黃昏之戀 03

Memories of My Melancholy Whores 03

At one time I thought these bed-inspired 因為床第之間行為所啟發的accounts 描述would serve as充當 a good foundation基礎for a narration 描述of the miseries 悲慘of misguided life 誤導的生活, and the title 題目came to me out of the blue突然地: Memories 回憶of My Melancholy憂鬱whore 妓女s.

My public 公共的life, on the other hand, was lacking 欠缺in interest: both parents dead, a bachelor單身漢 without a future, a mediocre 平庸journalist 新聞記者who had been a finalist參加決賽者 four times in the Poetic Competition 詩的競賽, the Juegos Florales, of Cartagena de Indias, and a favorite 愛好者of caricaturists卡通畫 because of my exemplary 作為榜樣的ugliness 醜陋 .

In short, a wasted life荒廢的生活 off to a bad start beginning on the afternoon my mother led me by the hand when I was nineteen years old to see El Diario de La Paz would publish a chronicle 編年史of school life that I had written in my Spanish and rhetoric 文法修辭 class.

It was published on Sunday with an encouraging introduction by the editor. Years later, when I learned that my mother had paid for its publication 出版and for the seven that followed, it was too late for me to be embarrassed, because my weekly column專欄 was flying on its own wings 聲名遠播and I was a cable editor 廣播編輯 and music critic as well 也是音樂批評家

After I obtained 得到my bachilerato 大學學位with a diploma 文憑ranked excellent 被列為優秀. I began teaching classes in Spanish and Latin at three different public secondary schools 中學 at the same time.

I was a poor teacher, with no training 訓練, no vocation 稟性, and no pity同情 at all for those poor children who attended school as the easiest way to escape the tyranny 暴政of their parents.

The only thing I could do for them was to keep them subject to承受 the terror 恐怖of my wooden 木製ruler 米達尺so that at least they would take away with them my favorite poem: O Fabio, O sorrow 悲傷, what you see now, these fields of desolation 荒涼, gloomy陰鬱的 hills 山, were once the famous fair 美麗Italica.

Only as an old man did I happen to learn the nasty 令人討厭的 name the students called me behind my back 背後: Professor Gloomy 陰鬱Hills 山.

This was all that life gave me, and I have never done anything to obtain 得到more. I ate lunch alone between classes, and at six in the evening I would go to the editorial offices 編輯室of the paper to hunt for 尋找signals 訊號from sidereal space 恆星空間

At eleven, when the edition 編輯closed, my real life began. I slept in the red-light 風化district 地區, the Barrio Chino, two or three times a week, and with such a variety of 各種companions 同伴that I was twice crowned client 最佳客戶of the year.

After supper at the nearby 附近Café Roma I would choose a brothel 妓女戶at random 隨意and slip in 偷溜進近through the back door.

I did this because it amused me 我覺有趣to, but in the end 最後it became part of my work thanks to the careless speech 不經意的談話of political bigwigs權貴之人 who would tell state secrets 政府的秘密to their lovers for the night, never thinking they were overheard 竊聽by public opinion 公共意見through the cardboard 木板partitions隔間.

By this means方法, of course, I also learned that they attributed 歸咎my inconsolable沒有慰藉的 bachelorhood 單身生活to a nocturnal 夜間pederasty 雞姦satisfied by orphan boys on the Calle del Crimen.

I had the good fortune 足夠幸運to forget this, among other sound 合理的reasons because I also heard the positive things讚賞 said about me, which I appreciated 感激for their true value.真正的價質

I never had intimate親密的 friends, and the few who came close are in New York. By which I mean they’re dead, because that’ where I suppose condemned souls受到責罰的靈魂 go in order not to endure承受 the truth of their past lives.

雄伯曰:馬奎士年輕時,跟一些親密好友在紐約大概曾有過荒誕生活,如今自己隱居鄉間,對往事頗有懺悔之意,故認為依舊逗留那裡的人為「受到責罰的靈魂」condemned souls.

Since my retirement 退休I have had little to do except take my pieces to the paper on Friday afternoons or fulfill 履行other obligations 義務that have a certain significance意義: concerts at Bellas Artes, painting exhibitions 展覽會at the Centro Artistico, of which I am a founding member 創立成員, an occasional 偶爾civic conference 公民會議at the Society for Public Improvement, or an important event 事件like Fabrega’s engagement 訂婚at the Teatro Apolo.

As a young man I would go to the open-air movie theaters露天電影院, where we could be surprised by a lunar eclipse 月蝕or by a case of double pneumonia 雙重肺炎from a downpour傾盆大雨 gone astray 迷失.

But what interested me more than films were the little birds of the night 夜晚流鶯who would go to bed with you for the price of a ticket 只花一張戲票的錢, or at no cost 不花錢, or on credit 賒欠.

Movies are not my genre 專才. The obscene cult 卑俗的信徒崇拜of Shirley Temple廟 was the final straw 最後終於使他無法忍受.

My only travels were four trips to the Juegos Florales in Cartagena de Indias, before I was thirty, and a bad night aboard 登上a motor launch 遊艇, when I was invited by Sacramento Montriel to the inauguration 開張典禮of one of her brothels 妓院in Santa Marta.

As for my domestic家居 life, I don’t eat very much and am easy to please. When Damiana grew old she stopped cooking 不再煮菜for me, and since then my only regular meal正規餐 has been a potato omelet 地瓜炒蛋at the Café Roma after the paper closes 報社下班後.

And so, on the eve 前夕of my ninetieth birthday, I had no lunch and could not concentrate 專心on reading as I waited to hear from Rosa Cabarcas.

The cicadas蟬 were chirruping 唧唧叫as loud as they could in the two-o’clock heat, and the sun’s journey 旅行past the open windows forced me to move the hammock吊床 three times.

It always seemed to me that my birthday fell at the hottest time of the year, and I had learned to tolerate容忍 it, but my mood 心情that day made this difficult.

My birthday fell on Sunday. 我的生日恰逢星期日。
My birthday fell at the hottest time of the year.我的生日恰是這一年最熱的一天。

At four o’clock I tried to calm 平靜my spirit with Johann Sebastian Bach’s six suites 巴哈的六套組曲for Unaccompanied Cello 沒有伴奏的大提琴in the definitive performance 最後演出 by Don Pablo Casals.

I consider them the most accomplished pieces 完美的曲子in all of music, but instead of soothing安慰 me as usual they left me使我陷於 in an even worse state 狀態of prostration 意志消沉.

I fell asleep during the second 秒, which I think lags緩慢過去 somewhat 相當, and in my sleep I confused混淆 the cello’ lament大提琴的哀傷聲 with that of a melancholy 憂鬱ship that was leaving.


At almost the same time the telephone woke me, and the rusted生疏的 voice of Rosa Cabarcas brought me back to life.

You have a fool’s luck 傻人有傻福, she said. I found a little thing even better than what you wanted, but there’s one drawback缺點: she just turned fourteen.

I don’t mind changing diapers 換尿布, I said as a joke 開玩笑, not understanding her motives 動機.

I’m not worried about you, she said, but who’s going to pay me for three years in jail監獄?

Nobody was going to pay for them, she least of all尤其不會, of course. She harvested收穫 her crop 穀物among the minors 未成年人for sale 銷售in her shop, girls she broke in 培訓and squeezed dry 榨乾until they moved on to a worse life as graduate whores 老娼 in the historic brothel 妓院of Balck Eufemia.

She had never paid a fine, because her courtyard 妓院was the arcadia 世外桃源of local officialdom 當地官場, from the governor 州長to the lowest hanger-on 隨同in the mayor’s office 市長辦公室, and it was inconceivable無法想像 that the owner 主人would not have the power權力the break違反 the law to her heart’s content 心滿意足.

Which meant her last-minute scruples 顧慮were intended 用意only to derive奪取 profit 利潤from her favors 幫芒: the most punishable they were, they more expensive they would be 罰則越重,價碼越貴。.

The question was settled 解決with a two-peso increase in fees費用, and we agreed that at ten that night I would be at her house with five pesos 五披索in cash現金, payable in advance 預付.

Not a minute earlier , since the girl had to feed喂食 her younger brothers and sisters and put them to sleep and help her mother, crippled 癱瘓by rheumatism 風濕病, into bed.

There were four hours to wait. As they passed, my heart filled with an acidic酸鹼foam 泡沫 that interfered with 干擾 my breathing.

I made a useless effort to help time along with the procedures 程序of dressing.

Not surprising, of course, if even Damiana says I dress with all the rituals 典禮of a bishop 主教.

I shaved 刮鬍子with my barber’s straight 筆直的razor 刮鬍刀and had to wait until the water for the shower 淋浴cooled, because it had been heated 加熱in the pipes 管by the sun, and the simple effort of drying myself with the towel 毛巾made me sweat 流汗all over again.

I dressed in accordance with 配合the night’s good fortune好運; a white linen suit 亞麻西裝, a blue-striped藍色條紋 shirt with a collar 領帶stiffened 燙挺by starch 澱粉, a tie of Chinese silk, boots rejuvenated 光亮with zinc white 鋅白, and a watch of fine gold, its chain 鍊子fastened 繫緊at the buttonhole 紐扣洞on my lapel 衣領Then I folded摺疊 the trouser cuffs 翻邊 under so that no one would notice the inches I’ve shrunk 縮水.

I have a reputation 名聲as a miser 吝嗇鬼because no one can imagine I’m as poor as I am if I live where I live, but the truth is that a night like this was far beyond my means 超過我財富所能負擔.

From the money box hidden 藏under my bed I took out two pesos to rent 租the room, four for the owner, three for the girl, and five in reserve 保留for my supper and other minor expenses 零碎費用.

In other words, the fourteen pesos the paper pays me for a month of Sunday columns專欄.

I hid them in a secret pocket inside my waistband 腰帶, and I sprayed 噴香水on the Florida Water of Lanman & Kemp-Barclay &Co.

Then I felt the clawing鉗爪of panic驚慌, and at the first stroke 敲of eight I groped 摸索my way down the dark stairs黑暗的樓梯, sweating 流汗with fear, and went out into the radiant 燦爛night before my birthday.

The weather had cooled涼爽. On the Paseo Colon groups of men were arguing 爭論at the top of their voices about soccer 足球among the array of taxis成排的計程車 parked in the middle of the sidewalk人行道.

A brass band 銅管樂隊played a languid 無精打彩waltz 華爾滋under the alameda 林蔭大道of blossoming 花盛開matarraton trees.

One of the poor little whores who hunt solemn 嚴肅 clients 客戶on the Calle de los Notarios asked me for the usual cigarette, and I gave my usual answer Today it’s thirty-three years, two months, and seventeen days since I stopped smoking.

When I passed El alambre de Oro I glanced at 瞥見myself in the lighted 明亮的windows, and I didn’t look the way I felt but older, dressed in shabbier 不體面的clothes.

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