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Norwegian Wood

I was thirty-seven then, strapped in my seat as the huge 747 plunged through dense cloud cover on approach to the Hamburg airport. Cold November rains drenched the earth and lent everything the gloomy air of a Flemish landscape: the ground crew ran gear, a flag atop a squat airport building, a BMW billboard. So Germany again.

once the plane was on the ground soft music began to flow from the ceiling speakers: a sweet orchestral cover version of the Beatles’ ” Norwegian Wood”. The melody never failed to send a shudder through me, but this time it hit me harder than ever.

I bent forward in my seat, face in hands to keep my skull from splitting open. Before long one of the German stewardesses approached and asked in English if I was sick. “No,” I said, just dizzy”

  

“Are you sure?”

  

“Yes, I’m sure. Thanks.”

  

She smiled and left, and the music changed to a Billy Joel tune. I straightened up and looked out the plane window at the dark clouds hanging over the North Sea, thinking of what I had lost in the course of my life: times gone forever, friends who had died or disappeared, feelings I would never know again.

  

The plane reached the gate. People began unlatching their seatbelts and pulling baggage from the storage bins, and all the while I was in the meadow. I could smell the grass, feel the wind on my face, hear the cries of the birds. Autumn 1969,and soon I wou1d be twenty.

True, given time enough, I can bring back her face. I start joining image-her tiny, cold hand; her straight, black hair so smooth and cool to the touch; a soft, rounded earlobe and the microscopic mole just beneath it; the camels hair coat she wore in the winter; her habit of looking straight into your eyes when asking a question; the slight trembling that would come to her voice now and then (as if she were speaking on a windy hilltop)-and suddenly her face is there, always in profile at first, because Naoko and I were always out waking together, side by side. Then she turns to me, and smiles, and tilts her head just a bit, and begins to speak, and she looks into my eyes as if trying to catch the image of a minnow that has darted across the pool of a m1impid spring.

  

I do need that time, though for Naoko’s face to appear. And as the years have passed, the time has grown longer. The sad truth is that what I could recall in five seconds all too soon needed ten, then thirty, then a full minute――like shadows lengthening at dusk. Someday, I suppose, the shadows will be swallowed up in darkness. There is no way around it: my memory is growing ever more distant from the spot where Naoko used to stand-ever more distant from the spot where my old self used to stand. And nothing but scenery, that view of the meadow in October, returns again and again to me 1ike a symbolic scene in a movie. Each time it appears, it delivers a kick to some part of my mind. “Wale up,” it says. “I’m still here! Wake up and think about it. Think about why I’m still here.” The kicking never hurt me. There’s no pain at all. Just a hollow sound that echoes with each kick. And even that is bound to fade one day. At the Hamburg airport, though, the kicks were longer and harder than usual which is why I am writing this book: To think. To understand! It just happens to be the way I’m made. I have to write things down to feel I fully comprehend them.

  挪威森林

  37岁的我端坐在波音747客机上,庞大的机体穿过厚重的夹雨云层,俯身向汉堡机场降落。11月砭人肌肤的冷雨将大地涂得一片阴沉,使得身披雨衣的地勤工、呆然垂向地面的候机楼上的旗,以及BMW广告板等的一切的一切,看上去竟同佛兰德派抑郁画幅的背景一般。罢了罢了,又是德国,我想。

  飞机刚一着陆,天花板扩音器中低声传出轻柔的背景音乐,那是一个管弦乐队演奏的甲壳虫乐队的《挪威的森林》。那旋律一如往日地使我难以自已。这一次,比往日还要强烈地摇撼着我的身心。

  为了不使头脑胀裂,我弯下腰,双手捂脸。很快,一位德国空中小姐走来,用英语问我是不是不大舒服。我答说:”不要紧,只是有点晕。

  “真的不要紧?”

  “不要紧的,谢谢。”我说。

  她于是莞尔一笑,转身走开。音乐变成彼利?乔的曲子。我直起了腰,望着北海上空阴沉沉的云层,浮想联翩。我想起自己在过去人生旅途中失去的许多东西――蹉跎的岁月,死去或离去的人们无可追回的懊悔。

  机身停稳后,旅客解开安全带,从行李架中取出皮包和上衣等物。而我,仿佛依然置身于那片草地之中,呼吸着草的芬芳,感受着风的轻柔,谛听着鸟的鸣啭。那还是1969年的秋天,我快满20岁的时候。

  当然,只要有时间,我会忆起她的面容。我追忆着:那冷冰冰的小手,那流线型泻下的手感爽适的秀发,那圆圆的软软的耳垂及其紧靠底端的小小黑痔,那冬日里时常穿的格调高雅的驼绒大衣,那总是定定注视对方眼睛发问的惯常动作,那不时奇妙发出的微微颤抖的语声(就像在强风中的山岗上说话一样)―随着这些印象的叠涌,她的面庞突然自然地浮现出来。最先出现是她的侧脸,大概因为我总是同她并肩走路的缘故,最先想起来的每每是她的侧影。随之,她朝我转过脸,甜甜地一笑,微微地低头,轻轻地启齿,定定地看着我的双眼,仿佛在一混清澈的泉水里寻觅稍纵即逝的小鱼的行踪。

  但是,让直子的面影在我脑海中浮现出来,我总是需要一点时间。而且,随着岁月的流逝,所需的时间愈来愈长。这固然令人悲哀,但事实就是如此。起初5秒即可想起,渐次变成10秒、30秒、1分钟。它延长得那样迅速,竟同夕阳下的阴影一般,并将很快消融在冥冥夜色之中。哦,原来我的记忆正在同直子原来站立的位置步步远离,甚至逐渐远离自己一度站过的位置。而惟独风景,惟独那片10月草地的风景,宛如电影中的象征性镜头,在我的脑际反复推出。并且那风景执着地连连踢我的脑袋,说着:“起来,我可还在这里哟!起来,起来想想,思考一下我为什么还在这里。”不过这种踢法一点也不痛,一脚踢来,只是发出空洞的声响。甚至这声响或迟或早也将杳然远逝。但是在这汉堡机场,它们踢得比往常更长久、更有力:起来,理解我!惟其如此,我才动笔写这篇文字。我必须形诸文字,才能弄得水落石出。

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