Xu Baiyuan

Zhuang Liyi was in her forties, with a daughter in the first year of middle school. Her figure was still perfect, her hair luxuriantly black, and she had no crow’s feet at the corners of her eyes yet. Often she would look in the mirror for a long time, lost in a trance.
Her husband was a pastry cook working for a big hotel. Every morning he had to get up at four o’clock to go to work, so he had to go to bed early every night, leaving Zhuang and the daughter watching TV in the living room with the volume low. Mother and daughter were really glued to the TV, especially when there were love stories and stories about family morals and affectionate relationships. They would fix their gaze more family where lovers exchanged vows, followed by “explosive” courtship scenes. The daughter enjoyed it out of curiosity, while the mother watched it out of admiration as well as doubt about the existence of love. “Except on TV, there can’t be true love in the world,” she thought.
She had never felt loved. No man had ever courted her in her forty-two years of life. No man had ever written her a love letter, or said “I love you” to her. After graduating from high school, she had settled down in the countryside for six years and did not return to the city until 1978. That year, matchmakers came to her home to propose to her on behalf of three men. After careful comparison, her parents picked for her an honest and kind man with a clean political background who was working for a state-owned business—today’s husband. Unfortunately, no love relationship ever really developed between them.
On their wedding day, the bridegroom’s employer held a celebration for them. Noisy good wishers from both sides kicked up a fuss, asking the bridegroom, Tong Jiaman, to say “I love you” to the bride right in front of the crowd, and kiss her. But he stood there like a tree trunk and would not do it, no matter how people booed and hooted.
Her memory was still as fresh as yesterday’s. more than a decade had passed, but she had never tasted the happiness of love or experienced the excitement of trembling caused by the touching of two hearts. Never had Jiaman said to her, “I love you.” They were just a couple who had married for the sake of marriage. She began to understand that love might differ from marriage.
She often thought that being courted and loved must be a very happy experience. If she could be truly loved by a man once, it would be worth her life.
One day, she suddenly thought of Mr. Zhang, the medical practitioner of the state-owned farm where she had worked after high school. All of a sudden, she realized that perhaps Zhang had been in love with her. Once when she was seeing him in the clinic, she carelessly mentioned she was interested in the novel A Dream of Red Mansions. After that, despite the great risk, Zhang managed to borrow a copy from someone, and started to hand copy it for her. At that time, reading this novel was branded by the government as “chasing the sentimentalism of the rich landlords and capitalists,” so Zhang could do this only secretly in the wee hours behind closed windows and doors when everybody had gone to sleep. He did not stop copying even on the hottest summer days. One must know that he did not even have an electric fan at that time. Zhang was still copying the novel when she returned to the city. Later on, Liyi and Jiaman became engaged and soon got married. She thought she should not receive favors from anybody except her husband, so she wrote to tell Zhang to stop his copying.
Now she realized that the devoted Zhang had been risking his life when he was secretly copying the banned novel for her. That was love and devotion. Throughout the years past, Jiaman had never even shown a fraction of that feeling for her. But why didn’t Zhang tell her his feelings at that time?
From then on, she would think of Zhang when she looked in the mirror.
She longed for a love letter from somebody in her lifetime.
But life lingered on in the same dull way without the uproars of a couple’s quarrelling or the dizziness of love.
Suddenly, she thought, “Why not let my imagined lover write me a love letter then?”
So she sat at her dresser and started to write, stroke by stroke, one word after another. She filled the two-page letter with all the words she had learned from films and television—”love,” “for life,” “until death,” “sweet,” “sour,” “tears.” The letter was signed Zhang Ke, the full name of the medical practitioner.
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she read the emotional letter.
From then on, whenever she could not stand her loneliness, she would bring out the letter and read it. Tears would accompany her throughout the reading. When she finished it, she would lock it up in her elegant dressing box that she had bought for her own wedding.
Now she felt she had a secret a woman should have.
Now she felt the joy of being loved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *