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红宝书

“我们共产党员好比种子,”我背诵道。

“共产党人,”庞大麻壳纠正我。

“哦,对,共产党人,人民好比土壤,”我接着背诵。

“土地。”

“嗯,土地,”我机械地重复道,头上有点冒汗了:“我们到了一片土地……”

“我们到了一个地方,你记性不是挺好的吗?”庞大麻壳不高兴了。“上次你不是背得挺流利  的?显然你是没有认真准备嘛。骄傲使人落后啊!念你是这是头一回,今儿个我也不多说什么了。明儿给我背10页。背下来将功折罪,背不下来,后天背20页。这规矩就是规矩,谁也不能破!”
   

庞大麻壳是我们初中一年级的班主任。她姓庞,矮胖短粗,脸上有浅浅的麻子,特厉害,记性还特好。整本毛主席语录她倒背如流,而且随便你问她哪页,她都能背出来。更厉害的是,她特别善于引用毛主席语录,甭管什么情况,她都能用毛主席语录来说明你错了,说明她有理。大家虽然哑口无言,可心里还是有点不服。背地里都叫她庞大麻壳。她交给我们的第一个“光荣任务”就是把270页毛主席语录都背下来,向国庆节献礼,让全校看看我们的辉煌成绩。她的计划是让我们每天背十页,星期天休息。每天早上她都要抽查。那年头,毛主席是我们的“大救星”,是“伟大的导师,伟大的领袖,伟大的统帅,伟大的舵手。”人人都会背不少条毛主席语录。他老人家的“最高指示”汇编成一本小红书,尊称红宝书。每天上课前首先要跟着班主任,手拿红宝书从胸口到头顶上方挥动并敬  祝:

我们心中最红最红的红太阳,我们最最敬爱的伟大领袖毛主席

万寿无疆!万寿无疆!万寿无疆!

然后,再以同样方式敬祝毛主席的亲密战友林副主席:

身体健康!身体健康!身体健康!

那年头,到处都贴着毛主席语录。干什么事儿都得先念一段毛主席语录。开会前,党政干部总是首先带领大家背诵:

领导我们事业的核心力量是中国共产党。指导我们思想的理论基础是马克思列宁主义。

服务员在开始工作前,也会先念一段毛主席语录:

我们应该谦虚谨慎、戒骄戒躁,全心全意地为人民服务。

医院的墙上都贴着这条语录:

救死扶伤,实行革命的人道主义。

火葬场里贴的是:

要奋斗就会有牺牲。死人的事是经常发生的。但是我们想到人民的利益,想到大多数人民的痛  苦,我们为人民而死,就是死得其所。

我们不仅背诵、引用毛主席语录,还让他老人家的话来指导我们的思想和行动。也不知是谁,出了个小册子,挺长一题目:“遇到问题在毛主席著作里找答案”。有些人甚至也相信,要是把毛主席语录都背下来,我们一切问题都能够迎刃而解。

一开始,我觉得背语录挺容易的。我的记性不错,而且我已经能背不少条毛主席语录了。可没过多久,这光荣任务突然间显得十分艰巨了。放学后,我抓紧分分秒秒背语录,连上厕所时也带上了红宝书。那年头,很少有谁自家有厕所。大多数人都用公厕。有的公厕很简陋,根本没有冲水的设备。就是一条水泥池子;攒一个星期,社员来掏一次粪。我上的厕所就是这样的。我蹲在池子上,一边背诵“最高指示”,一边为社会主义农业发展做贡献。十条语录之后,贡献做完了。我把红宝书放在两膝间裤子上。掏出一张包装纸,揉成团,再打开,这样纸就软一些了。然后,用它揩拭做贡献的部  位。也不知怎么搞的,在做这套习以为常的动作时,我的红宝书竟掉到粪池里了。

“臭大粪!”我平生第一次骂出这句时髦的粗话。傻愣了几秒钟后,我意识到了可怕的后果:如果有人看见我的红宝书在粪池里,非把我当现行反革命抓起来不可。我的红宝书在公粪里半沉半浮;随时都可能有人进来看见。我提起裤子,连腰带都没有系好,就昏头昏脑地跑出去,四下寻找,找到一块大石头,抱起石头,跑回厕所,朝着那红颜色砸下去。啪唧!屎尿溅了我一裤子。我也顾不了那许多。红宝书不见了。为了保险起见,我又跑出去,找到两块半头砖。幸好四周没人。我象贼一样溜回来,小心翼翼地把砖头扔到我认为红宝书可能沉入的地方。然后,我深深地吸了口气,才觉得刚搅起来的气味真不好闻。

回到家,我把妈妈那本红宝书找出来。但无论如何,我也静不下心来背语录。各种可怕的景象涌入我脑海:公社社员星期四早上按时来掏粪了。他拿着长把勺子,一勺一勺地掏;发现我的红宝书了。他一定会把红宝书捡起来。人们都说贫下中农、工人老大哥和解放军战士最热爱毛主席了。他决不会容忍这种亵渎伟大导师毛主席的行为。他一定会把红宝书交给我们家属委员会。他们会看到我的名字。那我就完了!照例,在押走罪犯前都要开斗争大会。庞大麻壳、同学们、还有我的好朋友都会上台来揭发我平日的反动言行,宣布与我划清界限,批判我的罪恶行为。有些义愤填膺的同学还会上来扇我嘴巴。开这种大会都是这样进行的,我见过好几次了。至于监狱,我无法想象。我担心的只是斗争会。我会被人家批判吗?哦,我真后悔用石头把红宝书砸到粪池子里。我应该把红宝书捞出来啊!可当时那么紧迫,我生怕别人看见,哪有功夫考虑那么多?再说了,没有合适的工具,也不那么好捞呢!唉,我就不该把红宝书带到厕所去。可后悔也没用啊!现在还有什么办法?我挖空心思也想不出一招。屎尿会不会把我的名字泡掉?看来那是我唯一的希望了。

到底会不会?这我可得弄清楚。我立即做起试验来;找了个空罐头,倒满水,在纸片上分别用钢笔和圆珠笔写下自己的名字,把纸片泡在水里。我不记得我的名字究竟是用钢笔还是用圆珠笔写的  了。名字不是我写的,是我爸爸写的。我的字写得太难看;我总是要爸爸帮我在心爱的书上写我的名字。坏了!他们要是抓住我,会不会把爸爸扯进去?他是基督徒,已经因为信仰而遭到批判了。爸爸引用中华人民共和国宪法里关于宗教信仰自由一条为自己做了辩护,还算成功。要是他儿子的现行反革命行为被发现了,人家说是受他影响的结果,他还能为自己辩护什么?我仿佛看见爸爸被批斗的痛苦的场面;他灰白的头发散乱了;妈妈在台下流泪。我是不是应该告诉他们今晚发生的事情?我想  啊,犹豫啊,但决定还是等到第二天早晨看了试验结果再说。

那个星期一的夜晚,我平生第一次失眠了。那些可怕的景象不断在脑海里翻腾,使我无法入睡。我甚至起来翻看那个小册子《遇到问题在毛主席著作里找答案》,可那里面没有列上我这种问题。我把妈妈的红宝书通读了一遍,还是没有找到答案。直到凌晨,才朦朦胧胧地打了个盹儿。

天一亮,我就起来查看试验结果。用钢笔写的名字有点模糊了,但还是能看出来。用圆珠笔写的名字跟刚写的时候一样清楚。这该死的圆珠笔,我骂道。谁他妈的发明的这玩艺儿?我知道这是从西方来的。打倒资本主义!我平生第一次带着真正的仇恨喊出这口号。看来,能不能藏住这罪行我只有一半把握,我盘算着。如果我的名字是用钢笔写的,再泡两天屎尿,肯定看不出来了。否则……唉,那我还不如死了呢!死,13岁就死?这简直无法想象!于是我开始相信我的名字的确是用钢笔写的。对,爸爸老派,从来就不喜欢什么圆珠笔之类的新鲜玩艺儿。他只用钢笔和毛笔。可我让他给我写名字那会儿,是不是把我的圆珠笔递给他了?我怎么就想不起来了呢?


庞大麻壳叫我到全班面前背语录时,我才惊醒过来。头两页还好,然后就开始结巴了,勉勉强强我背下来五页,就再也背不出来了。她提示了下段语录的头一、二、三个字,我跟着她重复了那三个字,可第四个字就是出不来。

她的嗓门变调了:“这不是明摆着的嘛!你压根儿就没花时间背语录,对不对?”


“我,我,花,嗯,没……”

“你不笨,脑子挺好使的。你就是没有执行我布置的任务,对不对?”

“是,嗯,不是……”

“到底是是,还是不是?请你明确回答!”她那“请”字比骂我难听。

“我,还,没有。是因为,因为……”我张口结舌的,说不出句整话来。

“别在这儿找借口了。我听够了。也不会相信的!”庞大麻壳的腔调越来越难听了:“有什么能比学习毛主席著作更重要?敬爱的林副主席教导我们说,‘饭可以不吃,觉可以不睡,毛主席的书一天也不能不读。’你昨天吃晚饭没有?”

“吃了。”看来,她还真是在背林副主席语录了,我暗想。

“你昨晚睡觉了吗?”

“我没睡,嗯,不是,我睡了。”

“放学后背没背毛主席语录?”

“我,我背了,可是,我,我背不下来,因为我,我……”

“你下棋来着吧?玩得够开心,是吧?你记性好。听说你还能跟两三个人同时下盲棋,真够棒  的!嬴了,还是输了?下了多少盘儿呀?你怎么不把这能耐用在背诵毛主席语录上啊!”她这通噌儿我,连讽刺带挖苦;我恨不得有个地缝钻进去。从小到大,我还从没在这么多人面前丢过份。好不容易,她气撒完了,命令我第二天背诵20页。

挨完噌儿没多会儿就下课了。好几个哥们儿过来安慰我,问我怎么回事。可我能说什么呀?愣是一句没说。他们咬牙切齿地当了一阵庞大麻壳的爸爸和爷爷,替我出气。

一放学,我就跑回家。把我攒钱买象棋的罐子摔碎,捧着那堆钢镚去商店“请”回来一本红宝  书,全神贯注地背呀背呀,背下来足足30页,超额完成了庞大麻壳布置的任务。可星期二夜里,我还是睡不着。我的试验证明,浸泡24小时以后,钢笔字模糊难辨了。但圆珠笔写的字仍然清晰如故。看来一切都取决于那件我无论如何也想不起来,没有把握的事情。我爸爸到底是用什么笔写的?我该不该告诉父母呢?可除了骂我一顿,他们又能怎样?我该不该去家属委员会自首?他们也许会原谅我,但他们会放过爸爸吗?他们不是一直在找他的碴吗?我怎能给他们提供这么好的炮弹?可要是他们发现了我的罪行,会不会更惨?……又是一个不眠的夜晚。

星期三起床时,我觉得有点儿头疼。但一开始复习所背的语录,好象就没事了。那30页语录我都倒背如流了。

我们衷心敬祝毛主席万寿无疆,林副主席身体健康之后,庞大麻壳叫我站在全班面前背诵那20页语录。我机械地背起来,奇迹般地,一个错也没出,也没打磕巴,一气把30页全背下来了。庞大麻壳拍拍我后背,让我回座位。

“很好!”她夸奖道:“大家瞧见了吧?只要认真努力,就能够比我要求的……”

砰嗵!我栽倒在身旁同学的课桌上,晕过去了。

醒过来时,我发现自己躺在学校医务室的一张小床上。庞大麻壳坐在床边。她摸摸我的头,厚实的手柔软而温暖。“你太累了!”她对我说:“没别的,就是太累了。好好休息吧,孩子。” 她的声音那么温柔,那声“孩子”感动得我眼泪都涌上来了。眼看我就要告诉她全部实情了,她好象是要避免尴尬,站起身来说:“好了,我得走了;有个会要开。你歇着吧!明儿个要是还不舒服,就别上学了。休息好了再来。”我点点头。她走了。

那天晚上,粪池里的宝贝明显增高了。除此以外,一切都没有什么两样。但我很害怕,好象那粪池随时都可能爆炸。一做完贡献,就飞快跑开,生怕大粪会溅我一脸。

但我怎样才能躲避批判和羞辱?如果红宝书上我的名字真是用圆珠笔写的,我就完蛋了。我暗暗对自己说道:“明天一定得早起,躲在树后看那社员掏粪。等他捡起红宝书翻看时,就过去看看我的名字泡掉了没有。然后再说。”这样决定了,我把闹钟定到五点半,倒头就睡了。

星期四,我妈叫醒我时,已经快七点半了!这紧要关头,闹钟怎么会没响?我查了一下那该死的钟,弦钮是松的,明明响过了嘛!我怎么会没听见?我赶忙跑到厕所;正如我担心的那样,粪池已经掏得干干净净。在池底只有一个石头和两块半斗砖,构成我已学过的几何符号∵ “因为” ,我转到另一边,它们变成了“所以”\。红宝书却不见了。

我象往日一样去上学,放学后却不敢回家。直到天黑,我才溜回来,躲在树后,看看家里有没有情况。看到一切正常,我才进屋。妈妈骂我刚上中学就整天不着家,可她的责骂是我听过的最优美的歌曲。

星期五,我又是天黑后才回家;又听了妈妈优美的歌曲。

星期六下午没课。我大白天就回来了,心里一个劲儿犯嘀咕。两个好朋友来找我下棋,我一盘接一盘地输,给他们俩乐坏了。我时不时就看看窗外;听到脚步声心跳就加快,以为有人来抓我了。那些夜晚,我躺在床上,总是睡不着,想象着各种可能性:也许掏粪的没看见那红宝书?也许我的名字泡得看不清了?也许他根本没有把那臭烘烘的红宝书拣出来?也许家属委员会的头头嫌脏没有翻开仔细检查?也许他们正在等我去自首?……

国庆节到了。我们班成功地背诵《毛主席语录》,把全校都震了。首先,我们背诵了前十页。然后,校长和老师们从我们50个学生中任意抽选,每人背一页。谁都没出错!然后我们集体背诵最后十页。期末,我们班评为优秀班集体。庞大麻壳评为优秀班主任。

我的罪行始终没人发现。为什么没人发现,对我来说,一直是个谜。但从此以后,我再也没有用过圆珠笔。

The Little Red Book

“We revolutionaries are like seeds,” I recited.

 

“We communists,” Pox Pang corrected me.

 

“Oh, yes, we communists are like seeds, and people are like soil,” I continued.

 

“Like land.”

 

“Yes, like land,” I mechanically repeated, beginning to sweat, “When we reach a land…”

 

“When we come to a place… You do have a good memory, don’t you?” Pox Pang was displeased. “Last time, you recited fluently, didn’t you? Obviously, you did not do the homework. Pride goes before a fall. Since this is the first time, I won’t say anything. Tomorrow, you alone shall recite ten pages. If you can do that, all is well. If you can’t, the day after tomorrow, you shall recite twenty pages. A rule is a rule. Nobody breaks it.”

 

Pox Pang was our middle school teacher, a stout and stumpy woman with a family name Pang. She could recite the entire Little Red Book by Chairman Mao and tell the page number of any quotation or what quotations were on a certain page. Moreover, she could silence anybody in an argument about anything by quoting something from the Little Red Book, but somehow, on hearing her arguments, we were not quite convinced and felt something wrong in there but could not tell exactly what. Her face had some barely discernible pox marks, and so, we boys called her "Pox Pang" behind her back.

 

The first thing Pox Pang asked us to do after we had entered the middle school was this "sacred task," as she put it. We were to memorize the entire Little Red Book of 270 pages within a month, so that on October 1, the National Day, we would show the whole school our achievement as the best present for our great socialist motherland. Our plan was to memorize ten pages every day except Sundays when we would review the week's work. Every morning she would check on us. In those years, Chairman Mao was our “Great Savior.” He was also our “Great Teacher, Great Leader, Great Commander-in-Chief, and Great Helmsman.” Everybody could recite some of Chainman Mao’s quotations, which were regarded as the supreme instructions and were compiled in a little red book. Everyday in the morning before class began, we would chant after a leader:

 

We sincerely wish the reddest sun in our hearts, our most beloved great leader Chairman Mao a long long life! A long long life! A long long life!

 

While repeating the refrain, everybody waved the Little Red Book with the right hand diagonally from the heart to the head. Then in the same manner, everybody wished Vice-Chairman Lin Piao:

 

            Good health! Good health! Good health!

 

In those years, we saw Chairman Mao’s quotations everywhere. It was a common practice to do everything by first reciting a quotation from the Little Red Book. A communist leader would begin a meeting by letting people recite Chairman Mao's supreme instruction:

 

            The force at the core leading our cause forward is the Chinese Communist Party. The theoretical basis guiding our thinking is Marxism-Leninism.

 

A hotel receptionist would greet a guest with Mao's teaching:

 

            We should be modest and prudent, guard against arrogance and rashness, and serve the Chinese people heart and soul.

 

In a hospital, one would see Mao's slogan on the wall:

 

            Curing the sick, healing the wounded, we practice revolutionary humanitarianism.

 

At a funeral home, one might find Mao's encouragement:

 

Wherever there is struggle there is sacrifice, and death is a common occurrence. But we have the interests of the people and the sufferings of the great majority at heart, and when we die for the people, it is a worthy death.

 

Not only did we wave and read the Little Red Book everyday but we also try to follow Chairman Mao’s words as the guidance for our behaviors and even our thoughts. Soon, a booklet was published under the title Keys in Chairman Mao's Works to Problems in Your Life. We sincerely believed that if we could remember all the quotations in the Little Red Book, we would be able to solve all the problems in our lives.

 

At first, I did not think it would be difficult to recite all the quotations in the Little Red Book. My memory was very good. Besides, I could already recite nearly half of the book. All of a sudden, however, the task became so hard that I had to work on it every minute, even when I went to the outhouse that Monday evening. During those years, few people had bathrooms at home. Most people used public outhouses, many of which, like the one that I was going to, were so primitive that there was no plumbing. On a certain day every week, some commune members would come to clean the cement ditches of the outhouses and take away the treasure for the fields. I squatted over the ditch and tried to memorize some supreme instructions while contributing to the big development of our socialist agriculture. About ten quotations later, my contribution emptied. I put my Little Red Book on my trousers between my knees, took out a piece of wrapping paper, crumpled it so that it was softer, opened it, and began to clean the contributor with it. Somehow, when I was doing this routine, my Little Red Book fell into the ditch.

 

"Shit!" for the first time in my life I uttered this word. After a numbness of a few seconds, I realized the horrible consequence: if somebody saw the Little Red Book in there, I would be put in prison as an active counter-revolutionary. The Little Red Book was half floating in the contribution. Anybody could come in at any moment. I rushed out in frenzy. I looked around. I found a stone. I ran back and dropped it onto the red. Splash! Some of my contribution and others' got onto my trousers, but I did not care. The red disappeared. For safety's sake, I went out again and found two half bricks. Fortunately, nobody was around. Like a thief, I sneaked into the outhouse again and carefully dropped the bricks into where I supposed the Little Red Book was. Then, I took a deep breath despite the freshly stirred smell.

 

Back at home, I took out my mother's Little Red Book. I tried to work on it, but I could not focus my attention on the quotations. The horrible scenes kept coming into my mind: a commune member would come to clean the ditch early Thursday morning; when he was removing the treasure from the ditch, dipper by dipper, he would surely see the Little Red Book. Then, he would pick it up, and as we were told that the commune members, the factory workers, and the People's Liberation Army soldiers loved Chairman Mao best of all, he would certainly not tolerate such a blasphemy. He would hand it to the district authorities, who would discover my name in it, and then, I would be doomed. As usual, there would be a criticism meeting before my arrest. Pox Pang, my classmates, and perhaps even my best friends would come onto the stage to expose and denounce my counter-revolutionary words and deeds. Some indignant students might slap my face as such occasion always invited them to do. I had seen such meetings many times. As for prison, I could not imagine what a hell it would be. I was more concerned with the meeting. Was I going to be the critical target of such a meeting? Oh, how I regretted that I sank the Little Red Book with a stone! I should have picked it up. But in that kind of rush, I had no other thought than to make it disappear before somebody would see it. And, without a proper tool, it would not be easy to get it anyway. I should not have taken it into the outhouse in the first place. But regret would not help. Yet, would anything help at all? I struggled with thought, but nothing came to mind. The only hope seemed to lie in the possibility that my name in the Little Red Book would be blurred by the treasure in the ditch.

 

Would it? I had to be sure about it. I started an experiment immediately. I got an empty can and filled it with water. Then, I wrote my name first with a fountain pen and then with a ballpoint pen on a piece of paper and put it into the can, for I could not remember with what kind of pen my name was written in the Little Red Book. I did not write it. My Chinese handwriting was poor, and I always asked my father to write my name in my beloved books. Oh, would it involve my father if they caught me? I was further horrified by the thought. My father is a Christian, and he had already been criticized for his belief. He successfully defended himself by citing China's constitution, which protected all Chinese citizens’ right to religious beliefs. But how could he defend himself if his son proved to be a counter-revolutionary because of his bad influence? I already envisioned the painful scene of my father being criticized, his gray hair being disheveled, and my mother crying. Should I tell them what had happened? I hesitated for hours but decided to wait for the result of my experiment first.

 

That Monday night was the first time that I suffered from insomnia. Those scenes and thoughts tortured me so much that I could not go into sleep. I even turned to the book Keys in Chairman Mao's Works to Problems in Your Life, but it did not list my special case. Then, I carefully read every quotation in my mother's Little Red Book, but I could not find any answer.

 

As soon as the day broke, I got up and examined my experiment. My name written with a fountain pen was blurred but still easily recognizable. My name written with the ballpoint, however, was as clear as if it had been just written. Damn the ballpoint pen! I cursed. Who the hell invented this damned thing? I knew it was introduced into China from the West. Down with capitalism! For the first time in my life I shouted this slogan with real hatred. My chances were fifty-fifty, I figured. If my name in the Little Red Book was written with a fountain pen, it would surely become unrecognizable two days later. Otherwise ... Oh, I would rather die! To die at the age of thirteen? That was unthinkable! Then I began to believe that my name was written with a fountain pen. Yes, my father was old-fashioned, and he never liked modern devices, such as a ballpoint pen. He always preferred a fountain pen and even a traditional Chinese brush pen if available. But did I hand him my ballpoint when I asked him to write my name for me? I was just not sure!

 

I was startled when Pox Pang asked me to recite the assigned ten pages in front of the class. I managed to stammer out the first five pages, and then, I simply could not go on. She encouragingly prompted the first one, two, three words, but I just repeated them, and them only.

 

Her voice changed, "Obviously, you didn't even try to memorize the rest, did you?"

 

"I, it's, er..."

 

"You're not a student with a weak memory. You simply haven't done the work I assigned to you yesterday, have you?"

 

"I, it's, er..."

 

"Have you, or have you not? Answer me directly. Please!" Her "please" sounded harsher than a command.

 

"I ha, haven't. It's because, because..." I could not find any word.

 

"Don't you give yourself any excuse! I'm not going to believe it.  No, not me!" Pox Pang's intonation was really nasty now. "What can be more important than studying Chairman Mao's works? Our beloved Vice-Chairman Lin teaches us, 'We can do without meals, without sleeps, but we cannot do without studying Chairman Mao's works for a single day.' Did you have dinner yesterday?"

           

"Yes, I did." So, it was true that she was already working on Vice-Chairman Lin Piao's quotations now, I thought.

           

"Did you have sleep last night?"

 

"No, er, I mean, yes, I did."

 

"Did you try to memorize the ten pages after school?"

 

"I...I did, but I...I couldn't, because I was, I was..."

 

"You were having a good time with your friends, weren't you? You were playing chess, weren't you? I heard you are pretty good at it. You have a good memory. You can play two games simultaneously without even looking at them, isn't it true? You should use your memory on Chairman Mao's works!" She pelted me with reproaches on and on for Mao knew how long. At last, they emptied, and she ordered me to get ready to recite twenty pages the next day.

 

Soon after that, the class was over. My friends gathered around to comfort me and asked what was wrong. How could I explain to them? I simply said nothing. And they muttered a good deal of curses against Pox Pang.

           

Right after school that afternoon, I ran back home and broke the small jar in which I had been saving money to buy a new set of chess. I went to a bookstore with the coins and bought a Little Red Book, on which I worked the rest of the day, and memorized not just twenty but thirty pages. However, that Tuesday night I suffered from insomnia again. My experiment had proved that twenty-four hours' soaking could blur the ink words to the degree of total illegibility, but the words written with a ballpoint remained intact. So, everything depended on something I could not recall, no matter how hard I tried. Should I tell my parents? What could they do? Nothing except perhaps scolding me! Should I go to confess to the district authorities? They might forgive me, but would they not bother my father? They were trying to find faults with him. This would certainly be a big one. But if they should find it out themselves, it would be even worse for us ... Thus, I had another sleepless night.

           

When I got up Wednesday morning, I felt a kind of headache, but it seemed to be gone as I began to review those thirty pages. I learned the quotations by heart all right.

           

After we had ceremoniously wished Mao a long life and Lin good health, Pox Pang asked me to stand in front of the class and recite the twenty pages. I did mechanically but miraculously well without making a single mistake. Before I knew it, I had recited thirty pages. Then Pox Pang let me go back to my seat.

           

"Excellent!" she began to praise me, "You see, you can do much more and much better than I ex-"

           

Bang! I fell onto the desk of my classmate sitting beside me and fainted.

           

When I came to, I found myself in the school clinic, lying in bed, by which Pox Pang was sitting. She touched my head, and her hand was so warm and soft. She said to me, "You're too tired, child. That's all. Nothing wrong. Rest well, child." Her voice was so gentle, the tone of "child" was so touching that tears filled my eyes, and I was on the edge of telling her everything. As if to avoid embarrassment, she stood up and said, "All right, I must go, to attend a meeting. Take it easy. You don't have to come to school tomorrow, if you don't feel well enough." I nodded. She left.

           

That evening, I noticed that the treasure in the ditch of the outhouse was remarkably higher. Nothing seemed unusual there, but I felt so scared. It was as if the ditch would explode at any moment. I ran out of the outhouse as soon as I emptied my contribution in fear that the treasure would splash onto my face. 

           

But how could I avoid the splash of humiliation and sling of criticism, if my name was written with a ballpoint in the Little Red Book? "I must get up early tomorrow," I thought, "and watch the commune member from somewhere he can't see me. When he picks up the Little Red Book to examine it, I'll go up and see if my name is blurred, and then react accordingly." So decided, I set the alarm clock at half past five, and immediately fell into sleep.

           

When I was waked up by my mother Thursday morning, it was already seven o’clock! How could the alarm clock fail me on such an important day? I checked the clock, the alarm had gone off. How could I not hear it? I rushed to the outhouse. As surely as the sun was rising up in the sky, the ditch had been cleaned. On the bottom of the ditch, the stone and two half bricks lay forming the mathematical sign  meaning "because." I turned to the other side, and they became \ "therefore," but the Little Red Book was nowhere to be seen.

           

I went to school as usual but was afraid to go home. Not until after it had been dark, did I get near my home to steal a few glances into it from behind a tree. Everything seemed to be normal. I went in. Mother scolded me for starting to come back late as soon as I became a middle school student, but her scold was the sweetest music that I had ever heard.

           

Friday I came home late again, and again I enjoyed her music.

           

Saturday afternoon we had no classes. I came back in broad daylight and felt uneasy. Two of my close friends came to play chess with me, and I lost all the games. I was looking out from time to time. When I heard heavy footsteps approaching, my heart beat faster, and I felt as if somebody was coming upon me. Those nights I always lay awake in bed for a long time, thinking about all the possibilities. Maybe the commune member did not see the Little Red Book? Maybe my name was blurred? Maybe the commune member did not bother to examine the filthy thing? Maybe the district authorities did not? Or maybe they are still waiting for me to confess?

           

The National Day arrived. Our class surprised the whole school with the triumphant recitation of the Little Red Book. First, we recited twenty pages together. Then, the principal and teachers of other classes asked fifty of us at random to recite a page each. Finally, we recited the last twenty pages together. In the end of the semester, our class was selected the model class, and Pox Pang was selected the model teacher.

           

My crime has never been discovered, and why it has never been discovered remains a mystery to me to this day. Since then, however, I have never used a ballpoint pen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“你这口牙真不错!”牙医感叹道:“你一定从小用牙线吧?”

“不,我从来不用牙线。”

“是吗?那你刷牙一定很仔细。每次刷几分钟?”

“是很仔细,至少刷三分钟。”

“三分钟!一般人就刷一分钟,我们要求每次刷两分钟,但很少有人真正能做到。你是怎么坚持的?”这位牙医很健谈,刚才给我洗牙时就问个没完。不回答显得不礼貌,回答吧,满嘴水还真不好说话。

“没什么,习惯而已。”

“好习惯!我还从没见过哪位病人有这好习惯呢。”

“是因为没有好习惯,才成为你的病人吧?”我调侃道。

“我们只是叫你们病人而已。有些人跟你一样,牙齿没有任何毛病,就是每年来洗两次。”

“我知道。我是跟你说着玩呢。不过,我这习惯可不是一般形成的。”

“那你得给我讲讲,也许我还能用它来教育别人呢!”牙医恳切地要求。

“那是在中国的无产阶级文化大革命中开始的。你知道文革吗?”

“知道,那时候我刚上大学。你们的文革对我们影响很大。开始我们觉得那是一场伟大的运动,要推倒一切权威,会改变整个世界。我还有本毛的小红书呢!”

“一开始,我们也觉得那是一场空前伟大的运动。可没多久,我家就和其他所谓的反动学术权威一道被扫地出门……”记忆的尘封掀开了,我竟然和一个十多分钟以前还相当陌生的人讲起自己初恋的故事。

父亲成了臭老九,我也灰头土脸的。以前挺好的朋友,有一半不怎么理我了。剩下的一半,父母不是臭老九,就是走资派。那年冬天好冷啊!我们住到工棚里,四面透风,睡觉时把所有的衣服都盖到被子上,再压上椅子,缩成一团,还凑合能过。最大的不便是用水,早晨起来,要到公共水房去洗漱。头几天还好,后来真冷了,一夜北风,把水管冻结了。我拿根树杈瞎敲了一阵,根本没用。正在发愁,小莞来了,拎着一大壶热水,费力地举起来,往水龙头上浇。原来,水池边放着的一套牙具和花毛巾是她的。

小莞是个纤细的姑娘,肥厚的棉袄也掩盖不住她窈窕的身材。大水壶对她那双白皙瘦弱的手腕显然是太沉重了。看着她的手在发抖,热水一下猛地涌出来,一会儿又细细地缩回去,我不由自主地伸出手,替她拿住那水壶,让热水缓缓地流出,一点一点地浇在龙头上。她什么也没说,见我拿稳了,便放开手。交接时,我们的手碰了一下,好像触电一样。她抬头看了我一眼,恰巧我也在瞥她。她的眼睛好亮啊!瞳仁在黑葡萄似的眼珠里一闪,说不上是感激,还是喜悦,脸上泛出一抹红晕。我的手哆嗦了一下,一股热水冒出来,比先前更不稳当了。

那年,我刚上中学。不知怎的,前一天还在一起有说有笑,打打闹闹的孩子,突然,就像约好了似的,男女生之间就不说话了。老师再三要求同学们不要分男女界线,要互相帮助,也没用。连兄妹、姐弟在公众场合都不说话,我们好像一下就长大了,就知道男女要授受不亲。小莞比我低两年级,她跟同年级的男生怎么玩,怎么野都行,但是在我面前,她怎么立刻就腼腆了?

我慢慢地浇龙头,让热水细细地流淌。那个大水壶还真不轻,但我不肯用两只手,偏要显示自己的力气。我知道她在旁边看着,也许有点谢意,有点敬慕吧?我真希望那壶里有倒不完的水……咕嘟,噗,咕嘟,哗——可惜,壶里的热水还没用完,冻结的龙头就浇开了,冷水汩汩地流出来。

我接了一杯冷水,开始刷牙。她也是。我们默默地刷着,只听见哧喳的声音。起初声音交错,一会儿,也不知是我等待她,还是她追上我,总之我们刷牙的声音一致了:哧哧喳喳、哧喳哧喳、哧哧哧喳喳喳……配合得如此默契,简直是心有灵犀!突然,我们几乎是同时忍不住“噗”地一声笑起来,喷了一池子白沫。即便如此,我们还是没说话,心照不宣地笑完了,漱口、洗脸、走人。

从那天起,我就盼着洗漱时能见到小莞。我们都起得早,几乎总是最先去水房。天越来越冷了,每天都得用热水浇龙头。我主动把这事揽下来,每天晚上放壶水在炉子上,早上拎着它去水房。往往是浇到一半时,她就带着牙具和那小花毛巾来了。浇开后,我让她先接水,然后我们一起刷牙。以前,我总是三下五除二,半分钟便解决战斗。现在我刷得这个仔细呀!上上下下、左左右右,刷个没完,就为能够和她在那儿并排多站一会儿。好象那里有个磁场,我们两人就是磁极,一站在那儿,就发出电磁波,我的心就随之快乐地震荡。我总是等她刷完了开始漱口时,才跟着结束。有时她来得晚些,我就刷得更仔细了,一边儿刷,一边儿等她。她来了,我假装刚刚开始,里里外外又刷一遍。但又不该落到她后面,硬是凭着直觉和她刷牙的声音,我就知道她快刷完了,趁她就要结束之前,我赶紧吐出牙膏沫,漱口。也有几次,是她先到的,我不知道她是不是在有意等我,只觉得她刷得不紧不慢,而且她也总是在我就要结束前,才开始漱口,仿佛只是比我早开始一点点。

在属于我们俩的这个时刻,免不了有别人来用水。如果那第三者也是来洗漱,我就草草结束,腾开地方。虽然心中不满,但却怨莫能言。如果是来打水,我就闪开,等那人走后再回到磁场之中。我注意到,如果来人走到水池小莞那边,她也是同样做法。于是,我觉得心里甜丝丝的。非但不再抱怨第三者,还因他们一次次替我证实那朦胧的感觉而满怀谢意。

唯独一个人例外,我们北区家属委员会的何主任。她个子不高,嗓门极大。无论见着谁,“大哥、大嫂、大兄弟、大妹子、小王、小李、小丫头、小小子……”她叫得别提多亲热了,好象人人都跟她一家子。但在这表面的呱唧闲聊中,她的眼睛滴溜溜乱转察言观色,耳朵支棱着时刻捕捉别人无意中说漏的话。用当时的话来说,就是阶级斗争的弦绷得特别紧。好几个家庭妇女着了她的道,她可成为学习毛主席著作积极分子了,还上台讲用呢。有个小保姆在逗小孩玩时,经常举着孩子的小手喊:“打倒刘少奇!保卫毛主席!”可是有一次她喊成:“打倒毛主席!保卫刘少奇!”偏巧让何主任听见了,结果把这小保姆批斗了一通,轰回老家去了。

一天早晨,何主任来打水。我让开,只听她咋咋呼呼地招呼着:“嗬!早啊!刷牙哪!用得牙膏真不少啊!瞧瞧!这白沫子都快拢不住了!透着你们知识分子家阔气啊!比俺们使洗衣粉还出沫子!”那语气,半开玩笑,半讽刺人;听上去,句句带着惊叹号。我勉强地冲她笑笑,点点头。

她走后,似乎好一阵都发不出电波了。好不容易,我才感到平静下来,有点进入磁场的感觉。万没想到,何主任拎着空桶又来了,我连忙让开。她滚动着那双贼眼来回来去看了看我们,说道:“嚯!你们俩还在这儿刷牙哪!真够讲卫生的啊!我说怎么那么多白沫子?敢情是这么磨蹭出来的!要搁着我,刷三回也用不了这么大工夫啊!”

我感到脸上热辣辣的,看见小莞的脸,我就知道自己的脸有多红。小莞立即草草漱口,擦了把脸就走了。何主任瞄着她的背影,又找补了一句:“人不大,心思可不小嘛!”那么大嗓门,小莞肯定听见了,但我们都假装没听明白她在说什么,一言不发。

从那以后,小莞似乎就故意躲开我,再也没有跟我并排站在一起刷牙。后来,我就等着,看到她来了,我才去洗漱。但我一进水房,她立即就草草结束,马上离开。我想,还是等她,才更有可能多跟她呆一会。有一天,我刷牙时,眼角的余光好象瞥见她了,但她一闪就走开了。我刷呀、刷呀,不知刷了多久,又洗了半天,她还是没来。以后总是这样,我一直不明白,她是怎么知道我什么时候在水房里洗漱?故事讲完了。

“简直不可思议!你竟然没有对她表明心迹,也不知道她是否爱你?”

“没有,我们连一句话都没有说过。你不知道,那年头,不挨斗就感谢毛主席了。哪还敢没事找事呀?我不能百分之百地确定她是否对我有感情,但我相信那感应,它比语言来得更真实。”

“那后来呢?你们长大以后呢?文革结束后呢?”

“不久以后,我一家去了干校。小莞家没去。再后来,嗨!说来话长。我对不起你了。”我低头看了看表。

“有什么对不起我的?哦,你是说时间,没事儿,让那些病人等着去。你的故事真有意思!应该写下来。读者肯定会象我一样感兴趣的。”

“不,我说对不起,是因为,我因此落下一口好牙齿,用不着经常看牙医。”

刷牙——我的初恋

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“你的眉毛呢?”我问尚德。初见他时,我觉得他脸上少了点什么,重逢的兴奋过去后,我才注意到他的眉毛几乎都掉光了。

“我们那儿水不好,人人都掉头发。我却掉眉毛,可能是因为我老揉眼睛,皱眉头吧!”他满不在乎地解释。我知道不管多累,他每天都学习到深夜。同屋二十几个小伙子,下工后不是打牌、就是聊天。他却看书、学英语,一任他们嘲笑,从不懈怠。

我们从小就是好友。两年前中学毕业,尚德分配到东北建设兵团,一直跟我通信。与他相比,我幸运多了,分到一所大学的校办厂。两年来,我在京城养得白胖,当年在干校挨饿的经历仿佛已是上辈子的事了。他却比以前更黑,更瘦了,但精神还好。那年代没有探亲假,除非有特殊原因,休想回京。他能回来是因为母亲去世了,父亲身体又不好,需要人照顾。那年林彪死了,文革的热潮早已退去。对待知识分子的政策开始松动、略为温和了。尚德的父亲是技术权威,单位领导同意把尚德办回北京,以便照顾他父亲,让他能够更好地为革命事业做贡献。

照料父亲之余,尚德似乎把每分钟都用在学习上。每次我去看他时,他都要和我讨论学习数学、几何、物理、历史、哲学、英语中的问题。其实,他比我知道的多多了,讨论往往变成听他讲授,让我获益不浅。那时候,多数年轻人都不再学习书本知识,反正没有用处,更不想被指责为白专。我们俩却一直在学,也不为什么,只是觉得有意思。也是由于我们的家庭影响吧,总觉得一天不学点什么就是浪费生命。

我在大学里工作,虽然是个工人,也可以使用那儿的图书馆,每次可以借五本书。那时市面上卖的书除了马、恩、列、斯、毛的著作和有关阐释以外,就没有几本了。个人藏书多已在文革初期销毁散失或没收。所以我们俩拼命利用学校的图书馆,几乎每星期看五本。尚德读书快,善于分析评判,记得牢,总是催我借新书。一天,他要我给他借水文方面的书。我问他干嘛这么早就要分专业,他告诉我他有实用目的。

缺水是他们农场的主要问题。别说庄稼了,连人用水都限量。农场二百多号人,蓄水池经常是干的。唯一的一辆拖拉机尽用来到一百多里以外的嫩江运水了。兵团战士用最原始的工具垦荒,难怪每年收成都很低。他们打了十几次井,好不容易才在地下20多米撞上个泉眼。为了存足够的水,又接着往下挖了十几米。尚德好不容易才说服了指导员,没有继续挖。这下倒是有水了,可是这眼井水质不好,又这么深,不可能用完当天的水,水又苦又不新鲜。“是啊,这水是不大好喝,”指导员说道:“但它更能够锻炼我们的革命意志。”苦干了那么久,每天还得喝那“革命的甘泉!”拖拉机可以用来干一些农活儿了,每星期只用它拉一次河水,给那些病号和干部喝。那当然包括指导员了,他的革命意志已经足够坚强,用不着再锻炼了。

现在,远在千里之外,尚德还惦记着他的伙伴和那口得不偿失的深井。他说:“为学习而学习固然有趣,但学以致用更有意思。”

尚德并非书呆子,我们见面也不仅是讨论书本知识。我们也喜欢唱歌,讲故事和郊游。晚春的一个周末,我们带着各自的女友骑车去了长城。一路上,我们放开歌喉唱起文革前的老歌,包括《外国民歌200首》里的歌曲,感到一种偷吃禁果的愉悦。要是有人听出来,我们非挨批不可。可我们黎明就出发了;一出城,就见不到什么行人了。一首接一首,我们唱了个痛快,简直是乘着歌声的翅膀飞翔。这些歌儿可比毛主席语录歌和那些所谓的革命歌曲好听多了。我们觉得心灵解放了,自由了。不知不觉就到了长城的山脚下;一看表,我们已经骑了近六个小时。

那年头,长城还不是旅游点。我们在那儿玩了三个多小时,总共没看见十个人。但我们没有再唱歌,倒不是害怕,而是为长城和四周的景色陶醉了;静悄悄的,好象说什么都会亵渎那雄伟,那壮美……


    想了好久,我突然说道:“我真不知道应该为长城高兴还是悲哀。据说这是在太空唯一能够用肉眼看到的建筑,是我们的骄傲,我们的力量,我们的智慧。可是那些皇帝也真蠢,下令搞这么庞大的工程。费那么多力气,有什么用?这简直是中国的马齐诺防线!还不如把人力和时间用来建立一支大军。进攻才是最好的防御。这长城是我们的耻辱,我们的虚弱,我们的愚蠢。”

我注意到我的女友满怀崇敬地望着我,心里洋洋得意。

“我不能苟同,”尚德温和地答道:“我们并不知道,两千年来,长城在抵御游牧民族的袭击中是否象近代抵御西方列强的枪炮一样没用。我想以前长城还是很有防御作用的。虽然它没有挡住忽必烈和满清的铁蹄,但总的来说,还是挺有效的吧?它挡住了匈奴和鞑靼,对吧?除此以外,我们又能有其它什么办法来保卫我们漫长的边境?而且,我不喜欢军事扩张。被人欺侮当然是耻辱,但侵略别人是更大的耻辱。”

我的女友现在是充满崇敬地望着他了。

“嗯,就象你说的,我们不知道长城到底起过多大作用,”我争辩道:“要想知道,就得查遍史书。但你最后说的那个观点倒是不用查,那不是阿Q精神吗?”

“对,早晚我要好好研究一下长城的作用。要说阿Q嘛,他那是自我安慰,跟别人没两样。他要逮着机会了,也照样欺负别人。可我相信非暴力。天下再也没有比‘打了你右脸,把左脸也转过去’更伟大的教诲了。”

“嗬,什么时候你开始信仰基督教了?你真相信有上帝?一个白胡子老头坐在九天之上?”

“那只是一些人的想象,他们把上帝人格化了。对我来说,上帝就是真、善、美,就是道,就是人们试图遵循的自然和社会法则。不管你叫他什么,他存在。我们想要认识他,也能够认识他。否则我们和其它动物还有什么差别?”

姑娘们没兴趣了,她们去照相了。可我对这话题非常感兴趣。我父亲是基督徒,但他从来没有和我谈过基督教。当我在小学学到人是猴子变来时,颇为父亲“迷信”而惭愧。有一次,我甚至用极为幼稚的方法,企图向父亲说明没有什么上帝。我说:“爸,你带我到神那儿玩玩好吗?”父亲笑了  笑,用永远不改的四川乡音答道:“宝气!天国不是好耍的。”但他没有解释为什么。长大后,我知道他是不想惹麻烦。虽然中国的宪法赋予人民宗教信仰的自由,但是在教堂外传教是非法的,惩罚很严厉,在文革中尤其严厉。可是,我已经偷偷地读了父亲的《圣经》,一直想跟人讨论讨论。这是我们第一次谈到基督教,不知不觉地深谈起来,直到姑娘们来拉我们去照相。

后来,我们下了长城,到附近的树林里野餐。我们正准备呢,尚德突然不见了。我们找啊、等  啊、喊啊、他连个影儿都不见。正当我们真有点着急时,他又突然出现了。一手抱着干松树枝子,一手拎着一罐水和一网兜蘑菇。谁也没注意到他还带了这么大一个水罐,我们纳闷他从哪儿找来的水?他神秘地笑了笑说:“从你给我借的那本水文书里。”我知道他学以致用了。姑娘们不知道他说什么呢,也没多问。她们把罐子架在三块石头上,麻利地生了火。一会儿,水就咕嘟嘟地滚开了。煮香肠和炖蘑菇的气味真香!那是我吃过的最美的野餐。

吃完饭,我们一人讲了一个故事。我的故事是现编的,从我们身边发生的一起自杀案讲起,一直说到林彪之死,编得天花乱坠。最后尚德漫不经心地评论了一句:“我们的故事都是靠情节吸引人。可情节是最容易编的。谁要是能描述这片树林,就吸引听众,那才叫本事。”当时我还不以为然。八年后,我们的大学教授教了一学期,才让我们明白了其中的道理。


尚德浇灭火后,右手攥着个东西,一脸神秘的样子对他女友说:“把手给我。”

“干什么?” 她犹豫道。

“别问。把手给我!”

她满不情愿地伸出右手。尚德用左手牢牢地抓住她的手腕,突然,他的右手按上了她的手掌。她尖叫起来,好象疼得受不了。她拼命甩脱右手,喊道:“烫死了!你烫死我了!”


 “我没有烫你,”尚德平静地说:“是你的心理作用。你看,就是一块烧过的碳,有点热而已。我也攥着它呢,怎么没烫着?”

“我不知道,”她呜咽着:“你今天怪神秘的。”

“神秘一天没啥了不起,”尚德狡黠地笑了笑说:“神秘一辈子才来劲儿呢!”

从那以后尚德没有再玩神秘,也没有研究长城,却让我帮他又借了几本水文方面的书。经常和尚德交往,日子过得飞快,转眼一年过去了。这可是至关重要的一年,尼克松访问了中国,用他的话说,开创了“新纪元”。林彪的余党被清算了, 中国开始和西方贸易往来。但我和尚德没有十分关注这些变化,直到英国工业展览来到北京才引起我们注意。

对我们来说,这才是真东西。自从共产党掌权以来,这是第一次举行资本主义国家的工业展览。我们真想了解一切来自西方的东西。可是那工展票极难弄到,票根本不卖,只是发给各机关单位的有关人员和重要人物。那些有幸看了展览的人每天都在谈论它,好象刚从月球回来一样。听者问题无  穷,对英国“受剥削受压迫”的工人们享用的机械设备羡慕不已,对那“老牌垂死的资本主义国家”先进的科技既吃惊又羡慕。人们还对那些印刷精美的产品介绍和说明书非常感兴趣。在以发明造纸而闻名的国度,谁都没见过那么好的纸,而且用那么好的纸印的东西竟然免费发送。简直不可思议。


 尚德的父亲是“有关的科学家”,因而得到邀请去参加开幕式,几天后又额外获得两张票。我们高兴极了,可是尚德的女友也想去,我自然争不过,但也无法掩饰极大的失望。

“没关系!”他安慰我说:“我给你画张票。”

我转悲为喜。尚德学画快一年了,已经画得相当有水平。有一次他给我看了本西方油画影集,那年头这东西稀罕极了。我只注意到那些鲜活的裸体,心怦怦地跳个不停,脸肯定也红了。他向我指出达芬奇的蒙娜•莉萨没有眉毛,并猜想那一定是文艺复兴时期意大利的时尚,那贵妇人不大可能营养不良吧!那以后,我叫他尚德•莉萨叫了好一阵。他给我和我女友画过一张素描,至今那仍是我们最传神的一张画。

第二天,我到尚德家。他和女友都在等我,还有那张票。画得真好!要不是和真票仔细比较,我根本看不出来是假的。于是我们三人高高兴兴地骑车直奔北京展览馆。这展览馆是50年代苏联专家设计的,中苏友好那会儿叫苏联展览馆。如今大不列颠的米字旗在红星之下迎风招展。我听说一开始把人家的国旗挂倒了,英国使馆还提了照会。可我看着那国旗,觉得怎么也不可能挂倒了,翻过来,掉过去,都一样啊!

“票,票!”把门的语气严厉,好象要把一肚子无名火都撒到参观者身上。我很紧张,甚至有点想撤了。我这毕竟是第一次干犯法的事啊。但好奇心和冒险的欲望还是推着我往前走。尚德和他女友进去了,我有意地排在他们后面一点。把假票交给门卫时,我觉得手直哆嗦。门卫似乎犹豫了一下,我的心都跳到嗓子眼儿了,他把票扔进票箱,我的心也跟着放下了。我急忙进馆,找尚德,见他们就在前方,便径直走过去。

大错特错!参观者应该先到侧面台子那儿领取一塑料包介绍材料。我这异常行为立即引起馆内守卫人员的注意。

“你干什么的?”他拦住我问道:“急什么?有票吗?”

我蒙了,结结巴巴地答道:“我,我就是来参,参观。票,票给,给那位同志了。”

“是吗?那你慌什么?”他把我带回门口,打开票箱,假票认出来了。我被带到了公安局。


 “你想干什么?”温和地问完例行问题后,警官突然吼道:“想搞破坏吗?”

“不是,我就是想看展览。”

“票谁画的?”他漫不经心地低声问道。

“我自己画的。”

“照谁的票画的?”

“没照谁的。”

“撒谎!”他又吼道,往后瞟了一眼。两个警察上来,一人扇了我一耳光。

“我真地不知道是谁的票。我是照着拣来的废票画的。”

“你撒谎!我们每天都把废票烧了。”一个警察照着我肚子上就是一拳,疼得我弯下腰去,恶心得要吐,又吐不出来。

“说实话!”警官大吼。我要是知道蒙不了他们,早就说实话了。可羞辱让我一时语塞,什么也说不出来。

“好小子,跟我充好汉?”他讥笑道:“我还没见过什么好汉呢!你们还他妈的等什么?”

那两个警察抓住我的胳膊,拧到我背后,把我摁倒,跪在地上。一人抓住我头发,使我的头动弹不得,另一个用膝盖顶住我后脊梁,慢慢地撅起我的右臂。一股巨痛沿着脊椎传遍我全身,那折磨根本无法忍受,我觉得胳膊和脊梁要断了,我仿佛听见嘎叭叭的响声……我坦白了。

那天晚上,尚德被捕了。北京正在清查游手好闲份子和流窜犯。他被当作游手好闲份子押回了东北建设兵团。几乎与此同时,他的转调信寄来了。一年来的努力都白废了!碰了那么多钉子,遭了那么多白眼,受了那么多询问,开了那么多条子,好不容易办成了,人却给押回去了。一位父亲的企  盼,一个青年的希望,顷刻间化为乌有。他父亲都快疯了,一会儿号啕大哭,一会儿骂儿子不争气。他的哭骂直刺我心,可我又不知道怎么安慰他。只是每天下班后都去他家看看能帮他做点什么。

不久,我便收到尚德的来信。他非但没有责备我,反倒来安慰我。他说这么个小案子怎么可能瞒得过公安局?就象一道四则运算题难不住我们一样。而且谁也受不了他们的折磨,别信《红岩》里写的,那是蒙小孩儿的,要不怎么一有人被捕,大家都赶紧逃跑,并立即切断和他的一切联系呢?他还说回到兵团挺高兴的,正好可以学以致用,探寻水井。他要我帮他在水文书里查这个,查那个。现在想起来,他可能并不需要那些资料,但是帮他查找资料确实减轻了我的内疚。

这样,我们一直保持着联系。他不断告诉我探井的进展;他最后一封信说已经确定了泉眼的位  置,就要动手打井了。随后,恶讯传来,尚德死了。

那年盛夏,连里杀了头猪,改善伙食。大伙儿不想把肉一次吃光。先吃了一半,司务长用绳子拴上剩下的半扇猪,吊在那眼深井的水面上,让凉气镇着。过两天,吃了四分之一;再过两天,吃了八分之一。而最后八分之一,一不小心,掉下水了。捞了半天,也没捞上来。井太深了。

最后指导员说:“谁能捞上来,肉就归谁。”好几个人试了又试,都没捞上来。当天晚上,尚德的两个好友问他有没有办法,他才知道有这么回事。“有差不多20斤肉呢,够咱们这屋人饱餐一顿 的!”他想了想说:“明天一早,跟我去捞,好歹得给它弄上来。要不这眼井就臭了。”

第二天,尚德照例四点半就起床了,念了一小时的英语,那俩哥们也起了,他们一道去捞肉。尚德的计划是怀抱一块大石头,骑在辘轳的水桶上,让那俩哥们把他放下去。然后抱着石头潜到井底去找肉。也不知怎么搞的,那辘轳垮掉了,砸到他头上,把他砸晕了,淹死了。这是那两个朋友的正式报告。

兵团战士们想把他捞出来,但费尽了力气也没有成功。谁也不敢冒险下井。三天后,尚德漂起来了,这才捞出来。尸体检查了,发现他头上有个洞,但却是呛水致死。由于没人再会用那眼井的水。连里决定索性把他葬在井里。由于他是在“为自己捞肉”的事故中死亡,尚德没有象一个月前病死的女青年那样算作“革命烈士”,一切相应的待遇都没有了。指导员当然没有提是他让人们捞猪肉的。但几乎所有人都来参加了尚德的葬礼。他同屋那二十来个五大三粗的小伙子一个个都哭成泪人了。

我也独自痛哭了。可没有见到尸体,下意识里,我无法接受这一悲惨结局。多年来,我经常梦见尚德,和以前一样,活得好好的,光秃秃的脸上带着狡黠的笑容……我会在梦中对他说:“你没死  啊!跟我们玩神秘,是吧?还真把我蒙着了,你这小子!”说着,我会狠狠地拍他肩膀,却拍到了自己肚子上。醒来泪流满面,在黑暗中呜呜哭泣。我觉得自己是在一眼深井里,阴森森、冷嗖嗖的;惭愧和内疚简直要使我窒息。我意识到现实的残酷,尚德确实死了,再也回不来了。那空荡荡的感觉竟然如此难受,好象是剧烈的胃疼,但怎么用拳头顶着也没用。他父亲似乎没有这么痛苦;他真的糊涂了,把我当成尚德了。我忠实地扮演儿子的角色,直到八年后他去世为止。

粉碎“四人帮”后,文革正式结束了。那些建设兵团被先后遗弃,兵团战士纷纷回城。两年后,我听说尚德那两个朋友也回来了,便请他们到全聚德吃烤鸭。我定了个单间。一盘鸭肉,三瓶啤酒下肚后,我放下筷子,站起身来,坦诚地对他俩讲了我的内疚。他们对此真是毫无所知。说完,我请求他们告诉我尚德到底是怎么死的。他们面面相觑,我转身走出房间。一支烟后,我再进屋,只见他们俩眼泪汪汪的。

他们告诉我,尚德骑着水桶,让他们慢慢地放下去。然后抱着石头潜入井底,顺利地找到那块猪肉,抱着它浮了上来,一切都象他计划的那样。他又骑上水桶,他们俩摇辘轳,把他拉了上来。他们看见尚德成功地带着肉上来了,激动起来。俩人同时去拉他,虽然只是一瞬间,却铸成了大错。尚德掉落下去,但还抓着井绳,骑在水桶上。辘轳的把柄飞快地旋转,一人试图抓住它,被打开了。另一人拉了一把井绳,又是个致命的错误!他非但没有抓住井绳,还带动井绳晃了一下。他们听到咚的一声,然后才是噗通的落入水里的声音。井绳最后那一拉,才把辘轳拉断,扯进水井。他们承认没有勇气说出全部真相,可这些年来,他们也因负疚而白了头。说罢,他们俩摘下帽子,露出和我一样的满头白发。

“别责怪自己了,”我说:“是那眼深井……”我们失声痛哭,三个大男人,抱在一团哽咽。谁也没有再碰那烤鸭和啤酒。道别前,他们告诉我,他们照着尚德探定的方位打井,成功了。

 
我简直等不及去看那眼井。此时我已上了大学。一放暑假,我就乘火车,搭汽车,还走了两个多小时,才到了建设兵团尚德他们连队开垦的地方。农场虽然遗弃了,环绕那眼新井却自然形成了一个小小的村落。但谁也不知道这眼井的故事,只知道它是北京来的知识青年打的。村民们以为我是观测水文的,告诉我还有过一眼井,但是水质不好,埋了。他们带我找到那井址,我知道那就是尚德的坟墓了。这是一座什么坟啊!它非但没有突出来,反而有些下陷,石头井沿依稀可辨。

我良久站立在尚德的坟旁,回想他短暂的一生。才十九岁,他就死了!这位才华横溢的青年成就了什么?只有那眼甜水井而已!要是他能活过文革,他会有多大成就?谁也不知道。他的无限前程都被这眼深井的黑洞吞噬了。这眼井埋掉了,可文革那眼深井能埋掉吗?该埋掉吗?

深井

The Deep Well

“Where’re your eyebrows?” I asked Shangde. When I first saw him after he had been away from Beijing working on a state farm in the northeast of China for two years, I felt something was missing from his face. It looked somewhat bare. After the excitement of seeing him again, I saw that his eyebrows were almost all gone.

 

                He did not seem to care at all but casually explained, “Well, the water on the farm was bad. Most people lost their hair, but somehow, my eyebrows abandoned me first, probably because I knitted them more often than I rubbed my hair on the pillow." I knew he was a knowledge seeker. No matter how exhausted he was after a day's work, he would still read deep into the night by a small lamp in a corner of the camp which was shared with twenty-three other young men, who did nothing after work but played cards, chatted, and slept.

 

                We were childhood friends. Two years earlier, we graduated from the middle school. He was assigned to work on the farm, and I was lucky to be assigned to work in a factory affiliated to Beijing University. During this period of time, I put on some weight and became much stronger. The hunger I had suffered in the May 7th Cadre School seemed to be a remote experience. Shangde was taller but much thinner and darker than before. He was permitted to come back to Beijing because his mother had passed away, and his father was sick and needed a nurse at home. This was a common reason for the child to have a break from the tiring and tedious physical labor---that is, if the parent could obtain a medical excuse. Many doctors even made a fortune out of such a social phenomenon. However, Shangde's father was really sick and was really needed at his job at the time when the frenzy of the Cultural Revolution had gone with the air-crash death of Lin Piao, the Chinese Macbeth, and even Mao felt the loss and waste of the intellectuals. So the party's policy toward intellectuals became more moderate. Shangde’s father was one of the best scientists in the institute, which was trying to transfer Shangde to where his father worked so that he could take care of his father, who would, in turn, "make more and better contributions to the revolutionary cause."

 

                Whatever the cause was, Shangde was just happy to be back. Besides taking good care of his old father, he spent every minute on his studies. Whenever I visited him, he discussed problems in his studies of mathematics, geometry, physics, history, philosophy, and English with me. Actually, he knew more than I did, and I learned much from him in those discussions. In those years, most young people did not bother to learn any book-knowledge because it seemed useless. Shangde and I read books and did exercises with no purpose whatsoever; just for fun. It was also due to our family influence that we both felt that it would be a waste of our lives if we did not learn something new everyday.

 

                Working in Beijing University, I had access to the library there. Although I was allowed to borrow only five books at a time, it was a great privilege because people outside universities simply had no way to get books. Bookstores everywhere were selling very few books other than the works by Mao, Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin. As for personal collections of books, most of them had been burned in the early years of the Cultural Revolution. Therefore, Shangde and I made full use of the library of Beijing University. One day, he asked me to borrow some books on hydrography for him. I wondered why he would want to specialize so early, and then he told me his practical purpose.

 

                Water shortage was a big problem on the farm where he had worked. People, not to mention the crops, could hardly get enough water from the rain. There were 240 young graduates living in the crowded camps and working with rather primitive tools on the vast wasteland. No wonder the output was always low; many youngsters had to walk two hours everyday just to get to where they worked. Their cisterns were more often than not completely dry. Their tractors were used more often to transport water from a river over two hundred miles away than to work the land. They had tried to dig a well dozens of times before they finally hit a wellhead twenty-five yards below the surface. In order for the well to hold a lot of water, they continued to dig fifteen yards deeper before Shangde persuaded them to stop. They had convenient drinking water now, but before long, it began to taste a little stale because the well was so deep that they could not use up the water in the well by the evening and get fresh water from the well in the morning. "Well, it's indeed a little stale," the party commissar said, "but stale water can strengthen our revolutionary willpower still more!" Thus, thanks to their hard work, they had to drink the "elixir of revolution" every day. Now, only one small tractor went to fetch fresh water from the river every other day for the constant turnover of sick farm workers and the party cadres including, of course, the commissar, whose revolutionary willpower was already so strong that it did not need to be strengthened any more.

 

                Shangde suggested that they should make a wellhead protector and put stones into the well so that the water level might be raised and purified. But the ignorant commissar thought that he was either crazy or that he intended to destroy the hard-dug well.

 

                Now, more than a thousand miles away from the farm, Shangde was still concerned about the Pyrrhic victory of the deep well. He wanted to acquire enough knowledge of hydrography in order to help his friends locate the position for another well. "It's a great pleasure to seek knowledge for its own sake," he said, "but it's a greater pleasure to seek knowledge so as to be able to put it into practice."

 

                Shangde was by no means a bookworm, and our meetings were not merely discussions of book-knowledge. We were both fond of singing songs, telling stories, and doing outdoor activities. One weekend in late spring, he, his girl-friend, my girl-friend, and I pedalled our bikes all the way to the Great Wall. It took us six hours to get there, but we did not feel tired at all. We were singing the old songs that we had learned before the Cultural Revolution and all the foreign songs that we knew. Singing those songs, we experienced the joy of forbidden fruit because they were still regarded as politically incorrect. If we had been caught, we would surely have been criticized or even persecuted. However, since we set off at dawn, as soon as we rode out of the city, we saw almost nobody along the road. So we sang to our hearts' content, one song after another, as if we were flying on the wings of songs. They sounded so much more melodious and beautiful than the songs of Chairman Mao's quotations and those so-called revolutionary songs. We felt that our souls were freed, liberated, emancipated! Before we knew it, we had arrived at the foot of the mountain on which the Great Wall was built.

 

                Back then, the wall had not yet become a tourist attraction. We saw no more than ten other visitors that day, and yet, we did not sing on the wall, not that we were afraid, but that we were intoxicated by the magnificent scenes below and around us. We were all quiet and filled with admiration ...

 

                Suddenly, I said, "I don't know if I should be glad or sad for the Great Wall. On the one hand, it's the only human construction that people can see with the naked eye from the moon. It's our pride, our strength, our wisdom. On the other hand, it was so stupid of the emperors to order such a huge project constructed. So much labor! So little use! The Chinese Maginot line. We would be much better off if we had a strong army rather than the wall. We should be aggressive rather than defensive. It's our shame, our weakness, our stupidity."

 

                I noticed that my girl friend was watching me with admiration and I felt quite pleased with myself.

 

     "I'm afraid I can't agree with you," Shangde said gently, "because we don't really know if the wall was as useless against the attacks of the nomads for two millennia as it was against the guns of the imperialist armies for the last century. I should think the wall was very effective in the past. Although it did not stop Kublai Khan and the Manchus, it did prevent most invaders, such as the Huns and the Tartars. How else could we defend our long borders more effectively? Besides, I don't like the idea of military aggression. It's a shame to be invaded, but it's a bigger shame to invade others."

 

                My girl friend was now watching him with admiration. Deep inside, I felt that he was right, but I would not admit it before my girl.

 

                "Well, as you said we don't really know how effective the wall was," I argued, "We need to check all the history books if we want any convincing conclusions. What we don't need to check is your last point. It's rather like Ah Q's philosophy, isn't it?"    (A fictional figure by Lu Hsun, Ah Q is the typical Chinese who always consoles himself by thinking that he has been spiritually superior to the man who has physically humiliated him.)

 

                "Indeed, I shall conduct a study of the Great Wall and write a treatise one day." Shangde answered, "As for Ah Q, he's only trying to balance himself psychologically. Whenever he has a chance, he'd physically humiliate others, too. But I do believe in non-violence. I don't think there's any teaching greater than 'Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.'"

 

                "So you've turned into a Christian?" I asked, "Do you really believe in God? An old man with a white beard sitting above the ninth sky?"

 

                "Well, that's just some people's imagination or personification of God." He said, "For me, God is good, truth, beauty, or the Way, the logos, the natural as well as the social law that we human beings have been trying to recognize. Whatever you call it, it is there. We all have the desire and capacity to know it. Otherwise, we wouldn't be different from other animals."

 

                The girls had lost interest, and they went ahead to take pictures of each other and of us. I, however, found the topic fascinating. My father was a Christian, but he had never talked about Christianity to me. When I learned the theory of evolution in the primary school, I was rather ashamed of him for his being so "superstitious." Once I even tried in my innocent way to persuade him that there was no God. I asked him, "Dad, would you please take me to where God is and let me play with Him?" He smiled and said, "God is not a being to play with, child." But he never explained why. When I grew up, I understood that he did not want to cause any trouble. Although the constitution of China allowed the citizens the freedom of religious beliefs, to spread any religion outside a church or a temple was illegal, and its punishment was severe, especially during the Cultural Revolution. However, I had secretly read my father's bible and was longing to discuss it with somebody. This was actually the first time that we had touched on the topic, and naturally, we went deep into it until the girls urged us to take pictures with them.

 

                Then, we walked down the wall into the forest nearby and started our picnic. While we were taking out the food, Shangde was suddenly gone. We waited, shouted, and looked for him, but he was nowhere to be seen. Just when we were getting really anxious, he appeared before us as mysteriously as he disappeared. He was carrying a pot of water and some dry pine branches and needles. We did not know that he had a pot with him, and we wondered where he got the water. He smiled and winked mysteriously and said, "From the book on hydrography you lent me." I understood that he had put his newly learned knowledge into practice. The girls did not know what he meant and did not bother to ask. They just put the pot on three stones and made a fire. Soon, the water was bubbling. The sausages he brought and the mushrooms he had just gathered smelt so inviting! It was the most delicious picnic that I ever had.

 

                After the meal, each of us told a story. I made mine up, and they unanimously hailed it as the best. It opened with the mysterious death of a young man whom we all knew and closed with Lin Piao's air-crash after his conspiracy against Mao had been exposed. Finally, Shangde made a casual comment: "All of our stories depend on the plot, without which they wouldn't be attractive at all. But a real man of letters can simply describe this forest and hold your attention." Little did I understand at the time the truth in his words, of which a college professor tried a whole semester to convince my classmates nine years later.

 

                Shangde put out the fire and holding something in his right hand, he approached his girl-friend in a manner as if something mysterious and mischievous was imminent. His facial expression was serious. He commanded in a scary voice, "Give me your hand."

 

                "Why?" She hesitated.

 

                "Don't ask. Just give me your hand!"

 

                She reluctantly stretched out her right hand to him. His left hand grasped her wrist firmly, and suddenly, Shangde put his right palm onto hers. She screamed as if she was in great pain, and she shook off her hand and shouted, "Ouch, it's burning hot! You hurt me!"

 

                "No, I didn't." Shangde said calmly, "You hurt yourself with your mind. You see, it's only some embers. A little warm, that's all. I've been holding them all the time. Why don't I feel them burning hot as you did?"

 

                "I don't know," she whined.

 

                "You should," he said, "It's psychology."

 

                "You're being mysterious today," she countered.

 

                "It's nothing to be mysterious for only a day," he said, "but it would be wonderful if one could be mysterious all his life."

 

                Shangde did not play mysterious after that, nor did he conduct a study of the Great Wall. He was more concerned about the well and borrowed more books on hydrography through me.

 

                Between the dates with my girl and the discussions with Shangde, time flew. A year passed. It was a momentous one in which President Nixon came to China and started, as he put it, a "new era." The remaining confederates of Lin Piao were purged, China began to do business with the West. Soviet Union became the trump card that China and the United States played in dealing with each other. Nevertheless, Shangde and I paid little attention to these changes until the day when the British industrial exhibition came to Beijing.

 

                For us, this was the real thing. Ever since the Communist Party attained power, not a single exhibition from any capitalist country was held in China. We longed to learn everything about the West, and Shangde also wanted to learn more about digging a well. But the tickets for the exhibition were extremely difficult to obtain. They were not sold to the public, but rather, given to "persons of concern and consequence" in factories, universities, hospitals, research institutes, and the government organizations. Those who had the luck to see the exhibition were talking about it everyday as if they had just come back from Mars. The listeners had endless questions about those wonderful machines and equipment that the "oppressed and exploited" British workers were enjoying. Everyone had an inexhaustible interest in the advanced science and technology that the "old and declining imperialist country" was developing. People were also surprised to get those beautiful brochures, descriptions, and introductions, all given to them free of charge, and all printed on paper of a quality seldom found in the country that invented paper almost two thousand years ago.

 

                Shangde's father, as a "concerned scientist," was invited to the opening ceremony of the exhibition, and a few days later, was given two extra tickets. We were overjoyed, but Shangde's girl friend also wanted to go very much. Of course, I understood that she had the priority, and yet, I could not manage to hide my disappointment.

 

                "Don't despair!" he said to me, "I'll draw a ticket for you."

 

                My sadness turned into hope again, for Shangde was fond of painting and had been learning to draw. Once he showed me a collection of the masterpieces of Western painting, which was a rare survival of the xenophobia of the Cultural Revolution. He pointed out that Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa has no eyebrows and speculated whether that was the fashion in Renaissance Italy. I then called him jokingly Shangde Lisa for months until his brows sprouted out again. He was not a great painter yet, but he could already paint quite realistically. In fact, he had drawn sketches of both my girl friend and me, and they are our best sketches. After he promised me that, I rested assured.

 

     The next day, I went to his home. His girl friend and he were waiting for me, and so was the ticket. What a similarity! Even though I knew it was drawn, I could not tell the difference without comparing it with the printed ticket. So happily the three of us went to the exhibition with the mixed excitement of both adventure and curiosity. The exhibition hall was designed by Soviet experts in the mid-50s when China was a member of the socialist bloc. Now the British national flag was fluttering below the red star. The story went that at first the flag was hung upside down, and the British Embassy even presented a note of protest. Looking at the flag, I was unable to see how it could possibly be hung upside down. It seemed to be the same either way.

 

                "Ticket, ticket." The guard's voice was solemn and demanding as if the embarrassment of the communist diplomats had turned into a mixture of serious precaution and nameless indignation that was being vented upon the visitors. I was rather nervous, and for a minute, I even wanted to withdraw. After all, this was the first time I had done anything illegal. But I was pushed on by curiosity as well as adventurousness. Shangde and his girl friend went in. I deliberately lagged behind several other visitors. When I gave my fake ticket to the guard, my hand was slightly trembling. He seemed to hesitate for a second and take another glance at the ticket, but he dropped it into the box. My heart that had been up in my throat dropped down. I went in and looked around. I saw Shangde and his girl. I walked toward them hurriedly.

 

                A big mistake! The visitor should go to get the packet of brochures and introductions first. My irregular action and flurried manners immediately caught the attention of the guards who were patrolling around inside the hall.

 

                "What're you doing?" Two of them stopped me and questioned, "Why are you in such a hurry? Did you have a ticket?"

 

                I was stunned and stuttered, "I...I'm just vi...visiting. I ga...gave my ti...ticket to that co...comrade."

 

                "Let's see." They took me back to the gate. ... The ticket-box was opened, the fake ticket was recognized, and I was taken to the police station.

 

                "What's your intention?" The officer asked me after the routine questions, "To destroy the exhibition?"

 

                "No, I just wanted to see it."

 

                "Who drew the ticket?"

 

                "I did."

 

                "After whose ticket did you draw it?"

 

                "Nobody's."

 

                "You liar!" He roared. Two policemen came up and slapped me in the face.

 

                "I really don't know whose ticket it was. It's a used one I picked up outside the exhibition hall."

 

                "You liar! We burn all the used tickets everyday." The two men hit me in the stomach. I doubled up and felt a terrible pain and nausea.

 

                "Tell the truth!" The officer shouted. I would have, had I known it was impossible to fool them, but humiliation choked me. I remained silent.

 

                "Well, you liar," he jeered, "You want to play tough? I'd like to see just how tough you can be. What're you waiting for?" He ordered the two policemen rhetorically.

 

                They grabbed my arms, twisted them behind my back, and forced me to kneel on the floor. One of the men held my head steady by the hair. The other pressed his knee hard against my spine and slowly lifted my left arm. The torture was unbearable. The pain was indescribable. I felt as if my arm and spine were going to break. I remember hearing them crack. ... I confessed.

 

                That evening, Shangde was arrested. Beijing was purging idlers and criminals. He was treated as an idler and sent back to the farm when the commissar there had just sent out his work transfer. All went in vain: a year's efforts to go through the red-tape, a father's hope, and a young man's expectations. When his father received the transfer, he almost went mad, now crying over it, then cursing his unworthy son. His crying and cursing stabbed my conscience constantly, but I did not know what to say to soothe him. I just went to his home everyday after work to do whatever I could for him.

 

                Soon, I began to receive letters from Shangde, who showed me complete understanding and even comforted me saying that nobody could fool the police in such a case, just as nobody could puzzle us with a simple math question, and nobody could stand the notorious tortures in the police station, about which he had heard so much from so many people. He also said that he was actually happy to be back on the farm because he could really work on the project, namely, to locate the spot for another well. He asked me to check this and that in the books on hydrography. In retrospect, I wonder whether or not he really needed the information, but at the time, his requirement did ease my guilt considerably.

 

     So we kept in touch. He was telling me every progress that he had made. His last letter told me that he had finally located the spot which he and two friends of his there firmly believed to have a wellhead. Then, the horrible news came. Shangde was dead.

 

     It was the hot summer of 1974. The farm killed a big pig, which was a rare treat for the poorly fed youths. They did not want to eat up the pork all at once. To refrigerate it, they tied half of it on a rope and put it down in the deep well just above the water. Then they ate a quarter. Then an eighth. Then, the last eighth accidentally fell into the well. They tried every means but simply could not get it out. The well was too deep.

 

                Finally, the commissar said, "Whoever can get the pork can have it." Several people tried again but had no success. When Shangde's two friends asked him if he had any idea, he did not even know about the whole business, for he was too much buried in making the concrete steps to carry out his project. They told him, "It's about twenty-five pounds of pork, Shangde! Our camp would have a banquet if you could get it out." He thought a while and said, "The pork will spoil the water. Tomorrow, I'll get it out somehow."

 

                The next morning, he got up at 4:30 as usual and studied his English. An hour later, the two friends awoke and went with him to the well. His plan was to let him down the well by the wooden winch. He would carry a huge stone, with which he would dive to the bottom of the well to get the pork. Somehow, the winch collapsed and probably hit him. He was knocked out and drowned. This was what the two friends reported, officially.

 

                People on the farm tried to fish him out, but they failed. Nobody dared to take any risk. Three days later, Shangde floated up and was finally pulled out. The corpse was examined, and his neck was found broken. Since nobody would ever drink the water from the well, they buried him within its dark confines. Because he died in "getting the pork for himself," and the commissar never mentioned it was he who had encouraged the farm workers to retrieve, Shangde was not considered or treated as a "revolutionary martyr" like the girl who had died of malaria on the farm a month before, but almost everybody attended his funeral. His camp-mates, who used to mock him as a bookworm, cried like mad.

 

                So did I, but then my subconscious simply could not accept the tragic fact. For years I often dreamed of him, alive as before, with no eyebrows, but a mysterious smile, on his face smile. I would say to him, "So you didn't die after all. You're playing mysterious with all of us. What a joke, Shangde!" I would then slap him on the shoulder, only to wake up and find it was my own stomach that I had slapped. Lying awake in the darkness, I felt as if I were in a deep well, shuddering with cold, drowning with shame and guilt. I would then come to the cruel realization that Shangde was already dead, that he could never come back to life again. It was such an aching void! His father, I would like to believe, never felt the same. He had gone mad and took me for Shangde. I faithfully played the role until his death eight years ago.

 

                After the downfall of the "Gang of Four" in 1976, the Cultural Revolution was officially declared to have come to an end. The state farms in the northeast of China were gradually abandoned, and the young farm workers were coming back to the cities. Two years later, I discovered that the two friends of Shangde's on the farm had also come back. I invited them to have dinner with me at Quanjude, the best restaurant for the famous roast Beijing duck. I reserved a private room for just the three of us. After a plate of duck and a few bottles of beer, I put down the chopsticks. Sincerely I told them about my guilt, of which they had known absolutely nothing. Then, I beseeched them to tell me what really happened to cause Shangde's death. They looked at each other in silence. I left the room to give them time for consideration. Two cigarettes later, I came back and found them in tears.

 

                They told me that Shangde straddled the bucket that was connected to the wooden winch, and they let him down into the well all right. Then, he dived with the stone only once and got the rope that tied the pork. Everything went well just as he had planned. He straddled the bucket again, and they were winding the winch to pull him up. They were overjoyed to see him coming up with the pork. Then, they both tried to grab him. It was only a split second, but it was a momentous mistake. He was falling down with the bucket, the winch was spinning rapidly. One of them tried to grab the handle but was knocked away. The other tried to grasp the rope. Another fatal mistake! Not only did he fail to hold the rope, but he also caused Shangde to sway and probably to knock his head on the wall of the well. They both had heard a noise before Shangde splashed into the water. It was the final pull that destroyed the winch, which was then dragged into the well. They admitted that they were too cowardly to tell the whole truth, but they suffered from their guilt all these years. I understood them perfectly, for they had gray hairs on their young heads just as I did.

 

                "Don't blame yourselves." I said, "It's the deep well..." Then, we all burst into tears, and wept, and sobbed ... Nobody touched the beer or the roast duck again. Before they said good-by to me, however, they told me that they did dig another well on the spot that Shangde had located. It was a complete success.

 

                I could hardly wait to see the well. By now I had become a college student. As soon as the summer vacation began, I took the train and the bus and then walked about two hours to get to where the farm used to be. Although it was deserted, the local people were forming a tiny village around the new well, which was not too deep but had plenty of fresh water. None of the villagers knew any stories about the well except that it was dug by the students from Beijing. They took me for a hydrographic surveyor and told me that there had been another well, which was buried because the water was bad. They showed me where it was. I knew that it was Shangde's grave. What an unusual grave it was! Instead of sticking out, it was somewhat sunken. The stone mouth of the well could be clearly seen.

 

                I stood by Shangde's grave for a long time, recollecting his short life. He died when he was only nineteen! What had such a brilliant young man accomplished? Nothing especially noteworthy but that well over there. What would he have been able to accomplish, had he survived the Cultural Revolution? Nobody could ever know. His boundless prospects were all sucked into the black hole of this deep well. The well is now buried, but can the deep well of the Cultural Revolution be buried like this? Should it?

无形的手

                                                                                                                                     不尚贤,使民不争——老子《道德经》第三章
 

我仿佛听到一个声音,很熟悉的声音,好像就是魏老师的声音“放开吧!”随后,我仿佛感到一只手,沉稳而有力的手,按在我左肩上,并向左下方滑过去,拉了一下我的臂膀。我求之不得地放开了尽力托举的排子车把手,向左闪开。

排子车飞速向下冲去,拉车的鲁叔叔忽左忽右地晃了几次,好像还往上窜了一下,又埋头弓背压下车把手,排子车冲得更快了。显然,鲁叔叔已经控制不住这架排子车,一路跌跌撞撞冲下去。左前方有个半人高的拴船缆的石头墩子,眼看就要撞上时,他猛地朝右躲闪,排子车的把手越过那墩子,车轮撞了上去。那轮子比自行车的轮子粗五倍还多,但在强烈的撞击后,它变成了弓形。我看傻了,灵魂仿佛出了窍,飘在半空中对我说:“看见了吧?要不是有人把你拉开,你的躯体也得变成这样一张弓。”

那是六九年秋末,我们一家随同父亲研究所的几百口子大人小孩一起下五七干校。单位包了一列火车,拉着这些人和我们的全部家当慢慢腾腾地南下江西。我们的专列当然没有毛主席的气派,逢车必让,从北京到九江,竟然走了四天。在九江码头转换轮船去赤湖,我们得自己动手装行李。从车站到码头要下一个七十来米的木板坡。考虑到这些城里来的干部没有拉过车,领导便安排我和另外几个十四、五岁的小子推车、托车。装满行李的排子车有上千斤重,在平地上,大人拉,我们推。到了下坡处,停一下,两个小子换到拉车的两旁帮着朝上托车把,让排子车尾部与地面摩擦,以便减速,安全下坡。走了两趟,挺稳当。我这是第一次在社会上做正事,仿佛是在保驾护航,起了不可或缺的作用,心里美滋滋的。鲁叔叔胡子麻茬的,在那群知识分子当中显得独具男子汉气魄。他一向大大咧   咧,这次拉车也不例外。到下坡处,他略停一下,满不在乎地冲我们俩说:“不用你们了,我自己能行。”右边那小子走开了。我一向听领导的话,没有依照鲁叔叔所说离开岗位,还是上前帮助他托车把。从一开始我就觉得不对劲,他应该往上扬车把,可我觉得车把非常沉重,压得我右手直个劲儿地往下落,车把一下接一下地砸在我肩上,脚下的步子越蹈越快。然后,我就听见了那个声音,感到了那只手……

我还在发晕。身后,人们在惊叹、议论。我听不清楚,回头望去,惊奇地发现他们都在三十多米以外,魏老师也在其中。那是谁在我耳边说“放开吧”?是谁拉了我一把呢?他根本不可能在那几秒钟内就退到那么远的地方啊!

大家围过去,幸好鲁叔叔没有受伤,他脸色煞白,好一阵才缓过气来。突然,他冲我吼道:“你怎么闪开了?你倒好,躲一边儿没事儿了,让我失去平衡,晃来晃去,压不住车把。要不是我躲得   快,就撞死了!”我心里很清楚,事故是因他鲁莽造成的,而且他应该扬车把,让排子车后面蹭地,才能减速,而不是压车把,后面翘得越高,排子车走得越快。但我当时只为自己未能扛住车把而羞   愧,只会喃喃地分辨:“有人拉了我,把我拉开了。”

“谁拉你了?”大家异口同声道:“我们在后面看得清清楚楚,没有人拉你,是你自己闪开的。”

 我求救般看了魏老师一眼,他一言不发,但他的眼镜片后面似乎闪着一丝讥笑。我的脸刷地一下就红到了脖子根。我低下头去,再也没有吭声。

那年头,我做梦都想当英雄。广播里经常宣讲各种各样的英雄事迹。雷锋,一心一意地为人民服务。王杰,一不怕苦、二不怕死。欧阳海,在生死关头冲上去,推开了驮着炮车、惊呆了的战马,自己倒在列车轮下。那是多么辉煌的牺牲啊!我从小就爱听这些英雄的故事;课本里,收音机里这类故事有很多。可惜我生不逢时,没有赶上战争年代,不能像董存瑞、黄继光那样为国捐躯。要是能碰到欧阳海那样的机会也好啊!这回多少也算是个关键时刻,可就在考验我的关头,我怎么竟然闪开了?那是因为有人拉我嘛!叫我走开嘛!不对,他们都说没人拉我。可我明明听到一个声音,感到那只手了呀。不对,我身后的确没有人嘛!还是我的思想不够红,意志不够坚定,才会在紧要关头产生了自我保护的幻觉,当了逃兵。那只手,那只无形的手,它就是我的“私字一闪念”啊!

从此,我在众人面前抬不起头来,无法面对别人直视的目光,总觉得别人在责备我。朋友们好像都不爱理我了。如果他们在谈论什么,碰巧我过来时停住了,我就觉得他们是在说我那见不得人的事。我要是看见别人耳语,就觉得他们在议论我。每天晚上政治学习的时候,如果念到什么英雄事迹,我会觉得像挨耳光一样。那些年的英雄事迹又那么多,隔三差五就报道一篇,就扇我一顿耳光。尤其在学习金训华的光辉事迹时,我简直无地自容。他为了抢救公共财产——两根被山洪冲走的电线杆子——奉献出自己年轻的生命。金训华被追认为中国共产党党员,后来还发行了他与激流搏斗的邮票。人家那是什么精神?虽死犹生啊!永垂不朽啊!而我,哎,真没出息!即便没有谁公开指责我,我也愧赧无颜!好几次,我鼓足勇气,差一点就要做自我批评了,但我终于没有能够说出口。很久以后,我读了《罪与罚》,才明白人为什么需要坦白自己的罪过和错误,内疚会要你的命啊!可那时,我不懂,一个人在羞辱中度日如年。

雨季到了。南方的梅雨,不象北京的雨那么暴烈,那么短暂,而是沥沥拉拉,没完没了。一连两个多月不见天日,直下得到处都是泥浆,草棚里什么都潮乎乎的,褥子长了绿毛,塑料布霉斑点点,洗脸盆破瓷处都生了锈,空气中充溢着陈腐的气味,仿佛整个世界都发了霉、生了锈,就像我的心一样,在一点点腐烂……我那年还不到十五岁,就已经数次想到过死。与其那样在羞辱中孤苦地活着,还不如死掉算了……

持续不断的雨让赤湖的水位持续不断地提高;也是因为干校围湖造田,赤湖的面积缩小了一半,使得水位提高得特别快。往年湖水太多了,可以开闸往长江放水;但今年不行,也不知是谁得罪水神共工了,眼见江堤的石块被淹没了,沿堤的树林变成树丛了,长江的水位涨得比赤湖还高。

一天,半夜时分,报警的锣声把我从梦乡中惊醒。我们围湖造田修建的湖坝裂口子了,大水正在冲入稻田。五七战士们纷纷跳起来,冲向湖坝抢险。这本来是大人的事情,但我明确地感到,我的机会来了,我洗刷耻辱的时刻到了。我连衣服都没顾上拿,只穿着背心短裤,就向湖坝跑去。黑黢黢   的,没有月光,有几个手电筒,隐约照亮了方向。我摔了一跤,却毫不在乎,爬起来接着跑。湖坝上乱糟糟的,好像也没有谁指挥,在昏黄的手电筒和马灯的微光下,我看到了几处裂口之一。浑浊的湖水嗤嗤地穿过大坝,涌入稻田。其实,稻田里也有水,进点水又有什么关系?但当时我连想都没想,就纵身跳入对面湖水里,企图用身体来挡住裂口。

虽然是初夏,半夜的湖水还是相当凉的。但我当时精神亢奋,胸中好像燃烧着熊熊烈火,身上只是激灵了一下,就适应了。湖水有两米多深,感谢毛主席的号召,我两年前就学会了游泳,现在派上用场了。我一边踩着水,一边摸索着寻找裂口。突然,我被一股巨大的力量吸住了,吧唧一下贴到大坝上,啃了一嘴泥,胸部以下感到一股股水飕飕地飞速流过,钻入紧贴着的土地,把我两只脚带入稀烂的泥洞。我本能地伸开臂膀,手指抠住泥土,以防被吸入洞里。那副样子,肯定像个十字架,插在湖坝上。我吐出满嘴的泥水,大叫:“这儿有裂口,我找到一个裂口!”

几个大人走过来,看着,似乎不知所措,没有任何人跳下来帮我堵裂口。一会儿,又来了一个大人,他伸出手来对我说:“你上来吧!”我虽然听得清清楚楚,这是小杨叔叔在说话,却坚信这又是幻觉,与诱惑我放弃排子车把同样的幻觉。

“不!”我坚定地大声回答:“这是我的岗位!”说这话的时候,我想到的是抬车把的情景。我曾经无数次设想过,再碰到那种情况,我应该怎样做、怎样说。

“好小子!”小杨叔叔赞叹道:“我在这儿陪着你,”他转过头对其他人说:“你们快去搬草包来。”

小杨叔叔曾带领先遣队来赤湖为干校搞基建,当过连长。只因他殴打勾引他老婆的军官而受到了降职处分,但他的话还是很有分量,那几个人立即跑去搬草包。

小杨叔叔一把拉住我的手臂,命令道:“快上来!”说着,他开始拽我。

“不!”我大喊道:“这是我的岗位!”

“你扯什么蛋!”小杨叔叔忿忿地骂道:“快上来!”

“不!”我像躲避妖魔一样,一把甩开他的手。还没容我说出那豪言壮语,身体往下一出溜,我呛了一口水,双腿被吸入那泥洞里,一只手在空中乱抓。我觉得身体在慢慢下沉,下半身几乎完全陷入泥洞,我清醒地意识到,那巨大的吸力在把我一寸一寸拖进去。显然,那裂口被冲得越来越大,水中杂七杂八的东西不断冲撞在我身上、脖子上,但我大概已经冻僵了,并不觉得疼痛。我担心的只   是,湖坝有近两米宽,我要是被吸进去,恐怕没那么容易从另一面冲出来,非憋死在里面不可。我的另一只手死死地抠入泥土,就在我觉得再也撑不住的时刻,小杨叔叔抓住了我的手臂,把我拖上来一点。

“你呈什么英雄?”他愤怒地喊道:“这儿就咱们俩,快上来!”

我突然明白过来,他是以为我在做给人们看。“不!”我狂吼道:“这是公共财产!”

“放屁!什么他妈的公共财产。再说了,稻子也不怕水淹,你快给我上来!”

“不!”我再次甩胳膊,但这次小杨叔叔有了准备,他死死抓住我不放。

“好了,好了,你别甩了,就这么呆着吧。”为了增大摩擦力,他趴下来,紧贴在地上,双手始终抓着我的手和小臂。

“你这是何苦呢?”小杨叔叔放低声音亲切地劝我:“没有必要嘛!咱们已经知道裂口在哪儿   了,你上来,咱们守在这儿。他们来了,也好堵口子。”

“不,”我坚定地回答:“我不能再当逃兵!”

小杨叔叔似乎明白了,过了好一阵,他才问我:“冷不冷?”

“不冷,”我说的是实话,我心里好像还热乎乎的,可是两条腿一点感觉都没有,它们似乎已经不属于我了。

搬草包的终于回来了。小杨叔叔把我拉上来,我的双腿好像不存在了,根本无法站立,整个人像烂泥一样瘫在地上。但是大家顾不上我,他们把装满泥土的草包扔下去堵口子。多数草包都是空的,几个人跳入稻田,挖泥装包,一个个传过来,扔到湖里。可是效果不大,水还在汩汩地涌入稻田。小杨叔叔跳入湖中,踩着水,费力地接过一包包泥土,摸索着填入裂口,直到天蒙蒙亮,才完全堵死了漏洞。

我还是站不起来,而且手臂的知觉也没有了。小杨叔叔和其他人轮换着背我,朝着玫瑰色的朝霞走去。我心中充满了自豪,从此,我可以昂首挺胸面对众人了。快到家时,妈妈跑出来迎我,她撕心裂肺地惨叫一声:“瓜娃子!你啷个啰?”我心中的自豪顿时被冲散了一半……

我的自豪很快又回来了。虽然我们的努力毫无意义——湖水终于涨得比大坝还高,漫过来把稻田完全淹没了,稻子颗粒无收——我还是成了英雄。在随后的一年里,我到处做报告,台上总是挂着《毛主席挥手我前进》的巨幅画像。我反复宣讲自己的光荣事迹,题为“这是我的岗位!”当然,那是我努力学习毛主席著作的结果,是我学英雄,见行动的实际表现。毛主席的教导是无形的巨手,指引着我们前进的方向。毛主席的语录我越背越熟,随口就能引用,用以回答听众的问题。雷锋、欧阳海、王杰、金训华,这些英雄的名字不断出现在我的报告中。他们“是我的榜样,是激励我在泥水中、在湖坝上坚守岗位的英雄”;有些报刊甚至还把我和这些光辉的名字相提并论了一次。可惜,那时我太小。不然,一定会有很多姑娘给我写信,表示愿意嫁给我……那一年中,唯一让我不悦的是妈妈脸上那擦都擦不掉的悲哀。

一年后,我才开始明白妈妈的悲哀。滚滚而来的名誉渐渐消散了,文革的纵深发展,阶级斗争的深入复杂,越来越影响到每一个人的生活,谁还会记得一个傻小子的事迹呢?如今,很多人连金训华都忘记了,他的价值已化为一枚邮票。三十多年过去了,多亏现代科技飞速发展,笔记本电脑这种好东西便宜了,我也买得起了,也可以写作、上网,也可以发表文章了。今天,我终于把这段经历,一个字、一个字,如实地敲了出来——在我的轮椅上用嘴叼着筷子敲的。

明亮的眼睛

 

 

李明拖着沉重的脚镣和另外十个罪犯被押上台。他扬起头来,他的眼睛还是那么明亮。人们不由自主地发出感叹,低声议论起来。我虽然听不见他们,但我知道他们在说什么。自从李明13岁开始登台演出以来,就一直是这样。只要他一上台,人们就会情不自禁地赞慕他英俊的容貌,尤其要夸赞他明亮的眼睛。多少次了,我听见观众惊叹道:“这小伙,多帅呀!看他那眼睛,简直象鹿似的,多亮啊!”

“打倒反革命份子李明!”有人带领喊口号了。人们好象刚睡醒,跟着有气无力地喊起来,把我从回忆中拉回现实。站在李明身后的警察把他的头一次次按下去,李明一次次把头扬起来。群众的口号声立即响亮起来。他们的态度转变得这么快,真让我吃惊。

“现在,我宣布反革命份子李明的罪行。”革委会主任拿着一纸公文,声嘶力竭地说道,那张纸几乎贴在他鼻子上,被他喷出的气冲得一颤一颤的:“李明,男,现年25岁,生于上海……犯有如下罪行:多次偷听敌台广播,称颂封建的欧洲和美国帝国主义的腐朽没落的音乐,其中包括贝芬多和伯施恩坦。”

李明双眸一闪,一股蔑视的眼神闪现出来。那么快!但我捕捉到了,而且知道那是为什么。我太熟悉他的眼神了,那有时欢快、有时淘气、有时轻蔑、有时愤怒的眼神。他的眼睛的表现力极其丰富,连傻瓜都明白他什么意思。他的感情如果因嘴唇把守未能说出,却往往从他那明亮的眼睛里溜出来。以前,他就曾因无法掩饰对愚蠢的蔑视而得罪过人。

我们这些了解李明的同学都知道他并无意伤害谁。他就是无法不让他的眼睛流露出他的真实感情。那双眸子,仿佛自有独立的生命,根本不受他支配。这就是他的命!我相信,他要是去演戏,一定比拉小提琴更成功。不是说他琴拉得不好,他是我们学校最优秀的小提琴手,但他要是当了演员,肯定赛过王新刚。有一次,他和一大提琴手演奏亨德尔的“忧伤”二重奏,即将拉到最后那句和弦时,他的E弦突然断了。但他没有停下来,右手还在运弓,左手还在揉弦,与此同时,他向大提琴手抛去那么忧伤的一瞥。那和声要表达的情感完美无缺地显现出来了。说实话,我虽然坐在前排,却没有感到小提琴当时是无声的。

“李明公开与无产阶级文化大革命唱反调。他公然私下弹奏禁演的,正在受批判的封建、小资产阶级的乐曲。”

又“公然”又“私下”,什么逻辑!又是“封建”又是“小资产阶级”,你们倒是先拿定了主意再说呀!但群众似乎没有觉出有什么不对头,一个劲儿地跟着喊口号:“反对文化大革命,决无好下场!”

这倒是真的。如今政治犯比刑事犯还多,至少在我工作的监狱里是这样。谁要是说错一句话,把“打倒刘少奇,保卫毛主席”的口号喊反了,或者踩了毛主席他老人家的画像、照片,都会坐牢。而李明的罪行,一开始还没这么严重呢。

他的所谓罪行是6年前在我家开始的。我分配到上海这家监狱工作,好朋友都来我家祝贺我的好运气。我虽然庆幸自己有了好工作,但觉得挺不自在。其他大多数同学都分配到生产建设兵团,有去云南的,有去东北的,马上就要远离上海了。我们喝完了限量购买的那点啤酒,抽着劣质烟,有些晕糊,开始唱起文革前的老歌:“蓝蓝的天上云朵里,有条小白船;船上有棵桂花树,白兔在游玩……”那年,文革已进行了三年。我们对革命歌曲和口号都烦了,这些老歌带来了美好的回忆。

哼唱了一阵,有人要求李明给大家拉一段《梁祝》里的华彩。我们再三劝他拉,那可是他的成名作啊!我把小提琴取出来。我是和李明同时开始跟同一位老师学的琴;我的琴布满虎皮纹,音质比李明的好多了,可我只在学校的乐队凑个份子。我把琴递给李明。他的眼都笑弯了,说道:“说实话,我一直想拉呢!”我明白,他想要拉的其实是我的琴。为了不让外人听见,我在琴马上夹了个弱音器;李明开始拉琴了。“拉”可真是用词不当,他把全身心都投入了,音乐活了起来。我闭上眼睛,看到梁祝化为蝴蝶,从坟墓里飞出来,在微风里和颤动的花丛中翩翩起舞,进入那美丽的神话世界……在华彩的泛音消逝后,我们寂静无言。泪水涌上我的眼睛,好象大家也都是眼泪汪汪的。其实,我们平常挺皮实的,那天也不知怎么了,那么感伤。也许是想到我们和梁祝一样,无法在今世实现自己的意愿吧!

“如果这就是死,还真不如死了呢!”李明叹息了一声说道:“可你不知道死后又会怎样,所以我们还是要活着。”我们谈论了一会儿音乐,一致认为这首小提琴协奏曲是中国出的最美的乐曲。

“它政治上也没错啊,”有人说道:“这不是反封建吗!”

“是啊,这是以民间故事为题材创作的嘛,”另一个声音附和道:“这是人民的艺术嘛!没有道理禁演……”

“你们说,为什么那民间故事让梁祝变成蝴蝶,而不是其它什么东西?”李明问道。有人说蝴蝶最美。有人提到希腊神话里的蝴蝶女和小爱神。我们讨论啊、争论啊,提出各种各样的理由。

最后,李明开口了:“你们说的都有道理,只有希腊神话不搭界。东汉那会儿,我们不可能知道希腊神话。我想化蝶和庄生梦蝶有关。他不是梦见自己变成蝴蝶在空中飞舞吗?醒来后,也不知自己究竟梦见化蝶,还是生活在蝴蝶的梦中。他不知道究竟哪个世界是真实的,是他现在生活的世界,还是那个梦中的世界。”李明站起身来,激动地挥舞双臂,接着说道:“我认为,这民间传说用化蝶的故事告诉我们,另外那个世界更美好,从而批评这个世道!”他的眼睛闪着光,闪着热情,闪着感人的力量。真没想到,他那番话,竟然签署了他的死亡证书。

“李明不仅弹奏反动音乐,而且还利用音乐攻击我们社会主义祖国,给毛主席他老人家亲自发动的文化大革命抹黑,反对伟大、光荣、正确的中国共产党。”革委会主任继续数落李明的罪行。


“放屁!你儿子设法留在上海。那才是罪行!”我无声地吼道。是啊,他儿子王鹏那天晚上也在我家。也跟着说了《梁祝》几句好话,鬼知道他回家跟他爸说了什么?结果他没去建设兵团,留在上海,给李明的罪行作证。他们俩人都留下来了,一个在牢里蹲着,一个在办公桌后边“干革命。”可这里面还有更恶的呢……

“李明是顽固不化、死不悔改的反革命份子。” 革委会主任眯着浑浊的眼睛,继续念判决书:“他拒绝接受改造,写了七封上告信,却连一份检查都不写……”

李明真是够拧的。要不然,他也许早就放出来了。他越上告,在监狱里蹲的时间就越长。“不就是写检查,写认罪书吗?有什么了不起的?先混出狱再说。这里边好受是怎么着?”可我唾沫星子都说干了,也说不服他。咳,他要是听了我的该多好!可是晚了,即使他听,也晚了。唉!那条振奋全国的消息,要他的命啊!那天,广播员骄傲地宣布文化大革命的又一重大成果:“在伟大领袖毛主席的英明领导下,在光荣的中国共产党的正确指挥下,上海医疗工作者成功地完成了人类角膜移植手术。在当今的世界上,除了美国以外,只有中国掌握了这一先进医疗技术。这是毛泽东思想指导我们工作从胜利走向胜利的又一光辉典范……”

“吹什么牛!”我愤愤地对李明说:“角膜移植没那么神奇,好多国家都做到了。就算只有中美能做,那美国的成就是在谁领导下取得的,尼克松吗?”

“算了,别这么冷嘲热讽的。”李明劝我:“这是好消息呀。如今这种好消息还真不多,我们应该高兴啊!”

几天后,我接到命令把李明转移到一间舒适的单人号子,每顿给他吃小灶,有鱼有肉有菜有汤。从来没有哪个囚犯得到过这么好的待遇,我们这些看守也没有这么好的吃食!每次送饭去,我都忍不住捞两口尝尝。我们纳闷,怎么时来运转了?那会儿还真没想到这和那医疗成就有什么关系。可一星期前,革委会王主任来了,他眯着浑浊的眼睛隔着牢门看了李明一会儿,阴笑着走了。

我随即接到命令把李明反扣起来,每顿由我来喂他吃;要让他吃好,不吃,就灌。“这是干什么?”李明愤怒的问我:“你知道什么,都告诉我!”

“我什么也不知道,只知道要把你照顾好。”

李明开始绝食了。我求他:“别逼我。咱们是哥们儿。我不想让你受罪。你知道绝食没用。我们会给你灌食。真的,别逼我到那份上。我求你了!”

李明眼里冒着火,但这次他居然听我的了,乖乖地进食了。每天我象填鸭那样一勺一勺地喂他三次,他就为了我机械地吃,毫无滋味地把给他的全部吃光。这可真是最痛苦的一个星期。他整天躺在床上,盯着屋顶。眼睛还是那么明亮,但是直楞楞的,没有任何表情。认识他以来,我第一次看不懂他的眼神了。他绝望了?在冥思苦想?那明亮的眼睛是两点茫然,我怎么也看不明白。六年来,我们在一起交谈,度过多少快乐时光。不然,真不知怎样消磨那些无聊的日月!可现在跟他说什么,他也不回答,一个字都不说。直到昨晚,我告诉他要枪决的恶讯,他才站了起来。一脸茫然消失了,他清楚地,一字一顿地说出他的遗嘱,让我牢牢记下。

这是什么样的遗嘱啊!他没有提他的财物,没有提他的朋友,也没有提他的亲属,他平静地说:

 

我听说麝鹿被猎人打伤,临死前总要尽力咬下自己的肚脐,吞下麝香。有人说麝鹿吞香是为了治伤,有人说是为了不让猎人得到麝香。我宁愿相信后一种说法。麝鹿一定知道猎人要得到什么。它本能地咬下肚脐,吞下麝香,虽然救不了自己的命,却不让猎人得逞。猎人得不到麝香,也就不再猎鹿了。这是麝鹿求生的本能,求其物种生存的本能。

 

他没有提到任何人,我想他是不愿意牵连别人。但这遗嘱是什么意思?他要干什么?

“我代表……革命委员会宣布,”王主任提高嗓门喊道:“判处反革命份子李明死刑。剥夺政治权力终身。立即执行。”

人们吃了一惊。大家肯定没想到他会判死刑。口号声再次响起:“打倒反革命份子李明!李明死有余辜!”这次,群众的响应没有那么热烈。李明再次抬起头来,两道电光从双眼射出。警察费了好大劲才把他的头按下去。

革委会主任开始念第二个罪犯的判词。那是名强奸犯。奸污了五名妇女,包括两名少女。死刑一宣布,他就瘫了。身后两名看押人员不得不提拎着他,费尽力气才坚持到判决大会结束。第三个是贪污犯,贪了一万多元;一宣布死刑,就尿裤子了。自始至终,李明一次又一次地抬起头来,如炬的目光一遍又一遍地扫过人群。

其他八个因其“政治罪行”分别判处了不同年限的监禁。大会在一片口号声中结束;那个强奸犯和贪污犯被拖下高台。李明拖着沉重的脚镣,扬着高傲的头颅,一步一步走下来,那铁链啷当的声音象尖刀一样直刺我心。难道我的朋友,这么有才华的一位小提琴家,这么年轻的生命就要结束了吗?我还得眼见他们执行枪决。我还得拿回他的手铐脚镣!

更难忍受的是,他那明亮的眼睛,有一部分还会活下去,还会继续闪亮,在那罪恶的眼眶里闪亮。我多么希望那手术不会成功!不过,要是成功了也好。但愿他明亮的眼睛会烧掉王主任那丑恶的狗头!我诅咒着。每次他在镜子里看见自己的时候,李明的眼睛都会朝他投出匕首。每次王鹏望见他爸爸眼睛的时候,都会看到那火一般的控诉。可那是说,如果他们还有良心。但他们有良心吗?他们是无所畏惧的“唯物主义者”,他们没有灵魂,没有良心。他们是人吗?他们是野兽!不,别贬低野兽了。野兽比人好多了。只有人才这么邪恶!可是,也只有人才这么崇高!看看李明吧,他昂首挺胸地走着,眼睛闪着亮光,象头麝鹿一样。

鹿还能咬掉自己的麝香,可是他又能做什么呢?他套着脚镣,跑不掉。他反戴着手铐,连饭都不能自己吃。他什么也做不了。他比麝鹿还无能为力。我们把他押上警车,运往刑场枪决。然后,他们可以为所欲为的使用他的身体,利用他的眼睛。残酷的人类啊!我痛恨你!我痛恨我自己!我不也是同样卑劣的人?我为他做过什么?什么也没有!可我又能为他做什么?我能救他吗?根本不可能!警察有枪,我只有开手铐脚镣的钥匙。但我要是有枪,又怎么样?我敢救我的朋友吗?我不敢。我也是个胆小鬼。我比别人更卑贱。他们并不了解李明。可我什么不知道?然而,我还是什么也不会做。啊,我恨我自己!我平生第一次真正痛恨自己。我心里明明知道该做什么,为什么我的手脚却不肯做?王主任心里肯定也知道什么对什么错,只不过他的手脚不肯照做罢了。那我们之间又有什么区别呢?没有,本质上并没有区别。我们同样邪恶。邪恶就是自私。就是这么一回事!

警车停下来。我们下车。太阳这么耀眼,好一阵,我才适应过来。天这么蓝,云这么白、扬子江水这么黄、树木这么绿、草地这么青!一辆白色带红十字的救护车停在刑场边上。

真是这样!他们真是要在行刑后立即挖取李明的眼睛!

李明走在前面,双手反扣在背后。警察紧跟其后,一手还拉着他的脖领。我走在旁边,脑袋里空涝涝的,喉咙中好象有个硬块顶着。那强奸犯和贪污犯在我们后面,被四个押送人员提拉突噜地拖着。李明的步子缓慢坚定。我们接近刑场了。革委会主任在救护车边和一个医生在交谈。

李明突然向前猛冲,好象要逃跑。押送他的警察拼命往后一拉。李明顺势猛地向后倒下,双脚把铁链撩过头顶,砸向警察。警察急忙躲闪,脚镣砸到他肩膀。他斜倒在我身上,与其说受伤,不如说受惊了。与此同时,李明在地上象鱼一样蹦哒,反扣的双手已经绕过臀部。我拉着警察,假装在照顾他。李明,快,你要干什么就快干吧!我只能帮你这么点忙啊!他躺在地上,身体完全对折,膝盖压在胸前,手铐把裤子划破了,双手已蹭过腿肚子,手铐却卡在脚跟上。愤怒和绝望从他眼睛里喷射出来,那双明亮的眼睛在明白无误地央求我,不,在命令我:“帮我一把!”我的手自动伸了过去,把他的手拉过脚跟。他的手,那双灵巧的拉琴的手,立即落在他明亮的眼睛上。后面的警察扑了上来,但他已经把眼球塞进嘴里。

我们把李明拉起来。他长啸一声,迸发出既痛苦又欢快的狂笑。他看不见了,却大踏步向前走去,仰面朝天,狂笑不止!不知是强烈的阳光,还是我的眼泪使我什么也看不见。我半跟随,半搀扶着他走到刑场。不知是风声,还是我的耳鸣使我什么也听不见,就好象在成功的演出后,得到观众雷鸣般的掌声那样让人发蒙---直到一声枪响。

The Bright Eyes

 

 

His eyes are still so bright that the crowd sighs and murmurs as Lee Ming is escorted onto the stage with ten other men, dragging his heavy fetters step by step. Although I cannot hear what the crowd is saying, I know. It has always been like that. Ever since he was thirteen and began to perform on stage, he has never failed to arouse such profound admiration for his beauty and especially for his bright eyes. How often I heard the audience exclaim: "What a handsome lad! Look at his eyes. Aren't they like a deer's? Such bright pupils! ..."

"Down with Lee Ming the counter-revolutionary!" The crowd shouts after a slogan leader and draws me back to the execution meeting. Lee Ming is trying to hold his head up while the escort behind him pushes it down time and time again. I am shocked that the crowd's admiration can turn into anger so quickly.

"Let me announce this political criminal's counter-revolutionary activities." Holding a piece of paper so close to his dim-sighted eyes that his nose almost touches it, the director of the revolutionary committee is speaking, "Lee Ming, age twenty-five, born in Shanghai, has committed the following crimes: He secretly listened to the broadcast of our class enemy many times and praised the decadent music of feudalistic Europe and imperialistic America such as Beidorfen (Beethoven) and Bornstan (Bernstein)."

A spark of contempt escapes Lee Ming's eyes. It's quite swift, but I see it and know what it's for. I am familiar with the sparks in his eyes. They can be merry, naughty, contemptuous, or angry. His eyes are so expressive that any fool can understand what they mean. Feelings simply run out of his eyes and sometimes annoy some people who cannot put up with his contempt for their stupidity. Those of us who are close to Lee Ming know that he doesn't mean to hurt anyone. He just cannot help his eyes, which seem to have an independent life and often speak when his lips are not moving. This is his vocation. I believe he probably would make a better actor than a violinist. Not that he does not play well, but his acting is better. Once his e-string broke right before the final harmonic when he was playing a melancholy duet with a cellist. He did not stop. His hand and fingers continued to move. At the same time, he threw such a glance of pity and sorrow at the cellist. The regret the harmonic is supposed to convey was so perfectly expressed that honestly, I did not realize no sound was produced although I was sitting in the front row.

"Lee Ming openly sang a different tune from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. He played the feudalistic and petit-bourgeois music privately when it was banned and criticized." The director goes on.

"Openly" and "privately!" What logic! "Feudalistic and petit-bourgeois," you'd better make up your mind first! But the crowd does not seem to mind. It shouts slogans again: "The opponents to the Cultural Revolution will come to no good end! ..."

This is true. Political criminals nowadays are more than common criminals in the prison where I work. A slip of tongue or an accidental gesture indecent to Chairman Mao's picture can put a decent person behind bars. Lee Ming's crime was not even so serious to begin with.

It happened at my home six years ago when I was assigned to be a prison guard in Shanghai. All my close friends came to my home to celebrate my good luck. I felt rather uneasy because they were all assigned to be farm workers, and they were going to leave Shanghai soon for the cold and remote state farm in Manchuria. After we had finished the rationed beer and cigarettes, we started to sing the forbidden songs, "The Little White Boat," "The Vast Green Grassland," and the like, which were composed before the Cultural Revolution. By then the Cultural Revolution had been going on for three years. We were bored by the revolutionary songs and slogans, if nothing else, and the old songs that we had learned before the revolution were much more appealing.

After we had hummed those songs, someone asked Lee Ming to play the cadenza of the violin concerto "Butterfly Lovers." We all urged him, for that was the piece he played in his debut, which won him instant fame. I took out my violin. What a shame! I began to learn violin together with Lee Ming from the same teacher. My violin is covered with dark brown streaks like a tiger's hide and sounds much better than Lee Ming's, but I was able to use it publicly only a few times in the school orchestra. I handed it to him. He gave me a smiling glimpse and said, "Actually I always wanted to play it." I understood that "it" meant my violin more than the cadenza. He put a mute on the bridge of the violin and started to play. "Play" is not the right word. He put his heart and soul into the music and made it come alive. I closed my eyes and saw the lovers Liang and Zhu transfigure into butterflies after their tragic death and fly out of their grave to dance among the nodding flowers and to flutter in the gentle breeze of the beautiful imaginary world... A long silence followed the coda of the cadenza. Tears filled my eyes, and all my friends seemed to be in tears, too, although I could not see clearly. We were not particularly sentimental, but like the Butterfly Lovers, we also could not realize our dreams in this world.

"I'd rather die if this were death." Lee Ming said with a sigh, "but you never know if death would be really better. That's the rub." We talked about the concerto, and everybody agreed that it was the best piece we Chinese had ever composed.

"It's even politically correct," one of us said, "for it's anti-feudalism."

"And it's based on the folklore," another said, "so it's people's art. There should be no reason whatsoever to ban it..."

"Why do you think the folklore makes the lovers change into butterflies, not anything else?" Lee Ming asked. Some said that nothing was more beautiful than butterflies. Some mentioned the Greek myth of Psyche and Eros. We discussed and debated and gave all sorts of reasons.

"What you've suggested is all reasonable except the Greek myth, which we couldn't possibly know in East Han dynasty (25-220 AD) when the folklore first appeared." Lee Ming finally said, "I think the transfiguration has to do with the dream of the philosopher Chuangcius. Don't you remember he once dreamed he was a butterfly flying in the air? When he woke up, he was not sure if he was a man who had dreamed of the butterfly or he was a man who lived only in the dream of the butterfly. He was not sure which was the real world, the one he lived in or the one beyond his life." Lee Ming stood up in excitement and waved his right hand up and down, "The folklore, I believe, takes the transfiguration from the well-known dream to imply that the other world is more real and eternal, to condemn and contemn the evil and falsehood of this world." His pupils shone with vigor and enthusiasm, and gave off a contagious strength of belief. How could I have known that these words of his would be used to sign his death warrant?

"Not only did he play the old reactionary music, but he also used the music to attack our socialist country, to defile the Cultural Revolution launched by our great leader Chairman Mao, and to oppose the great and glorious communist party." The director continues to enumerate Lee Ming's crimes.

"Bullshit! Your son managed to stay in Shanghai. That's the crime!" I roar soundlessly. Yes, his son Wang Peng was among us that evening. He also praised the music. Mao knows what he told his father! Anyway, he did not go to the state farm but stayed to testify against Lee Ming's "crime." They both remained in Shanghai, one behind bars, another behind a desk to "make revolution." Moreover, I suspect, there's some more vicious foul play in Lee Ming's case.

"Lee Ming is an incorrigibly obstinate counter-revolutionary." His turbid eyes narrowing behind his thick glasses, the director goes on to read the committee’s verdict. "He has refused to be remolded. He has written seven letters of complaint and appeal, but not a single piece of self-criticism."

Lee Ming is stubborn indeed. Otherwise, he would have been free. The more he complained and appealed, the longer he was kept in prison. I explained everything to him and tried to persuade him to write a self-criticism, but he simply would not listen. Alas, if only he had yielded before the news came! News that is a blessing to everyone except him. The radio announcer so proudly reported the great revolutionary achievement: "Under the wise leadership of our great teacher Chairman Mao and the correct guidance of our glorious communist party, Shanghai medical workers have successfully transplanted human corneas, making China the only country that is capable of such an advanced medical operation besides the United States of America."

"What a boast!" I said to Lee Ming, "the cornea graft is not that advanced a medical operation. It's been done in many countries. Even if it could be done only in China and America, I wondered under whose wise leadership and correct guidance America made the same achievement, Nixon's?"

"Come on, don't be so cynical." Lee Ming said, "It is good news, after all. We don't have so many things to be proud of nowadays." We chatted about it, and I even joked that he should donate the corneas of his bright eyes if he would die young in a traffic accident or something like that.

Soon after, I was ordered to move Lee Ming to a single cell and to give him special food, which was much better than before: Pork, beef, fish, vegetables, plus rice and soup. Never before was a prisoner ever treated so well. And the dishes were cooked so well that I could not resist tasting a little every time I delivered the meal to him. Moreover, carrot juice was constantly provided for him to drink. Needless to say, I helped myself as well. We wondered about the special treatment but did not connect it with the medical achievement. We never suspected until a week ago when the committee director came to stare at Lee Ming with the turbid, dim-sighted eyes. He grinned and left.

I was ordered to cuff Lee Ming's hands behind his back and to feed him well, if necessary, by force. "Why?" he asked me, "Tell me everything you know!"

"All I know," I told him, "is to take good care of your health." As expected, Lee Ming started a hunger strike. I pleaded, "Don't force me. I am your friend. I don't want to hurt you. You know it's useless. They'll send another prison guard, and we two shall manage to force the food down your throat. You know that. Don't force me, please. I would hate to do that."

Fire burned in his pupils, but oddly enough, he resumed eating and drinking. But he ate mechanically, without any relish. I knew that he ate only for me. That was the most painful week for both of us. He just sat there on the floor gazing at the ceiling. His eyes were bright as usual but motionless. For the first time I did not understand his eyes. Was he in despair? Was he meditating? His eyes were not telling anymore. I had to feed him spoon by spoon three times a day like feeding a Peking duck to be killed and roasted. I tried to talk with him as we had done every day of these six years, but he would not say a word, not a single word, until last night when I told him about the execution. His numbness did not change at all, but slowly and clearly he dictated his will to me and made sure that I memorized it.

It is the most unusual will I have ever known. He did not mention any of his personal property, nor did he mention any friends and relations. He said:

I heard that a musk deer, when fatally wounded by a hunter, always tries to bite its own musk off the navel and swallows it before the hunter finds the deer. Some say the deer swallows its musk in hope of healing the wound. Some say the deer simply does not want the hunter to get its musk. I prefer to believe the latter. Somehow, the deer must know what the hunter is after. Instinctively, the deer bites off and swallows its musk, which, of course, will not save the deer's life but will defeat the hunter's ambition, so that other musk deer will have a better chance to survive in the future. It is the desire for life, not necessarily for the deer's own life, but for the survival of the deer species.

He mentions nobody, I believe, because he knows that he's a "counter-revolutionary," and he does not want to involve anybody in trouble, but what exactly does he mean by such a will? What is he going to do?

"On behalf of the revolutionary committee," the director raises his voice, "I pronounce hereby the sentence on Lee Ming the counter-revolutionary. He is deprived of all political rights and sentenced to death, which is to be executed immediately."

The crowd is shocked by such a severe sentence. When the slogan leader shouts, "Death to Lee Ming the counter-revolutionary!" the masses do not follow as vehemently as before. Lee Ming again lifts his head, and two streaks of indignant lightning flash from his eyes before the escort pushes his head down.

Now the director is announcing the crimes of the second man, who is a rapist of five women and two young girls. When his sentence of death is pronounced, he collapses. The escorts have to lift him up and support him during the rest of the meeting. The same thing happens to the third criminal, who is a grafter of over ten thousand dollars. All the time, Lee Ming lifts his head again and again. The lightning flashes across the crowd on and on.

The other eight men have received different years of imprisonment for their "political crimes," and the meeting ends with slogan-shouting as the criminals are escorted off the stage. The grafter and the rapist are carried down since they are paralyzed with fear. Lee Ming drags the heavy fetters step by step, making a harsh noise that cuts me right to the heart. Is this the way my friend, a talented violinist, will end his life? Do I have to witness it all? And to take back the cuffs and fetters!

The more unbearable thing is the thought that part of his eyes will continue to live, to shine, in those evil sockets. How I wish the medical operation will not succeed! Then again, it may as well succeed. The bright eyes will burn the ugly head! I curse. Each time the director looks at himself in the mirror, the pupils will throw darts and daggers at him. Each time his son looks at him in the eye, he will see a piercing accusation. That is, if they have any conscience at all. But are they human beings? Do they have souls? They are beasts! No, don't wrong animals. Animals are better. Only human beings can be so evil! But then again, only human beings can be so noble! Look at Lee Ming. He is walking with his head high, with his pupils shining like a deer's.

A deer will bite off its musk, but what can he do? He is so fettered that he can't run away. He is so cuffed that he can't even eat without another's help. He can't do anything at all. He is more helpless than a deer. We get him in a police van. He is being transported to the execution ground to be shot to death. And then, they can do anything with his body, with his eyes. Cruel humanity! I hate you! I hate myself, too. I haven't done anything for him, either. Can I do anything? Can I save him? I don't see any possibilities. The escort has a gun. I only have the keys to the cuffs and fetters. Even if I had the gun, would I dare to use it to save my friend? No, I am just another coward. I am even worse than the crowd. They don't know the whole truth. I know everything, and yet I would not do anything. Oh, I hate myself! For the first time in my life I really hate myself. Why wouldn't I do what I know is right? Why wouldn't my body work along with my soul? Surely, the director too must know what is right in the bottom of his heart. It's just that his body doesn't work along with his soul. What is the difference between us? No. The difference is by degree not by nature. We are both evil. Evil is ego. It's as simple as that!

The police van stops. We get out of its back door. The sun shines so brilliantly that it takes a while before I can see properly. The blue sky, the fleecy clouds, the yellow water of the Yangtze river, the green trees along the bank... a white van with a red cross near the execution ground!

So it is true! They will take Lee Ming's eyes immediately after the execution.

Lee Ming walks at the head. The escort holds him by the collar and follows closely. I walk beside the escort feeling an emptiness in my head and a lump in my throat. The rapist and the grafter are carried by four escorts, who are out of breath dragging the criminals behind us. Lee Ming's steps are slow and steady. We get near the ground. The director of the revolutionary committee is talking with a doctor by the ambulance.

Lee Ming dashes forward, as if he were trying to run away. The escort instinctively pulls him hard backward. He falls on his back so violently that his feet are raised swinging the heavy fetters over his head. The escort dodges, but the fetters hit him on the shoulder. He leans on me, more scared than hurt. Meanwhile, Lee Ming is trying to get his hands across his bottom. I hold the escort, pretending to look after him. This is the least I can do, Lee Ming. Do whatever you have to do, quickly! He jerks as a fish jumps. Now his hands have moved over his calves. He has completely doubled himself on the ground, but his cuffs get stuck on his heels. Angry desperation gushes from his eyes, which shout to me, "Help!" Spontaneously my right hand reaches out and gives his hand a pull. His hands scrape across his feet and fall straight upon his eyes! Next moment, he puts his eyeballs into his mouth.

I pull him to his feet. He bursts into a mixture of a painful shout and a victorious laugh. Blood streaks his face. But he presses forward as if he could see as usual. He holds his head high to the sky and keeps shouting and laughing. I don't know if it is the bright sun or my bitter tear that blinds me. I half follow and half direct him to the execution ground. I don't know if it is the wind or the ringing in my ears that makes the sound of applause. I see almost nothing, and I hear nothing else until the gun cracks.

不速之客

绿叶

“杨华先僧!杨华先僧!杨华先僧住这里吗?”华杨正与妻子缱绻缠绵,屋外炸雷般的吼叫和打门声让他一激灵。他赶忙答应一声,跳起身来,登上短裤,下床就去开门。

华杨并没有听出来是谁在叫喊,但他知道是在叫自己。他在英国留学两年,总是被约翰牛倒过来叫他的名字。反正“华”啊“杨”啊都可以当姓,就连一些华裔同胞都经常弄混,他也无所谓,还以莎翁那句名言自慰:“名字有什么?我们称之为玫瑰的那种花,叫什么还不是一样芬芳?”他急忙答应,是想让那叫喊停下来。他住在教工楼,一层三家,墙壁薄,快半夜了,吼声那么大,死人都得吓醒了,他真怕吵醒儿子,也怕影响邻居。

开门一探头,原来是小贾。一年多没见面了,华杨一激动,光着膀子就出门,拥抱了小贾,但还是没忘记压着嗓子:“哇!是你啊!什么时候来北京的?怎么也没打声招呼?”

小贾仍旧旁若无人地大叫着:“好久不见了!你把我忘了吧?怎么也不回信?我告诉你七月初要来嘛。让我好找!”

“是吗?我没收到信啊。快进屋吧。不好意思,我没穿上衣。”

“嗨,没关系,天气热,我在香港也经常光膀机。”

关上房门,华杨的热情才透过压低的嗓音冒出来:“欢迎,欢迎!什么时候到的?还没吃饭吧?”

“系啊,今天晚上刚到,连饭都没顾上吃,就来找你,还真饿了。”


妻子柳燕穿戴整齐出来了,听说客人还没吃饭,寒暄后就去厨房煮饺子。华杨穿上件T恤衫,给小贾倒了冰镇酸梅汤,坐下聊起来:“一年多不见了,你好吗?还在阿伯丁神学院念书吗?”

“系啊,光系希伯来语、希腊语、拉丁语,就够我念的,毕业还早呢。你怎么样?看你家里这摆设,混得不错嘛!”小贾在香港并非富人。在英国,大家都是穷学生,他不知道华杨的家境本来就不错。如今,见到铺瓷砖的餐室和铺地毯的客厅,小贾颇为吃惊。

“还凑合吧,就是住房太小,今夜得让你睡客厅了。”八七年,在海外拿了文科学位的人还不多。华杨回国才一年就当上英语教研室主任,又是出书,又是拍电视教学片,事业上一帆风顺。留学的生活费虽然不高,但当年大家都省吃俭用,攒下钱回来购置八大件,华杨还为妻儿买了钢琴。那年头,这在中国就算是高水平的生活了。

“没关系,我漂泊惯了,住哪里都形。而且只能住一星期,还要去西安。”

饺子煮好了。小贾真饿了,一袋饺子,风卷残云,转瞬就消失了。“要不要再煮一锅?” 华杨问。


“不必了,我累了,休息吧。”小贾真是惯于漂泊的主儿,躺在沙发床上,不一会儿,便鼾声如雷。

鸳情冲散,春梦难圆,华杨和柳燕久久无眠。妻子问:“他是谁呀?以前没听你说过嘛。”


“小贾是香港人,跟我在英国同年入的学。不同科,也没在一起住过,所以我很少提到他。我们是在联谊会上认识的。他曾劝我入教,倒也没有死缠。虽然志向不同,我们还是有些共同语言,讨论过中国文化的深层结构。他的英语比一般香港人棒多了,文学底子也很丰厚。我以前真不知道神学那么难念。认识小贾后,我才明白为什么过去的僧侣都是精神贵族。”

“我看他没什么贵族气息嘛。半夜三更,那么大喊大叫,连基本礼貌都没有。”

“人家旅行一天,累了。又找不到咱们的住处,着急了呗。”

“这么突然来临,也不够礼貌吧?”

“小贾说把信寄到外语系了,也许是我漏过了。”

清晨,华杨和柳燕轻手轻脚洗漱完毕,叫儿子起床。他一听说有客人,也悄悄的。一家人吃过早饭,听见小贾还在酣然大睡,就把粥、咸菜和油条放在饭桌上,扣在紗罩里,留下房门钥匙和一个字条儿,上班去了。在系里,华杨还真找到了小贾的来信。信封上写着“杨华君 收”,难怪躺那儿好几天了,也没人动。

下午回家,小贾出门还没回来。柳燕冲丈夫抱怨道:“连你名字都记错了,而且只提前这么几天通告你,就跑来住咱们这儿。我觉得他不够礼貌。”

“是有点唐突,” 华杨和着稀泥:“不过,他是学生,假日比较灵活,又要买便宜票什么的,可能不便提前安排。能预先说一声,就不错了。也赖我,没仔细查看信件。今儿晚饭做什么好吃的?我可是吹嘘过你的厨艺啊!”

一提到厨艺,柳燕就来劲了。那是她的嗜好,不仅色香味俱全,而且每次请客,她还要在典雅的花笺上写下菜单。她那一手外秀内刚的欧体可不一般,六四年小学四年级的时候就上过电视。可惜那年头趁电视的人家不多,没有几个知道她的书法。后来就文革了,书不念了,字可是没少写。她帮着抄大字报,无论观点如何,总是吸引一大堆人来观看,直到她自己的父母也受到冲击为止。如今,还有几个人写毛笔字啊?更不用说蝇头小楷了。所以每当宴客之日,也是她展示书法之时。知妻莫若夫,在这类晚餐上,华杨总会巧妙地称赞一番妻子的书法,回忆当年的荣光。随后嘛,当然是颠鸾倒凤、半夜温存。

都七点半了,小贾还没回来。这倒也好,让柳燕有足够的时间准备。儿子一会儿来尝一口。他才五岁,可那小嘴,跟妈学刁了,只要他说好吃,准保没错。谁家孩子不爱吃汉堡包啊?可他,头一次就没吃完,嫌那著名的美国快餐除了盐,没别的味儿。

“妈,今天的菜,都好吃!”

“真的?你这小刁嘴,什么时候变成小甜嘴了?是饿的吧?”

“嗯,”儿子哼了一声,肚子也跟着回响。

“再等会儿,等叔叔回来了,大家一块儿吃。”

“要是不回来呢?”

“八点开饭。好了吧?尝尝这狮子头,怎么样?”

儿子一口气儿把那大丸子吞下去,不吭声了。还好,不到八点,小贾回来了。看着那一满桌饭菜,小贾乐了,手都没顾上洗,就坐了下来。华杨也饿了,一屁股坐下,就抄起了筷子,夹起一块粉蒸肉,放到小贾碗里,又夹起一块,直奔嘴里送去。

“等一等,我们还没有祷告。大家都坐下,让我来谢餐。”小贾微合双目,略低下头,熟练地说道:“主啊!我感谢你,让我们在启欢快地聚会。

我感谢你,赏气我们这一桌丰盛的晚餐。我感谢你,使我离家千里,仍有朋友,共同度过这幸福的时光。主啊!我感谢你的恩惠。阿门!”

华杨跟着“阿门”了一下,柳燕和儿子没作声。这严肃的气氛让华杨夫妇语塞,大家闷头吃起来。只听筷子噼啪,咀嚼唧吧,让华杨生平第一次想到吃饭时交谈也许是为了掩盖难听的声音。他想说点什么,一时找不到话题,便拿起妻子精心书写的菜单边说边念:“今晚的荤菜是云南汽锅鸡、四川豆豉鱼、荷叶粉蒸肉、红烧狮子头,素菜有干煸四季豆、开水白菜心、雪菜炒毛豆、水晶冬瓜球。哇,这简直是一首五言诗嘛!落款写的是什么?戎辰年六月初七。”

“戊辰年,”柳燕纠正道:“还大学老师呢,不定怎么误人子弟呢!”

“唉,咱不是教英语的吗?这古文功夫欠缺点儿,也不会露怯。再说了,现在谁还用农历呀?六月初七,今天不是七月二十吗?”华杨把菜单递给小贾,希望他会欣赏这书法。

“农历嘛,”柳燕解释:“总不能写上阳历的月份和日子吧?”

“你们还这么保守!”小贾一眼也没看,就把菜单扔到一旁,激昂地说:“基督教不仅给我们带来了永系福音,也为现世生活带来很多方便,线性历法就系一个很好的例几。否则,我们还要用循环历法,很多人连济己多少岁都算不清楚。”

“历法改革可是凯撒的功劳,”华杨喜欢争辩,对客人也不客气:“那年头儿罗马还没有接纳基督教呢。”

“历法改革不是格利高里领导的吗?他系16世纪末第13世教宗。”

“不错,”华杨解释:“但他的改革是基于儒略历,那是一位希腊天文学家制定的,是凯撒首先在罗马实施的。”

“无论如何,”小贾坚持道:“基督教对我们今天所用的日历有很大贡献,比农历准确多了。”

“那倒是。不过农历也有农历的用处,能指导老百姓种庄稼,不像我们,只是用来增添些古趣。”

“你对基督教的认识有什么进展?还没有皈依吗?”小贾关切地问道。

“基督教是西方文明的两大摇篮之一,我教英文,当然需要熟悉《圣经》和有关文献。我也赞同基督教的许多原则,但我不相信,九天之上有个人格化的神灵,关注并主宰我们的一举一动。”


    “道成肉身、三位一体有非常深刻的内涵,”小贾挥动右手,好像在对许多人讲演:“绝非一般意义上的神灵人格化。许多学者著书立说专门讨论这个问题,我也做过很多研究,正在写一篇相关的论文,梳理从奥古斯丁以来各派的主要论点,并提出即己的见解……”

“我说你们吃饱了是不是?”柳燕埋怨:“净顾了说,菜都凉了。要不要我回锅热热?”

“不用,”小贾说。

“还是热热吧,”华杨知道妻子多么珍视自己的作品,菜一凉,味道就差多了。

“你看,中国人就知道七,就会关心身体,不在乎灵魂。”小贾肆无忌惮地发表起褒洋贬中的宏论:“还记得孙隆基的那本书《中国文化的深层结构》吧?中国文化就系口腔文化,肠胃文化,从来不关心大脑和灵魂。中国的餐馆最多,教堂最少,连香港也不例外。而在西方,饭厅是一个交流的场所,七的意义远不如说,人们注重的系精神食粮……”物质食粮的渣滓从小贾嘴里四下喷飞,华杨见柳燕转脸走开,知道今晚的好事砸了。

入夜,华杨轻吻妻子的后脖颈。好一阵,她才转过脸来,愤愤地说:“你这朋友怎么这样啊?咱们见过不少基督徒,都挺谦和的,谁像他这德行?明儿晚上你带他出去吃吧,我可不想关心他的身体,让咱们儿子挨饿,还让人瞧不起。什么不在乎灵魂?好像别人都没有精神!”

“好啦,他是有口无心,泛泛而谈,肯定不是说咱们。”

“说中国老百姓也不行。我们都是中国人,骂大家就是骂我们。再说了,对我个人,他也毫无礼貌。我辛苦半天,他感谢上帝。噢,因为信教,他就高人一等啦?还带领谢餐,好像他是主人。”

“哎呀,那不是他的习惯吗。我想他不是有意作出那自大的样子。”

“哼,他已经习惯那种自大,那种自以为是了,根本意识不到那有什么不恰当。要是一个回教徒去他家做客,到点儿了就铺下毯子,要他跟着一起冲北朝拜,他会怎么想?”

“哈哈,那他们非掐起来不可。信教的不能容纳信教的。咱们不是不信教嘛,应该比他们宽容点儿吧?”

柳燕“噗哧”一声,笑道:“就你会说,油嘴滑舌。”

第二天早晨,小贾照旧是酣然大睡。华杨一家又是“悄悄地进村,打枪的不要。”下午回来,柳燕做了家常饭,跟儿子先吃了。不到七点,小贾也回来了。华杨带他到本校的餐厅“乐群食堂”去吃饭。也不知从什么时候起,北京的标牌都喜欢加上拼音,可能是为了帮助老外。在启功那么漂亮的四个大字底下,lequnshitang 熠熠生辉。让老外一念,麻烦了,成了latrine shit on (茅房,拉吧,您哪)。华杨给小贾讲了这笑话,可他好像没听懂,一笑没笑。

吃着饭,华杨问他这一天去哪儿了,小贾说去了故宫,看到那么多龙的形象,感到恶心。“我的心情很沉重,”他叹了口气说:“龙系邪恶的象征,系 Lucifer,系撒旦。那些皇宫里,到处都系龙,难怪西方人认为中国系魔鬼的王国,我心里堵得慌,脑子里飘动着恶龙,回来的路上,头晕得几乎要吐。”

“你不能这样想啊!” 华杨愤然道:“西方人认为龙是邪恶的,我们也非得认同不可吗?在咱们的文化中,龙和其它动物一样,有邪恶的,也有善良的。凭什么以他们的观念为标准呀?再说了,西方的 dragon 和东方的龙也不一样啊,咱们的龙没有翅膀,只不过在翻译中把它们等同起来了。就像这餐厅一样,叫‘乐群’,它也不是 latrine(茅房)嘛。”

“如果系翻译错误,还让我感觉好一点。可龙的确很像dragon,难怪英法联军要火烧圆明园。他们看到那些龙,肯定觉得中国的皇宫系魔鬼的老巢。”

“什么?”华杨听不下去了:“火烧圆明园的账要算到我们头上?岂有此理!那些强盗怎么想,我不知道,但他们看着不顺眼,也不能成为毁害文明的理由啊!连西方的有识之士都谴责了英法联军的暴行。你怎么竟然为他们找理由,反过来指责我们自己!”

“你不要激动嘛,”小贾慢悠悠地答道:“我不系指责,我系在分析原因。算账有什么用?你也不能找人家索赔。找到原因,避免悲剧重演,才有意义。”

“无论如何,文化差异也不能成为侵略他国,毁坏文物的正当理由。”

“缩小文化差异,互相理解,就会减少武装冲突啦。如果中国人都成为基督徒,世界大同就不远了,世界和平就来临了。”

“比如洪秀全的太平天国?”华杨讽刺道。

“洪秀全系个假基督。他曲解《圣经》,大谋私利,嫔妃无数,还自称系耶稣的兄弟,第二次降临什么的,来普救众生,简直恬不知耻!”

“那又如何证明谁是真基督?哪个第二次降临是真的?何况还有默罕默德?回教徒可都认为他是安拉之子,耶稣的兄弟。”

“那都系胡扯!”小贾不屑一顾地摆摆手:“所以我要研究神学,基督教系解救人类的唯一途径。”

看着小贾那副自以为是的样子,华杨又好气,又好笑。他忍不住挑战道:“你的意思是说,只有《圣经》是真理,其它宗教经卷,《可兰经》、《金刚经》什么的都说得不对,是吗?”

“那当然了。”

“为什么?”

“因为只有《圣经》系上帝通过人的手写出来的。”

“你怎么知道的?你怎么知道其它经卷就不是神明通过人的手写出来的?”

“这系我的信仰。我能感到它的真实。如果你也信了,你就明白了。”

“我尊重你的信仰,”华杨诚恳地说:“我也尊重一位回教徒朋友的信仰。你们都是好人,但为什么你们就不肯相互尊重对方的信仰呢?为什么你们都认为只是自己掌握了绝对真理,别人都误入歧途了?如果信教就排他,就自以为是,就蔑视他人,那不是违背了最根本的教义吗?基督教的根本也是爱人,对吗?”

“系爱神,”小贾纠正道。

“爱神不是抽象的,是通过爱人来体现的,不是吗?”

“也许系,也许不系。这涉及救赎方戏的问题。基督教有两大派,或系靠善行,或系靠恩典。我认为靠恩典获得救赎才系正途。”

“为什么?”

“因为富人做善戏可能做得多些,而穷人可能无力为善,但只要心存善念,接受基督的恩典,无论你做多少善戏,无论你有没有能力或时间做善戏,你都可以获得救赎。”

“所以一个歹徒只要皈依了基督教,无论他一生做了多少坏事,杀了多少人,只要在临死前忏悔了,他的灵魂就可以获得救赎,就可以得到永生,是吗?”

“系的,”小贾点点头。

“所以有些人星期天忏悔了,星期一就又可以踢猫踹狗,奸淫偷盗,只要他下星期天再次忏悔就万事大吉了?”

“你这系故意狡辩,”小贾的白脸气红了。

“我是按照你的原则推演,也是描述一些人的心理和行为。再说了,上帝那么万能,难道算不出谁的善行相对更多、更大吗?耶稣不是称赞过一位寡妇少而可贵的捐献吗?你说过,上帝就像无比巨大的电脑,什么都看在眼里,记在心中,为什么不能依据一个人的善行来决定他是否应该得到救赎?难道只凭他声称爱神,却没有任何爱的行动,没有帮助过任何人,没有对人类社会做出任何贡献,他就可以获得救赎?”

“无论如何,要想获得救赎,让灵魂永远享受喜乐,首先要接受上帝的恩典,”小贾激动地大声宣讲起来:“耶稣基督牺牲了计己的肉身,钉洗在十字架上,就是为了拯救人类,你只要相信这一点,接受基督教,就会获得救赎。基督把这么好的福音带给我们,让我们这么容易就能够得到永生,这系多么宝贵的礼物啊!你为什么就不肯接受呢?”小贾伸出双手,好像捧着个宝贝送到华杨面前。


    “我无法相信那些神迹,我感受不到你说的恩典,我不能欺骗自己。如果真有上帝,他也不能允许我撒谎,不能允许我假意承认我没有感受到的恩典吧?”

“那当然,”小贾安静些了,又认真地劝道:“你应该多读《圣经》,不要带着学者的态度,要谦卑、恭顺地接受。”

“像文革中学毛著那样?”

“你又来了,”小贾责备道:“不过,要是真像学毛著那样,你可能就读懂《圣经》了。”

“那我宁可不懂。我不相信世界上只有一本书讲的是真理。再说了,《圣经》是什么?那不是当权者从众多福音书里挑出来一些经卷定的稿吗?你应该比我清楚,那不也是人选定的吗?他们凭什么说那些没选上的经卷就不是上帝通过人的手写的?《圣经》矛盾百出,耶稣的身世都不全。《圣婴福音》倒是更全面描述了的耶稣,反映了他的成长过程,却没有收入《圣经》。”

“《古兰经》里那些异端邪说你可不能信,”小贾又激动了。

“看来你也读过嘛。怕什么,掌握了真理,难道还惧怕邪教?”

“我当然不怕,我系不想让你浪费时间。”

“不做比较,怎么知道什么对,什么错?基督教认为骄傲是七宗罪之一,如果你认为只有你掌握了真理,只有你的《圣经》是真理,这是不是骄傲呢?”

“唉,你没有感知,你不懂我们的喜乐!”小贾无奈地感叹。

“也许是我冥顽不化,”华杨苦笑了一下说:“但我不能欺骗自己,你也无法在道理上说服我。”

“信仰不系讲理,信仰超越逻辑。”

“这个我懂,是谁说的来着?”华杨问:“‘因为我不知道,所以我相信。’”

“我也忘了,但的确系这样。看来你什么都懂,”小贾做了结论:“就系没有悟性。”

回到家都快十点了,柳燕在哄儿子睡觉,没出来。华杨进里屋后,柳燕问他:“聊什么了?你好像不大高兴。你们没吵架吧?”

“跟他还能聊什么?基督教呗。架倒没吵,但话不投机。”

“那还聊到这么晚才回来!明天他又不起,咱们可还得上班呢。”

“再捱两天他就走了,忍忍吧。”

第三天早晨还是那样,鼾声在客厅里响着,华杨一家轻手轻脚地洗漱、吃饭。柳燕的脸拉长了。下班后很久了,小贾还是没回来。华杨也不等了,和妻子儿子一起吃了饭,给小贾的剩饭剩菜温在锅里。小贾回来后,华杨要备课,打了个招呼,就进里屋了。柳燕给孩子讲故事,随后又哄他睡觉。小贾吃完饭,一个人在客厅里看电视。华杨心里有点不安,觉得把客人凉在那儿不大合适,可他实在不想再跟小贾讨论宗教问题了。小贾直到半夜才睡,电视多少有点吵。华杨也不高兴了,但没说什么。

第四天,儿子因为一直没有得到礼物而不高兴了。通常,来访的客人总会给他个小礼物。华杨哄他:“叔叔给你带礼物来了,好像是个变形金刚。叔叔要看你是不是乖孩子,乖孩子才能得到礼物。”

中午,华杨自己去买了一个变形金刚。下午回来,只见桌上一把钥匙压着个纸条:“悄悄的我走了,正如我悄悄的来;我挥一挥衣袖,不带走一片云彩。”再没有别的话。华杨真生气了,心说:“有这么不辞而别的吗?什么‘正如我悄悄的来’?把邻居都吵醒了。”可是还不能让这情绪影响孩子。晚上,华杨把包好的玩具交给儿子:“这是叔叔从香港给你带来的礼物,咱们看看是什么。”

“擎天柱大哥!擎天柱大哥!”儿子惊喜地欢呼。华杨给他买的这个玩具是电视剧变形金刚家族里的大哥,他最喜爱的人物。

“叔叔夸你是懂事的乖孩子,每天早上都安安静静的,让叔叔好好休息,所以送你这么好的礼物。”

“叔叔真好,谢谢叔叔。”

“叔叔走了,我会写信替你谢谢他的。”

小贾一去,再无消息。没有人再管华杨叫杨华了,也没有人再“悄悄地”来访。很久很久,儿子拿出擎天柱大哥来玩,都会念叨小贾叔叔。

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

华扬瞥了一眼,只见她的书页上画了不少绿杆杆,知道那些是她认为重要的句子,不由得撇了下嘴。巴赫廷Mikhail Bakhtin的狂欢节之说Carnivalesque那么简单,至于画那么多道道吗?女孩子,头发长,见识短。整天打扮得漂漂亮亮的,一发言就说傻话。你当这是开舞会吗?就知道梳理头发!你应该花时间来梳理你的思想,这儿是博士班的课程,就你这水平,怎么混得过去呀?华扬心里暗自说道。

不过,她的头发的确美!金灿灿的,亮得耀眼。尤其当她穿着红毛衣的时候,散开的披肩长发在她左顾右盼时从前胸滑到后背,又从后背滑到前胸,仿佛清风吹雨洒在萨窦纳的红岩上。第一次上课,华扬就因她那金发,她那红毛衣,她那左顾右盼的眸子而神游象外,噢,萨窦纳!在亚利桑娜的荒原上,突兀地长出两个巨大的山包。那次去游览,适逢一片乌云飘来,微风将雨雾婆婆娑娑吹洒下来,被西斜的阳光映照得金晃晃的,第一次让华扬知道什么叫金雨。他伫立在山脚下看呆了,身边没有雨,山顶裸露的暗红色布满皱褶的圆圆的岩石却沐浴在金沙般的雨雾中,让他想到希腊神话中宙斯化为金雨入塔,与妲娜成其好事……“华扬,巴赫廷认为当代的狂欢节和拉伯雷François Rabelais描写的狂欢节有什么不同?”

华扬正在浮想联翩,没有听清楚教授的问题。教授以为他一个外国人,英语不好,没听懂,特意放慢了速度,一字一顿地又问了一遍。华扬的脸红了,似乎受到羞辱一般,他激动地答道:“除了狂欢节这个名称以外,两者几乎没有什么相同之处。巴赫廷认为,与拉伯雷所描写的狂欢节相比,当代的狂欢节徒有其名,只不过把室内的化妆舞会搬到街上去走走,全然没有以前的狂欢节那种颠覆作用:让巴库斯的精神通过葡萄美酒流入每个人的体内,使人们癫狂起来,用奇形怪状的面具和服装掩盖自己的社会地位,把平日的矜持、傲慢、谦卑、恭顺统统抛到一边,无论你是王公贵族,还是仆役农夫,在狂欢节时一律平等,可以不顾平日的规矩和礼节,任意疯癫,把压抑已久的怨气撒放出来,就像今天人们听摇滚乐一样。实际上,摇滚乐才体现了巴赫廷的狂欢节之说……”一连串雄辩的妙语如同泉水一样涌上来,汩汩地流淌。华扬和很多人不同,通常寡言,一碰到挑战,精神就亢奋;一亢奋,就滔滔不绝、出口成章。平时挖空心思也想不出来的话语,这时候自己就突突地朝外涌,仿佛他的机智多半都储存在肾上腺里。

这回答给教授和同学们留下了深刻印象,他们对华扬这么个其貌不扬的留学生开始刮目相看了。也不知是有意,还是无意,每次上课,她都坐在华扬身边。时不时小声问他个问题,都是只言片语就可以回答的简单问题。华扬有问必答,她总是报以甜美的微笑。可华扬却与她保持距离,总是简洁而礼貌地答复她,心中甚至还有点不满,抱怨她打搅了他的宁静和专注。

今天,华扬又情不自禁地偷看她了。她从来不化妆,但总是那么美丽、那么撩人,尤其是她耳垂上的黑痣,比什么耳环都更吸引华扬的目光。她今天并非特别漂亮,而是因为她特别勤快,一边听讲,一边不停地在书页上画着。可惜,教授提到的重点恰恰是她事先没有画过杠杠的段落。一堂课下来,她那本书好几页都差不多完全涂绿了,华扬忍不住“噗嗤”一声笑出来。“笑什么?”她问道。

“瞧你这书页,都绿了。以后我可就叫你绿叶Greenleaves了,叶通页嘛(Leaf also means page)!” 

“好啊!”她满不在乎地答道:“听上去满像绿袖Greensleeves的。”

华扬知道那是一首古老英国民歌里的绝情美人,刚吟了两句歌词,绿叶便接过去,大大方方地唱起来:

哎,我的爱人,你对不住我,           Alas, my love, you do me wrong,

如此无情地把我抛闪在一旁。           To cast me off discourteously.

我爱你爱得那么深那么久,               For I have loved you well and long,

和你在一起我就欢乐无疆。               Delighting in your company.

绿袖啊,你是我的喜悦。                   Greensleeves was all my joy. 

绿袖啊,你是我的宝藏。                   Greensleeves was my delight.

绿袖啊,你是我欢娱的源泉,           Greensleeves was my heart of gold,

绿袖啊,你是我心中唯一的女郎。   And who but my Lady Greensleeves.

歌真是要唱的!华扬的吟诵虽然流畅,但与绿叶的清唱相比太单调了。她唱得真投入,轻重缓急,运用得恰到好处。她的歌喉,说不上甜美,甚至有点儿沙哑,但极具感染力,每个音节都充溢着情感,似乎这支歌是为她写的,尤其是用美音唱出的cast一词,口张得更开,音发得靠前,真比英音更加表现出遭到轻贱的味道。

“你唱得够专业的!” 华扬忍不住赞叹道。

“那当然了,我是专业歌手嘛!”

“是吗?在什么乐团演唱?”

“我自己的乐队,我弹吉他,马修是低音,大卫是鼓手。”

“真的?你们乐队叫什么?” 华扬惊奇地问,他不知道这一班十一个学生中竟有三个音乐家。

“就叫《狂欢节》,所以我们才来听这门课。以后也许要改名为《绿叶》了。”她的音调降下来,仿佛有点伤心,又透着一丝嗲。

“别、别、别,千万别改,别听我瞎扯。” 华扬歉疚地说。

“嗬,你还当真了,绿叶顽皮道:“我也认真了,偏要改!说正经的,你那次讲得好极了。真的,你提到摇滚乐时,我的心一动。可不是嘛!教授越讲,我越觉得他是在发挥你的观点。一年一度的狂欢节,不就是我们每月一次的演唱吗?”绿叶骄傲地宣称。

 “咳,我不过是纸上谈兵,还从来没听过摇滚乐音乐会呢。”

“是嘛?”这回轮到绿叶吃惊了:“那你还没生活过呢!下星期六我们演出,你可一定得来。”

 

 

震耳欲聋的打击乐和嚎叫般的吼唱把学生活动中心的每个角落都塞满了,要不是绿叶拽着华扬,他非逃出去不可。那位披头散发的男歌手不仅声嘶力竭地用嗓子,而且不遗余力地扭动、走动、跳动;那么剧烈地运动,华扬觉得他随时都可能把他上下翻飞的吉他摔碎。台下的疯狂一点不亚于台上,人们都跟着扭,拍巴掌,跺脚,随着歌手一道唱啊、吼啊。这哪里是欣赏音乐?简直是发泄,撒酒疯,歇斯底里!

“你快活吗?” 绿叶的嘴贴着华扬的耳朵大声问道。

“快活?我都快震死了!”

“哈!哈!哈!” 绿叶开心地笑道:“你会死而复生的。这可比性还棒!”

华扬的嘴角动了动,没说什么。

“我该走了,”绿叶嚷道:“再过两个就该我们了。你在这儿等我。”

在舞台的强光下,华扬才看见绿叶的金发染青了两缕;松松垮垮的黑毛衣几乎盖住了臀部,她那紧绷绷的牛仔裤膝盖那儿还破了。往日教室里的淑女风姿全然不见,今晚她整个儿一个流浪女模样。演唱前,她对大家说:“这学期我们选了门文艺批评理论课,其中包括巴赫廷。你们知道他说什么吗?对了,狂欢节的学说!这一个月来,我们尽在教室里讨论狂欢节了。我告诉你们说吧,真没劲!今儿晚上,咱们玩真的,一块儿庆祝狂欢节!”

顿时,欢呼声、口哨声响成一片。绿叶当心一划,四弦齐鸣,声若裂帛。那气派,不让须眉。众人安静下来。马修弹拨了几声低音提琴,大卫的鼓跟着敲响,声音不是很大,好像在孕育着什么,绿叶弹起吉他,轮指娴熟,琶声犹如溪水冲击鹅卵石般流淌出来……华扬闭上眼睛,恍惚中仿佛在听塞高维亚演奏西班牙小夜曲。嗯,这还差不多,要是能坐下就好了。刚想到这儿,鼓点急促起来,绿叶开口了:“你哟——”这一嗓子,持续了足有半分钟,由低到高,最后直挺挺地停留在降E大调上,惊涛裂岸般,简直把人的灵魂都喊出来了。人们沸腾了,跟着嚎起来。绿叶又唱:“我要你哟!”这是短促有力的一句,犹如刀切斧剁,大家也跟着唱道:“我要你哟!”两三个回合后,绿叶开始摇滚起来,歌声、吉他声、低音提琴和鼓声,还有台下的吼叫应和声混为一团。华扬听不大清楚唱的是什么,没关系,反正大家就是在一起宣泄。那气氛、那情绪是一致的,是明白无误的 ,每个人都借着强烈的节奏、疯狂的旋律,敞开心扉、冲消块垒、释放能量。华扬虽然也跟着微微晃动、低声哼唱。但他的心却更沉重了,他无法融入这群快乐的人,这热烈的场面让他感到格外孤独。

数年前,中国一场变故,华扬一家棒打鸳鸯散。他只身来到美国,妻子去了法国,儿子仍在中国,由他父母帮助照管。妻与子都想来美国,申请过,都遭到拒签。三年了,华扬和妻子每天相互写日记信,每个周末给儿子打越洋电话。华扬感到儿子越来越需要父亲,妻子却与他渐行渐远。近来信疏了,电话打过去,半夜了,却找不到人;华扬想象着各种可能性。对妻子往日千般妩媚的回忆曾帮助他度过那么多难眠的夜晚,如今,这回忆却让他失眠、愤怒,恨不得杀死各种假想的情敌。有一次在高速公路上骑摩托车时,他甚至想到,索性往左边一拐,撞上那辆大卡车结束这痛苦的生活算了,兴许还能从保险公司给儿子赚来一笔赔偿。

“哈,你在这儿!”绿叶突然冒了出来。

“你可回来了!我的耳膜都快破了,我要走了。”

“我跟你走。”

华扬提议去酒吧,他以为这是摇滚乐的传统。再说了,绿叶辛辛苦苦唱一气,应该犒劳犒劳。以听众的反应来看,她演唱得很成功,也该庆贺一番。但绿叶要华扬送她回家。绿叶一跨上华扬那辆本田金翅的后座,就自自然然地搂住他的腰,丰满的胸部贴在他宽阔的后背上,他的心跳开始加快了。三年了,华扬从来没有如此接近过女性。不是他没有机会,但他总觉得在那种情况下一家分为三处,如果他跟别的女人有染,就是不可饶恕的背叛。随着摩托车的颠簸,绿叶的乳房在他背上一轻一重地挤压、揉搓着。华扬觉得喉咙干燥,他想开快些,颠簸大些,更明显地感受绿叶柔软的前胸,又不想早些到她家,结束这亲密的接触。他多么希望这条路永远也走不到头,就这样载着绿叶,一直开下去……

“就是这所房子,门口亮灯的。对,可以停在这儿。进来坐会儿,好吗?你不是说要庆祝吗?我有啤酒。”

理智告诉华扬该说晚安了,但他身不由己地跟着绿叶进了那间小房子。

“喝什么?海纳肯还是黑啤?我就有这两种。”

“黑啤。”

“正好,黑啤太冲,我不喝,也没有别人喝。”

“那你买它干嘛?”

“不是我买的,是我前任男友买的。”

“为什么分手?”

“同样的老故事,”绿叶耸了耸肩:“他想控制我。我是一只自由鸟,谁也休想抓到手!”说着,绿叶唱起《卡门》里的哈巴涅拉,伸手拉着华扬在狭小的客厅里一边唱着,一边跳起探戈。歌舞结束,他们同时立定;面对面,很近,很近,绿叶明亮的眼睛迷茫了,她合上双眼。华扬轻轻地亲吻她那长长的睫毛覆盖的眼帘。绿叶扬起脸,没有涂口红的嘴唇微微颤抖着,微微开启了。华扬低下头,亲吻那鲜艳的橘瓣,他感到湿润、温热的舌尖在他唇间游走。他的嘴唇也张开了,迎接着绿叶的热吻……一股电流冲上脑门,令华扬晕眩:“噢,咪咪!”他不由自主地叫出了妻子的小名。

“谁是咪咪?”

“我妻子。”

“我知道你是结了婚的,可是她不在这里。”

“对,我们三年没见面了,可我还是习惯地叫出了她的名字,对不起。”

“没事儿,我以前也老叫初恋情人的名字。我懂,那不是故意的。给我讲讲你妻子吧!” 绿叶拉着华扬在双人沙发上坐下,她自己像小猫一样舒舒服服地蜷缩在旁边,把头枕在华扬怀里。

华扬告诉她自己如何在十七岁时与咪咪相爱,十年后结婚,婚后两年生子,几年前,家分三处……

“哇,原来是这样!怪不得你总带着一丝忧郁。你就没找个伴儿吗?”

“没有,我从来没做过对不起她的事。”这句话刚一出口,华扬就觉得不对劲。

“有什么对不起的?”绿叶并没有不悦,但是认真地辩道:“你这样也太有违自然了。我们还以为你清高,看不起人呢。谁知道你有这么多苦楚!”

她坐起身来,搂着华扬的脖子,亲吻着。华扬大恸,他感到绿叶的关爱,抱紧了这善良的姑娘,深深地长久地吻她。他们的呼吸急促起来,绿叶的胸脯起伏着,越来越紧地压在华扬身上。她把大毛衣从头上一把撩出去,甩在地上,掺杂着两缕青色的一头金发纷乱地散落在深红色的亵衣和雪白的肩头上。华扬惊艳道:“你好美呀!”怜香惜玉地用手背轻触她的肌肤,用手指梳理她的头发,低沉地感叹:“我的女神,你真美啊!你的皮肤像缎子一样光滑!”

“你的呢?让我也感受你的。”他们互相帮助脱下衣服,火热的上身紧紧地贴在一起、摩挲着、挤压着。华扬含吻了绿叶带黑痣的耳垂,把她推开一点,把头埋在她胸前。绿叶开始呻吟了,一手抚摸着华扬的后背,一手插入他浓密的头发,把他的头更紧地挤在自己的胸前,堵住了他的鼻翅,几乎使他窒息。终于,华扬移开头颅,大口地喘着气,他抱起绿叶,走入卧室,把她轻轻放在床上。可是华扬不举。绿叶伏下身去,“不!”华扬把她拉起来:“没有用,我需要时间,需要熟悉你。新婚之夜,我也没有做成。”

“什么?你对妻子难道还不熟悉吗?”绿叶不解道:“别跟我说你们相爱十年都没上过床,一直等到结婚!”

“真的没有,不骗你!回想起来,我们也太傻了,耽误了多少大好时光啊!可我们那代人,都那样。”

“那,多久以后你才熟悉你妻子了?” 绿叶顽皮地强调了“熟悉know”这个词,华扬知道她是用圣经里的含义。

“第二天就好了。”

“那好,我等到明天。”

 

 

酣睡醒来,华扬一时不知身在何处。看到身边呼吸均匀的绿叶,他才想起昨夜的经历。天哪!这简直如梦如幻。这是华扬第一次和咪咪以外的女人亲密,奇怪,他心里竟然没有一丝一毫愧疚。这一切发生得那么自然,那么简单,他甚至连想都没有想这有什么不妥。两情相悦,有什么不对吗?碍着第三者什么事了?不,绿叶才是第三者。这对绿叶公道吗?要是咪咪来了,绿叶怎么办?要是咪咪知道了,我们的婚姻岂不就毁了?不让咪咪知道,那我不就得永远生活在谎言中?永远负疚?一向思维清晰的华扬,此刻迷惑了,怎么也理不出头绪来。他跳起身来,去冲了个澡

回来时,只见绿叶半坐在床上,洁白的床单遮挡住她的下体,上身微斜,倚着乳白色的羊皮床头,凝视着华扬。晨光透过白纱窗帘铺洒在她白皙的胴体上,宛如一段古罗马的雕像。华扬走到她身边,愣愣地端详这完美的雕像。绿叶莞然一笑,雕像活了,裴格梅廉雕凿的美女活起来时一定就是这样的!华扬围在腰间的浴巾动了动,绿叶伸手把它拉开,浴巾滑落地上,华扬雄姿勃勃地立在她面前。“你熟悉我了!” 绿叶笑道。

华扬与绿叶交融在一起,世界消失了,他们眼前一片黑暗,冥冥中,似有数颗金星在流曳,把黝黑的苍穹切割成各种不规则的几何图形。两道白烟冉冉升起,飘荡穿行在这些图形之间。渐渐地,白烟弥漫开来,布满天庭,苍穹由黑变灰变白,天亮了。华扬和绿叶活了过来。

“你让我死过去了!”他们俩不约而同地说。交流了一下“死”中所见,他们惊奇地发现刚才各自的经历竟然如此相像!

“以前我只听说过小死,”绿叶娇憨道:“还是法文la petite mort,可从未经历过。”

“我也没有。”

“你们中国话管它叫什么?”

“丢。哈佛大学的汉楠Patrick Hanan教授把它译作spent,可我觉得,还是直译为lost更恰当。刚才我的魂儿好像丢了似的,飘在躯壳外面。”

“准确极了!我觉得那道白烟就是我的灵魂。以前,我要是幸运,最多也就是spent,浑身酥软。今天,我丢了,我的魂儿都出壳儿了!”

“有摇滚乐好吗?”华扬顽皮地问道。

“好多了!你知道吗,摇滚就是从性交动作来的?”

“就是在公众场合演示人类最私密的行为;就是性的升华,庆祝生命最原始的动力;就是狂欢,在庆典中超越一切人类社会造成的差异和隔膜;就是反叛,用粗犷的歌喉、自由的乐曲和狂野的动作来反叛一切权威和经典。”

“我爱的就是你这本事!”绿叶扑到华扬身上,亲吻他的胸膛:“你的英语比我们都好。”

“那怎么可能?我说英语有口音。你别给我灌迷魂汤了,我的魂儿好不容易才回来。”

“我是说你讲的内容。你怎么学会这样讲话的?比我写出来的还精彩。你说的可不是巴赫廷书里的话,你比他讲的棒多了。”

“还不是昨晚跟你们学的。你们是在生活,我只是观察生活,而生活与我擦肩而过。直到昨夜,我才体验了生活。告诉我,你为什么挑了我?”

“中国人,”绿叶挤了下眼睛:“我以前从来没有过。”

“猎奇,是不是?”华扬假装生气了。

“当然不是,”绿叶搡着他的肩头坚决地否认,华扬笑了。

“不过,也有点儿是,”绿叶找补道:“你知道吗?我们都想要你呢。”

“你说的我们是谁?我有什么好的?长得不好看,还比你大十几岁。”

“你脸庞的轮廓很分明,嘴角特迷人,尤其在你滔滔雄辨时。但最迷人的是你的自信、知识和风度,你不知道那有多么性感吗?我第一堂课就爱上你了。可你对我爱答不理的。”绿叶柔软的小拳头捶打着华扬的胸膛。

“你还没回答我,你说的我们是谁啊?”

“不告诉你!你还想找她们啊?”

“有你,我谁也不需要了。”

“咪咪也不要了吗?”

“是她不要我了。”华扬给她讲了他们的日记信和近来的电话。

“你好像在怪罪她。你不至于要让她为你守贞三年吧?如果你真爱她,有人关心她,让她快活,给她你给不了的愉悦,你应该高兴才对呀。”

“我没有那么高尚,”华扬感叹道。

“所以我不会结婚。没有人会那么高尚,人总是要互相控制,要求别人忠诚。我做不到,也受不了。”

“生命诚可贵,爱情价更高;若为自由故,二者皆可抛。Life is precious/Love more valuable/But for freedom/Both are dispensable.”

“说得好极了!你怎么什么都能说得这么好?”

“你要是活到我这把年纪,会比我说得更好。我不过多读了几年书。那是匈牙利诗人裴多斐的诗,中国人都知道的。”

“嗯,我什么都不知道,光唱歌了,没时间读书。”

“你不是也在读博士吗?不认真念书怎么行。”

“不,我是在读硕士,只是因为这门课的课程介绍让我感兴趣才来听的,没想到这么难!不过,值了,我得到了你。”

“拿到硕士后干什么,想要接着读博士吗?”

“我不是那块料。毕业后,我要去纽约。我们还有四个月时间。”绿叶热烈地吻着华扬,亲昵地说:“我又想和你一起丢了。”

 

 

法国的信越来越稀疏。一天,华扬在妻子的信中竟然读到关切,说两个星期没有接到他的信了,问他是否出了什么事。华扬才明白自己也疏懒了,同时他感到,自己的心已波澜不惊了,不再有那些邪恶、凶狠的念头了。终于,妻子提出分手。华扬回信,平静地表示同意。

这四个月让华扬和绿叶魂销魄散。当然,肉体的快乐是短暂的,灵魂出窍的极乐更是瞬间的,而且越来越少。他们依偎在床上,更多的时间是交谈。绿叶的问题无穷无尽,华扬每回答一个问题,就会引来二、三个新问题。他当然不是有问必答,但他不知道的,总会去查。受益的也不仅是绿叶一人;华扬三年没有知心人可与之交谈了,虽然一直和妻子写日记信,有些话,单方面写,没有思想的火花碰撞,很难深谈;现在这闸门一打开,他可就口若悬河了。绿叶又跟他一个专业,而且是绝佳的聆听者,不仅认真听,还不时地插入个问题,激发着华扬,很多想法都是在这种时候形成的,并写入了教授要求的论说文。后来,他的博士论文还用了不少这时说的原话。他们心心相印,灵魂吻合了。

“嫁给我吧!”在一次灵魂出窍之后,华扬恳请道。

“不!我是不会嫁人的,连你也不嫁。”

“可我们在一起这么好!”

“真要是结婚了,就不好了。婚姻是悲剧,爱情只是序幕。”

“嗬,你也会引经据典了!”

“近墨者黑嘛,”绿叶笑道。

“嫁给我,我会高尚,我会宽容,我会给你空间,绝不干涉你的生活。我只请求你不走,不去纽约。”

“你看,你已经在干涉我的生活了。我是不会结婚的,我不是那种类型的人。我是个流浪女,你知道的。大学毕业后,我这是第一次在同一个城市住了两年,感谢你帮助,我要拿到硕士学位了。可我要走,去格林尼治村Greenwich Village,去芜德斯多克Woodstock。除非你愿意跟我走,但是不,那会毁了你,浪费你的才华。没准儿唐·何塞杀死卡门的悲剧还会在我们身上重演。现在甜甜蜜蜜地分手,以后也许还会有重逢的喜悦。”绿叶第一次在华扬面前一连气说了这么多,华扬无言以对。

临走前,华扬送她一枚小巧的玉雕项链,是两片局部重合的绿叶,仿佛是两颗交叠的心。她送给华扬一盒录音带,是她自弹自唱她改编过的那首古老的英国民歌。绿叶说他们摇滚歌手有一条不成文的规矩,从来不演唱别人的歌,不用别人的曲子,但她为华扬破了回例。歌儿唱得同样情深意长,但远不似原来那么悲切,而且歌词改得比原来更加合辙押韵:

 

哎,我的爱人,别误解我,              Alas, my love, don’t get me wrong,

也不要长久地把我放在心上。          To love me so devotedly.

我爱你爱不了那么深那么久,          For I can’t love you well and long,

尽管和你在一起我欢乐无疆。          Though I take delight in your company.

绿叶虽然是一段真情,                      Greenleaves is a love affair. 

绿叶却要离你去往远方。                  Greenleaves must take a leave.

绿叶你到处都可以找到,                  Greenleaves is everywhere,

绿叶不配做你的嫁娘。                      And you deserve better than Greenleaves.