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第四次约会时,我割破了一根血管

更新时间:2019/10/23 18:37:23 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

At the Hospital, an Interlude of Clarity
第四次约会时,我割破了一根血管

There is never a good time to fall off your couch onto a martini glass, nick a major blood vessel and begin losing a dangerous amount of blood, but having this happen in the middle of a promising date is an especially bad time. Nothing breaks the mysterious spell of blossoming attraction faster than spurting blood.

从沙发摔到马提尼酒杯上,割破一根主血管,失血量危急,这种事你是什么时候也不愿意碰上的,偏偏就在一场前景光明的约会当中发生,真是太不会挑时候了。破解爱的魔法,再没什么比喷涌的鲜血更快。

I demonstrated this last spring while on my fourth date with a Brazilian woman so beautiful I was almost afraid of her. After dinner in a homey Italian restaurant, we walked back to the apartment I had just moved into in Brooklyn. Living in the city for the first time without roommates, I was eager to take advantage of my newfound privacy. And things were going well. There’s something romantic about drinking from fancy glasses in an unfurnished room full of unpacked boxes. Miles Davis’s “In a Silent Way” spun on the record player.

去年春天,我和一个巴西姑娘第四次约会的时候就示范了这个道理。巴西姑娘特别漂亮,漂亮得我都有点怕她。在一家意大利家常菜馆子吃了晚饭后,我们走回布鲁克林我新搬的公寓。在这个城市我头一回不跟人合租,特别渴望利用好这刚刚到手的私密性。一切顺利。在堆满了没拆的纸箱、还没摆家具的房间里,用精美的杯子喝酒,还是有某种浪漫的。电唱机里放着迈尔斯·戴维斯(Miles Davis)的歌曲《在沉默中》(In a Silent Way)。

I was amazed to have gotten this far. As my friends were sick of hearing, it made no sense to me that a gorgeous woman in her early 20s who spoke four languages and had lived on three continents was spending her Saturdays with me, a 31-year-old bookish type from Pittsburgh.

能有这种进展我甚感诧异。我那些朋友都已经听腻了,一个二十出头能说四种语言住过三个大洲的大美女,跟我这个匹兹堡来的31岁书呆子一起过了那么些个周末,这完全没道理。

Each outing felt as if I were sneaking into an exclusive club, and at the end of the night I always feared I would be discovered and asked to leave. I realize that meeting someone wonderful is the whole point of dating, but actually being with someone wonderful can be too stressful for me to enjoy.

每次约会,感觉都像是混进了一家高档会所,到了晚上终场时我总是害怕会被人发现请出去。我发现跟美妙之人约会才叫约会,但真的跟美妙之人在一起又叫我紧张得无福消受。

This stress is typical for me. I have been on anti-anxiety medication for about 10 years, and on dates I’m constantly asking myself: “Was that the wrong thing to say? Do I seem nervous? Will obsessing about being nervous make me appear more nervous?”

这种焦虑在我是家常便饭。我吃药抗焦虑差不多有十年了,约会的时候我会不断地问自己:“我是不是不该说那个?我看起来紧张吗?担心自己太紧张是不是让我显得更紧张?”

Not unusual questions to ask yourself when meeting new people, but for me they can be paralyzing. Any brain space left for experiencing the date itself is woefully small. Even if the evening goes well, I often appreciate it only later and from a distance, as if it had happened to someone else — like dating in the third person.

刚开始交往时这般自问没什么不对,但在我而言,这些念头令人不知所措。剩下来体会约会本身的大脑空间已少得可怜。哪怕这一晚诸般顺遂,我也常常是在日后才能置身事外地欣赏它,好像那是发生在别人身上,好像我是在以第三人称约会。

So far my success with this particular woman had been an exercise in ignoring the reality of it, which apparently also led me to ignore the reality of my surroundings in general. As she unraveled herself from our embrace on the couch to use the bathroom, I fell onto the after-dinner drink she had left on the floor, the glass slicing into the soft underside of my upper arm. When I looked down, I glimpsed my exposed triceps and more blood than I had ever seen in my life. The cut had gone nearly to the bone.

到目前为止,我跟这个姑娘的成功都在于训练自己忽略这段交往的真实性,看来这也让我忽略了身边的真实。她从我们在沙发上的拥抱中抽身去用卫生间,我就摔到了她搁在地上的餐后酒上,玻璃切进我上臂柔软的外侧。低头一看,我瞥见外露的三头肌,血流得比我这辈子见过的总数都多。伤口几乎要到骨头了。

This is not the first time a date ended with me in the emergency room. I seem to have a knack for it. My college girlfriend once served undercooked chicken that gave me hallucinations and a fever of 104. Years later, my attempt to cook breakfast for another woman ended in second-degree burns after I managed to set fire to a paper towel. But the severity of this injury, its unfortunate timing and the fact that I was naked all broke new ground.

一场约会以我进了急救室收场,这倒不是头一回。我对此似乎颇有诀窍。大学时的女友有次给我吃没煮熟的鸡肉,让我产生幻觉,烧到40度。几年后,我想给另一个姑娘做早餐,结果不知怎么点着了纸巾,二度烧伤。但这一次我受伤的严重程度、苦命的时机还有我全裸的事实,全都达到了新的高度。

In the ambulance, the emergency medical workers held together my arm, but their questions threatened to unravel my subterfuge as an acceptable mate to this accomplished young woman.

救护车里,急救人员把我的胳膊紧紧按住,可是他们的提问简直要瓦解我配得上这么个好姑娘的假象。

“How old are you?” one asked, which put our substantial age difference — something we had not yet talked about — suddenly under a spotlight.

“你多大了?”一个人问,这就把我和她的年龄差——我们都还没谈个这个问题——一下子放到了焦点上。

“Are you on any medication?”

“服药吗?”

“Antidepressants and Klonopin,” I reluctantly answered.

“抗抑郁药和氯硝西泮,”我不情不愿地回答。

Then, to her: “Is he your boyfriend? Your friend?”

然后又问她:“是你男朋友,还是朋友?”

Long pause. “Boyfriend,” she blurted uncomfortably. Then, an instant later, “Friend.”

“男朋友,”顿了好一会儿,她才不自在地脱口而出。马上又改口,“朋友。”

Even though I was riding in an ambulance to surgery, that one still stung.

哪怕我这是躺在救护车上送去手术,这一句还是痛心。

To the entertainment of the hospital’s overnight staff, I was still half-naked when I arrived. My date had managed to get pants on me while we waited for the ambulance, but as I hadn’t been able to let go of my arm at the time, my shirt would go on only halfway. Being wheeled into surgery like this, alongside a woman in a sexy dress, pretty much screamed “sex injury.”

到医院时我还半裸着,这成了夜班医护人员的乐子。在家等救护车来的时候,我的约会对象设法给我穿上了裤子,但当时我还没法放开胳膊,衬衫就只能穿一半。这副模样给推去手术室,身旁又跟着个衣着性感的姑娘,简直就是在高喊“性爱受伤哦”。

The next hour was a chaotic blur of X-rays, questions I struggled not to panic about (why does this waiver form ask for my religious preference?) and several doctors’ disconcertingly wide-eyed reactions to my injury.

接下来的一个小时很混乱,照X光,我尽力冷静应付各种问题(这个免责表格问我的宗教倾向干什么?),还有好几个医生看到我伤势时令人不安的瞠目表情。

When I asked, “I’m not going to lose my arm, am I?” the answer was a troubling, “I don’t think so.”

我问“我胳膊不会保不住了吧”,得到的回答令人紧张,“大概不会吧。”

A brusque surgeon with a pitiless stare prodded me as he mumbled about my case to a flock of residents. I couldn’t hear everything, but “seven centimeters” and “arterial” came through loud and clear.

一个粗暴的外科医生用冷漠无情的目光打量着我,给一群住院医师咕哝我的病情。我听不清所有的话,但“七厘米”和“动脉”响亮又清晰地传来。

Physical humiliation was next on the agenda. Before the operation, my date got to watch a nurse move my pasty, fluorescent-lit body out of my bloody jeans and into a hospital gown. I pictured us sitting at dinner a week from now, this unflattering snapshot of me hovering between us as I pointed at what I wanted on the menu to the waiter with my hook arm.

随之而来是身体的羞辱。手术前,我的女友要看着一个护士把我被荧光灯照得苍白的躯体从血淋淋的牛仔裤里移出来,放进医院的长袍。我设想一周之后我们坐在餐桌前,这幅糟心的画面在我和她之间浮现,我在菜单上把要点的菜指给侍者看,用我装了钩子的手臂。

Then it was time. I remember that the lights in the operating room were very bright, and I remember being told they were about to start the anesthesia. And suddenly: oblivion.

然后是时间。我记得手术室里的灯特别亮,我记得他们告诉我这就开始麻醉。然后一下子断片儿了。

I awoke in a haze. My arm, and my date, were both still with me. The operation had gone well, but protocol required me to stay in the emergency room for six more hours. This registered, briefly, as a terrifying amount of time for a woman and me to be left alone with no dim lighting, no alcohol, no movie to watch or appetizers to eat, and no escape hatch in the event of awkwardness.

迷迷糊糊我醒了。我的胳膊、我的约会对象都还在。手术很顺利,但根据规定,我得在急救室再留置六个小时。简单讲,这就是一段长到吓人的时间,要我和一个姑娘单独呆着,没有昏暗灯光,没有酒精,没有电影看也没开胃小吃,而且在这一大型尴尬当中没有逃生口。

Anxiety visits some people in violent bursts, like an electrical storm. For me, it creeps in gradually and insidiously, like a thickening fog. When the fog becomes dense enough, it causes a scary, dreamlike sensation that my psychiatrist calls “derealization,” where I kind of shut down and can no longer really function in a social situation.

有的人,焦虑是猛然爆发,像一场雷暴。我呢,焦虑是居心险恶地慢慢逼近,就像悄然浓厚的大雾。当这雾浓到一定程度,就导致一种可怕的梦境般的感觉,我的治疗师称之为“现实解体”,也就是我在某种意义上处于关机状态,在人际情境中不再工作。

That moment in the hospital should have been one when the fog began its creep, but for some reason it stayed away. I’ll never know if my calm was psychological (a cocktail of adrenaline, morphine and utter relief) or physiological; after six hours of unbroken embarrassment and fear, I was simply too exhausted.

医院里的那个时刻本来应该就是大雾开始弥漫的,但不知什么缘故它躲开了。我永远搞不懂我的平静究竟是心理上的(肾上腺素、吗啡和彻底松懈的混合作用)还是生理上的;六个小时不间断的狼狈和畏惧之后,我已经太累了。

Whatever the reason, I felt fine. My thoughts were clear and unencumbered. My date’s eyes stared into mine with an uncomplicated tenderness that made my head swim. It was as if we had jumped forward years, and the anxieties and gamesmanship of our early dates were a quaint and distant memory. This, I thought, is what it’s like to be with this woman. Neither of us had changed, but I was in a different world.

不管什么原因,自己感觉不错。我思路清晰无阻。女友目不转睛地看着我,眼里是单纯的温柔,令我头晕目眩。我们仿佛向前跃进数年,初交往时的焦虑和心机已经成了古早、离奇的回忆。这,我心想,才是和这个女人相处的感觉。我们俩谁也没变,但我已是换了天地。

Those six hours sailed by gloriously. We traded hospital stories and endless jokes about martini glasses. We talked about books and our families. We came up with an absurd screenplay idea, a horror movie set in a hospital. I was talking and laughing and effortlessly connecting with one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen, a woman I was truly falling for.

那六个小时过得光彩夺目。我们讲了各种医院故事和没完没了的关于马提尼酒杯的笑话。我们聊了书和各自的家人。我们还想出了一个可笑的剧本点子,一部以医院为背景的恐怖片。我说啊笑啊,轻松自如地与她心意相通,这个我见过最美的女人,我真正倾心的女人。

When I was finally released, our midmorning cab ride back to my neighborhood felt like a lucid dream. We ate egg sandwiches in the park and returned to find the familiar surroundings of my living room splattered with blood. Through a haze of sleep deprivation and residual morphine, I felt like a ghost returning to the scene of my own murder.

终于放我出院,在上午搭出租车回我小区的路程就像是一场清晰的梦。我们在公园里吃了鸡蛋三明治,回到家发现熟悉的客厅到处溅血。缺觉和吗啡残留带来的一丝迷糊当中,我觉得像个鬼魂回到了自己的被杀现场。

As we stood there, mopping up bloody footprints with our Swiffers, surrounded by wadded-up pink paper towels, I thought, “Either you will never see this woman again, or she will stick around a long time.”

我们俩站在那儿用Swiffer拖把擦掉地上的血脚印,四下是揉成团的粉红色纸巾,这时我想:“要么你再也见不到这姑娘,要么她会在你身边留很久。”

Neither happened. I would like to be able to say my story ends in an epiphany, with the end of my anxiety and the beginning of an enduring relationship. But the reality is she left me about a month later. Not because she had found me repulsive in the fluorescent light of the hospital, but for a more conventional reason: She missed her ex-boyfriend.

都没说中。我也想让我这故事有个菩萨显灵的结局,我的焦虑好了,一段持久的关系就此展开。但事实是差不多一个月之后她跟我分开了。不是因为在医院的荧光灯底下她发现我面目可憎,而是一个了无新意的原因:她想前男友了。

Sometimes when a guy really likes a girl, he gets a tattoo on his arm. I got this prominent scar instead. But there are times when I finger its deep groove (a new nervous tic), those six beautiful hours in the emergency room flicker in my head, and I am reminded how close I am to an alternate world in which I am happy, a world that occupies the same space as this one but is somehow distinct from it. And while that better world may be difficult to find, it is as close to me as the air in front of my face.

有时候一个小伙子真的爱一个女孩,他就去在胳膊上刺个文身。我得到的却是这个醒目的伤疤。有时候我摸着这道深深的凹陷(一个新的不由自主的动作),急救室里那美好的六个小时就在脑海浮现,提醒我距离那另一个天地有多近,在那里我是快乐的,它跟眼下这个世界占用同一个空间,却又截然不同。那个更美好的天地也许难以寻获,却又如我面前的空气一样近。

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