名家短文 0881丨鞋趣丨舒婷

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名家短文 0881丨鞋趣丨舒婷

星期日的海滨浴场,用当地的话形容:稠挤得像插冰棍。有摇大扑闪趿人字拖鞋从临海各疗养院、大宾馆腆着大肚子而来的离休退休干部;有穿鞋着袜面带风尘衣挟黄沙大喊海水果然是咸的暑期旅游学生;有披鲜艳大浴巾肤色黧黑身材婀娜的本地少女。孩子们撅起屁股掘防空壕堆日光岩尖叫着把沙子扬得一头一脸;白色的排球诱饵似的起落,青年男子柔韧结实的身子弹射空中,犹如活蹦乱跳的鱼。

鼓浪屿环岛都是美丽的浴场,可是人们习惯地挤在西边300米的水域。

越往南走,软装汽水瓶和各式包装纸渐渐减少,走到老碉堡一带,已鲜闻人声。由于不受践踏,沙岸长起一丛丛蒿蓬,犹如长长的睫毛。野花探头探脑。

碉堡年份不长,已有古色。其实不过是上次内战仓皇留下火力点而已。潮汐、海风和沙滩尽心尽力改造它,饰以牡蛎壳、衣之水藻青苔,雕琢石壁使之斑斓,花纹还吸收现代风格,接近象征派、点彩派、野兽派,“横看成岭侧成峰”。不上半世纪,这碉堡已沧桑得和它毗邻的礁石溶为一体。

退潮时,坐在老碉堡的石坎上望海,据说是背靠历史看人生。这是岛上一位三流哲人说的。这人后来疯了,又发表了许多更深刻的哲学,却再无人传诵。

礁石连亘。浪花其间神出鬼没,立时锋利雪亮起来。

尖峭凶险的兀石上,一支钓鱼竿静静悬着。

沙滩像少女的肌肤一样洁白无暇。

一双咖啡色的男用塑料凉鞋端端正正搁在沙上。鞋跟磨损很深,明显地倾斜。是个走路落地很重的大高个。鞋口断裂的地方很仔细地热补过了,只是技术不太熟练,补位雨鞋毛糙。紧依着他的是一只乳黄色皮凉鞋,嵌着金属钉的细高跟踮着,仿佛正在旋舞;另一只女鞋向前冲了半步,一根纤巧的绊带掠开,微微摆动。风要再大些,它就要轻盈地,热切地,优雅地飞走,在海天浪际化为一只修长的啼叫着的水鸟。就在近旁有一双白色的泡沫童鞋,鞋带甚至没有解开,显然是从一双急不可待的小腿蹬下来的。一只翻扣在地,另一只甩得远远,让蒿草爱惜地托在叶尖上。

夕阳眼看就要落入礁阵,一个巨大的伤口,红得令人绝望。最后的晚照从高高的伊拉克蜜枣树的羽叶上淅淅沥沥滴下,被香蕉树的阔叶接住,再往下汩汩深入土壤。

沙隙里因此热气蒸腾。

一只白色的沙蜞从童鞋钻出来,攀上女鞋的拱门似的绊带,恫吓地举起半透明的螯足,于夕阳对峙。片刻,不耐那伟大的沉默,小小沙蜞一道白色的细烟似地没入沙洞不见了。

钓鱼杆依然是水平低指向夕阳。

幕了,天光更趋于单纯明静。一天的最后时刻如殉道者一般崇高,且触手可及。

古堡已经成为轮廓,它铺开的影子一片阳凉,水似的浸在沙滩上。

远远看去,鞋子们像巨大的贝壳,像沙滩之光。

开始涨潮了。

作品译文

Shoes

On Sundays the coastal beach is, to use a local expression, crowded as a hand-packed ice cream cone. There are retired cadres from the rest homes and big hotels up and down the shore, their bellies protruding, waving big rush fans and wearing zoris; there are students traveling on summer break who come in their shoes and socks, their faces dusty, their clothes collecting yellow sand, shouting it’s true the ocean is salty. There are the local girls draped in big brightly colored beach towels with their dark bronzed complexions and graceful figures. Kids stick their behinds in the air digging air defense shelters, heaping up sun ray peaks and giving sharp yells as they throw the sand all about. White volleyballs dance up and down like bait as young men’s supple, sturdy bodies spring into the air like leaping fish.

There are beautiful beaches all around Gulang island, but people customarily crowd along the three hundred meters of waterfront on the west side.

As you go further south, the soft-pack pop bottles and various wrappers become fewer, and when you reach the vicinity of the old fortress, only rarely do you catch the sound of other people. Because there isn’t much traffic, clumps of Artemisia grow along the sand bank like long eyelashes. Wild flowers hide among them.

Though the pillbox isn’t very old, it already has a patina. Actually, it was left only from the last civil war, a firing point in the panic retreat. The tide, ocean winds and sand banks have done their best to transform it, ornamenting it with oyster shells, clothing it in water-washed mosses, cutting and polishing its stone wall, making it gorgeous. Its patterns, moreover, have taken on a modern fell, approaching now the symbolists, now the impressionists, now the fauvists. As Su Shi had written: “viewed across, a mountain range; seen from the side, a peak.” In less than half a century, the fortress pillbox has swiftly dissolved to become part of the adjacent reef.

When the tide is out, you can sit on the stony ridge of the pillbox and gaze out to sea. I’ve heard this called “leaning on history to watch life,” the words of a third-rate philosopher who lives on the island. He’s since gone mad and published even more insightful philosophy, but he’s no longer read by anyone.

The reef stretches on and on; foam from the waves kicks up along it, then vanishes, throwing for an instant a sharp, snow-bright light.

A fishing pole calmly hangs out from the flat top of a sheer, dangerous rock.

The beach is like a young girl’s flesh, pure white and white flaw.

A pair of dark brown men’s plastic sandals have been left neatly side by side on the sand. Their heels are deeply worn, worn to an obvious slant. A big fellow who walked heavily. A broken spot on one of the arches has been heat-repaired, but the job was not skillfully done and the mend is crude.Leaning against this shoe is a pale yellow leather sandal, inlaid with metal, with a spike-thin high heel. It stands on tiptoe as if in the middle of a twirl. Another woman’s shoe has washed ahead a half step, one delicate strap has been swept aside and is swaying slightly. If the wind were a bit higher it would take off gracefully to become a slender, waterbird crying out over the waves. Close by is a pair of white plastic children’s shoes, their laces still tied, obviously shaken off by a pair of impatient little feet. One is upside-down on the sand, the other has been flung aside, leaving the artemisia to lovingly support it amidst its toothed foliage.

Soon the evening sun will sink into the reef, a tremendous wound, red enough to make one give up all hope. The last of the evening, reflected high above on the plume – like leaves of Iraqi date palms, gradually trickles down, is stopped by broad banana leaves, then gurgles down deep into the soil.

Vapor rises from pores in the sand.

A pale sand crab drills its way out from under the child’s shoe and clambers up a doorbolt – like the strap of the woman’s shoe. It threateningly lifts one translucent beetle leg to confront the evening sun. after a brief moment, unable to stand the great silence, the tiny crab disappears into its hole like a puff of smoke.

The fishing pole still hangs there, pointing straight toward the setting sun.

And then it is dusk. The light of the sky becomes purer and clearer. The last moments of the day are noble as martyrs, yet within reach.

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