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Part 1 Chapter 10

O N THE first day of Easter vacation, I got up at four. Hanna was working the early shift. She rode her bicycle to the streetcar depot at a quarter past four and was on the streetcar to Schwetzingen at four-thirty. On the way out, she’d told me, the streetcar was often empty. It only filled up on the return journey.

I got on at the second stop. The second car was empty; Hanna was standing in the first car close to the driver. I debated whether I should sit in the first or the second car, and decided on the second. It promised privacy, a hug, a kiss. But Hanna didn’t come. She must have seen that I had been waiting at the stop and had got on. That’s why the streetcar had stopped. But she stayed up with the driver, talking and joking. I could see them.

The streetcar passed one stop after another. No one was waiting to get on. The streets were empty. It was not yet sunrise, and under a colorless sky everything lay pale in the pale light: buildings, parked cars, the new leaves on the trees and first flowers on the shrubs, the gas tank, and the mountains in the distance. The streetcar was moving slowly; presumably the schedule was based both on stopping times and on the time between each stop, and so the speed of travel had to be slowed down when there were no actual stops. I was imprisoned in the slow-moving car. At first I sat, then I went and stood on the front platform and tried to impale Hanna with my stare; I wanted her to feel my eyes in her back. After some time she turned around and glanced at me. Then she went on talking to the driver. The journey continued. Once we’d passed Eppelheim the rails were no longer in the surface of the road, but laid alongside on a graveled embankment. The car accelerated, with the regular clackety-clack of a train. I knew that this stretch continued through various places and ended up in Schwetzingen. But I felt rejected, exiled from the real world in which people lived and worked and loved. It was as if I were condemned to ride forever in an empty car to nowhere.

Then I saw another stop, a shelter in the middle of open country. I pulled the cord the conductors used to signal the driver to stop or start. The streetcar stopped. Neither Hanna nor the driver looked back at me when they heard the bell. As I got off, I thought they were looking at me and laughing. But I wasn’t sure. Then the streetcar moved on, and I looked after it until it headed down into a dip and disappeared behind a hill. I was standing between the embankment and the road, there were fields around me, and fruit trees, and further on a nursery with greenhouses. The air was cool, and filled with the twittering of birds. Above the mountains the pale sky shone pink.

The trip on the streetcar had been like a bad dream. If I didn’t remember its epilogue so vividly, I would actually be tempted to think of it as a bad dream. Standing at the streetcar stop, hearing the birds and watching the sun come up was like an awakening. But waking from a bad dream does not necessarily console you. It can also make you fully aware of the horror you just dreamed, and even of the truth residing in that horror. I set off towards home in tears, and couldn’t stop crying until I reached Eppelheim.

I walked all the way back. I tried more than once to hitch a ride. When I was halfway there, the streetcar passed me. It was full. I didn’t see Hanna.

I was waiting for her on the landing outside her apartment at noon, miserable, anxious, and furious.

“Are you cutting school again?”

“I’m on vacation. What was going on this morning?”

She unlocked the door and I followed her into the apartment and into the kitchen.

“What do you mean, what was going on this morning?”

“Why did you behave as if you didn’t know me? I wanted . . .”

“I behaved as if I didn’t know you?” She turned around and stared at me coldly. “You didn’t want to know me. Getting into the second car when you could see I was in the first.”

“Why would I get up at four-thirty on my first day of vacation to ride to Schwetzingen? Just to surprise you, because I thought you’d be happy. I got into the second car . . .”

“You poor baby. Up at four-thirty, and on your vacation too.”

I had never seen her sarcastic before. She shook her head.

“How should I know why you’re going to Schwetzingen? How should I know why you choose not to know me? It’s your business, not mine. Would you leave now?”

I can’t describe how furious I was. “That’s not fair, Hanna. You knew, you had to know that I only got in the car to be with you. How can you believe I didn’t want to know you? If I didn’t, I would not have got on at all.”

“Oh, leave me alone. I already told you, what you do is your business, not mine.” She had moved so that the kitchen table was between us; everything in her look, her voice, and her gestures told me I was an intruder and should leave.

I sat down on the sofa. She had treated me badly and I had wanted to call her on it. But I hadn’t got through to her. Instead, she was the one who’d attacked me. And I became uncertain. Could she be right, not objectively, but subjectively? Could she have, must she have misunderstood me? Had I hurt her, unintentionally, against my will, but hurt her anyway?

“I’m sorry, Hanna. Everything went wrong. I didn’t mean to upset you, but it looks . . .”

“It looks? You think it looks like you upset me? You don’t have the power to upset me. And will you please go, finally? I’ve been working, I want to take a bath, and I want a little peace.” She looked at me commandingly. When I didn’t get up, she shrugged, turned around, ran water into the tub, and took off her clothes.

Then I stood up and left. I thought I was leaving for good. But half an hour later I was back at her door. She let me in, and I said the whole thing was my fault. I had behaved thoughtlessly, inconsiderately, unlovingly. I understood that she was upset. I understood that she wasn’t upset because I couldn’t upset her. I understood that I couldn’t upset her, but that she simply couldn’t allow me to behave that way to her. In the end, I was happy that she admitted I’d hurt her.

So she wasn’t as unmoved and uninvolved as she’d been making out, after all.

“Do you forgive me?”

She nodded.

“Do you love me?”

She nodded again. “The tub is still full. Come, I’ll bathe you.”

Later I wondered if she had left the water in the tub because she knew I would come back. If she had taken her clothes off because she knew I wouldn’t be able to get that out of my head and that it would bring me back. If she had just wanted to win a power game.

After we’d made love and were lying next to each other and I told her why I’d got into the second car and not the first, she teased me. “You want to do it with me in the streetcar too? Kid, kid!” It was as if the actual cause of our fight had been meaningless.

But its results had meaning. I had not only lost this fight. I had caved in after a short struggle when she threatened to send me away and withhold herself. In the weeks that followed I didn’t fight at all. If she threatened, I instantly and unconditionally surrendered. I took all the blame. I admitted mistakes I hadn’t made, intentions I’d never had. Whenever she turned cold and hard, I begged her to be good to me again, to forgive me and love me. Sometimes I had the feeling that she hurt herself when she turned cold and rigid. As if what she was yearning for was the warmth of my apologies, protestations, and entreaties. Sometimes I thought she just bullied me. But either way, I had no choice.

I couldn’t talk to her about it. Talking about our fights only led to more fighting. Once or twice I wrote her letters. But she didn’t react, and when I asked her about them, she said, “Are you starting that again?”

  复活节第一天,我四点钟就起床了。汉娜上早班,她四点一刻骑自行车去有轨电车停车场,四点半她就在开往施魏青根的电车上了。她对我说过,去时车上往往很空,只是回来时,车上才满满的。

  我在第二站上了车。第二节车厢是空的,汉娜在第一节车厢里,站在司机旁边。我犹豫着是上前面的车厢还是上后面的车厢,最后我还是决定上了后面的车厢。后面的车厢很隐蔽,可以拥抱,可以接吻,但是汉娜没有过来。她一定看到了我在车站等车,也看到我上了车,否则车也不会停下来。可是她还是呆在司机旁边和他聊天说笑,这些我都能看到。

  车开过了一站又一站,没有人在等车。街道上也没有人,太阳还没有升起来,白云下面,一切都笼罩在白茫茫的晨曦中:房屋、停着的小汽车、刚刚变绿的树木、开花的灌木丛、煤气炉还有远处的山脉。因为好多站都没有停车,车现在开得很慢,估计是由于车到每站的时间是固定的,车必须按时到站。我被关在了慢慢行驶的车厢里。最初,我还坐在那儿,后来,我站到了车厢前面的平台上,而且尽力注视着汉娜。她应该能感觉到我在她身后注视着她。过了一会儿,她转过身来仔细地打量着我,然后又接着和司机聊天。车继续行驶着,过了埃佩尔海姆之后,铁轨不是建在街上,而是建在街旁用鹅卵石砌成的路堤上。车开得快些了,带着有轨电车那种均匀的咔哒咔哒声。我知道这条路线要经过好多地方,终点站是施魏青根。此时此刻,我感觉自己与世隔绝了,与人们生活、居住、相爱的正常世界隔绝了。好像我活该要无目的地、无止境地坐在这节车厢里。

  后来,在一块空地上,我看见了一个停车站,也就是一个等车的小房子。我拉了一下售票员用以给司机发出停车或开车信号的绳子。车停了下来,汉娜和司机都没有因为我拉了停车信号而回头看看我。当我下车的时候,好像她对我笑了笑,但我不敢肯定。接着车就开走了。我目送它先是开进了一块凹地,然后在一座小山丘后面消失不见了。我站在路堤和街道中间,环绕着我的是田地、果树,再远一点是带着花房的花园。这里空气清新、鸟语花香,远处山上的白云下,飘浮着红霞。

  坐在车上的那段时间,就好像做了一场噩梦。如果我对那后果不是如此记忆犹新的话,我真的会把它当做一场噩梦来对待。我站在停车站,听着鸟语,看着日出,就好像刚刚睡醒一样。但是,从一场噩梦中醒来也并非是件轻松的事,也许恶梦会成真,甚至人们梦中的可怕情景也会在现实生活中再现。我泪流满面地走在回家的路上,一直到了埃佩尔海姆我才止住了哭泣。

  我徒步往家走,试了几次想搭车都没有搭成。当我走了一半路程的时候,有轨电车从我身边开了过去,车上很拥挤,我没有看到汉娜。

  十二点的时候,我伤心地、忧心忡忡地。大为恼怒地坐在她房门前的台阶上等候她。

  "你又逃学了?"

  "我放假了,今天早上是怎么回事?"她打开房门,我跟她进了屋,进了厨房。

  "你为什么装做不认识我的样子?我想要……"

  "我装做不认识你的样子?"她转过身来,冷冰冰地看着我的脸说,"你根本不想认识我,你上了第二节车厢而你明明看见我在第一节车厢里。"

  "我为什么在放假的第一天早上四点半就乘车去施魏青根?我仅仅是想要给你个惊喜,因为我想你会高兴的。我上了第二节车厢……"

  "你这可怜的孩子,在四点半就起床了,而且还是在你的假期里。"我还没有领教过她嘲讽的口吻。她摇着头:"我怎么知道你为什么要去施魏青根,我怎么知道你为什么不想认得我,这是你的事情,不是我的,现在你还不想走吗?"

  我无法描述我的气愤程度。"这不公平,汉娜,你知道的,你一定知道的,我是为你才去坐车的,你怎么能认为我不想认得你呢?如果我不想认识你的话,我也就根本不会去乘车了。"

  "啊,行了,我已经说过,你怎么做是你的事,不关我的事。"她调整了自己的位置,这样,我们之间就隔了厨房的一张桌子。她的眼神、她的声音、她的手势都说明她正把我当成了一个破门而入者来对付,并要求我走开。

  我坐到沙发里。她恶劣地对待了我,我想质问她。但我还根本没有来得及开始,她却先向我进攻了。这样一来,我开始变得没有把握了。她也许是对的?但不是在客观上,而是在主观上?她会或者她一定误解了我吗?我伤害她了吗?我无意伤害她,也不愿伤害她,可还是伤害了她?

  "很抱歉,汉娜,一切都搞糟了,我没想伤害你,可是看来……"。"看来?你的意思是,看来你把我伤害了?你没那能力伤害我,你不行。现在你总该走了吧?我干了一天的活,想洗澡,我要安静一会儿。"她敦促地看着我。看我还没站起来,她耸了耸肩,转过身去,开始放水脱衣服。

  现在,我站起来走了。我想,我这一走就一去不复返了。可是半小时之后,我又站在了她的房门前。她让我进了屋。我把一切都承担了,承认我毫无顾及地、不加思考地、无情无爱地处理了这事。我知道她受到了伤害。我也知道她没有受到伤害,因为我没有能力伤害她。我明白我不可能伤害她,因为她根本就不给我这种机会。最后,当她承认我伤害了她的时候,我很幸福。这样看来,她并非像她所表现的那样无动于衷,那样无所谓。

  "你原谅我了吗?"

  她点点头。

  "你爱我吗?"

  她又点点头。"浴缸里还有水,来,我给你洗澡!"

  后来我自问,她把浴缸里的水留在那儿,是不是因为她知道我还会回来的?她把衣服脱掉了是不是因为她知道我忘不了看到她脱衣服时的感觉,因此,会为此再回去的?她是否只是为了在这场争执中取胜?当我们做完爱,躺在一起时,我给她讲了我为什么没有上第一节车厢而是上了第二节车厢的原因。她以嘲弄的口吻说:'小家伙,小家伙,你甚至在有轨电车上也想和我做爱吗?"这样一来,引起我们争吵的原因就似乎无关紧要了。

  可事情的结果却至关重要。我在这场争吵中不仅仅败下阵来,在短暂的争执之后,当她威胁着要把我拒之门外时,当她回避我时,我屈服了。在接下来的几周里,我没有和她争吵过一次,即使是很短暂的一次也没有。当她一威胁我对,我立刻就无条件地投降。我把所有的过错都揽到自己身上。不是我的过错我也承认,不是故意的也说是故意的。当她的态度冷淡和严厉的时候,我乞求她重新对我好,原谅我,爱我。有时候,我感觉到,她似乎也为自己的冷淡无情而苦恼。好像她也渴望得到我的温暖、我的道歉、我的保证和我的恳求。有时我想,她太轻易地就征服了我,可是无论如何,我都没有选择的余地。

  我和她无法就此交谈。就我们的争吵来交谈会导致一场新的争吵。我给她写了一封或两封长信,可她对此毫无反应。当我问起此事时,她反问道:"你怎么又开始了?"



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