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Part 1 Chapter 11

N OT THAT Hanna and I weren’t happy again after the first day of Easter vacation. We were never happier than in those weeks of April. As sham as our first fight and indeed all our fights were, everything that enlarged our ritual of reading, showering, making love, and lying beside each other did us good. Besides which, she had trumped herself with her accusation that I hadn’t wanted to know her. When I wanted to be seen with her, she couldn’t raise any fundamental objections. “So it was you who didn’t want to be seen with me”—she didn’t want to have to listen to that. So the week after Easter we set off by bike on a four-day trip to Wimpfen, Amorbach, and Miltenberg.

I don’t remember what I told my parents. That I was doing the trip with my friend Matthias? With a group? That I was going to visit a former classmate? My mother was probably worried, as usual, and my father probably found, as usual, that she should stop worrying. Hadn’t I just passed the class, when nobody thought I could do it?

While I was sick, I hadn’t spent any of my pocket money. But that wouldn’t be enough if I wanted to pay for Hanna as well. So I offered to sell my stamp collection to the stamp dealer next to the Church of the Holy Spirit. It was the only shop that said on the door that it purchased collections. The salesman looked through my album and offered me sixty marks. I made him look at my showpiece, a straight-edged Egyptian stamp with a pyramid that was listed in the catalog for four hundred marks. He shrugged. If I cared that much about my collection, maybe I should hang on to it. Was I even allowed to be selling it? What did my parents say about it? I tried to bargain. If the stamp with the pyramid wasn’t that valuable, I would just keep it. Then he could only give me thirty marks. So the stamp with the pyramid was valuable after all? In the end I got seventy marks. I felt cheated, but I didn’t care.

I was not the only one with itchy feet. To my amazement, Hanna started getting restless days before we left. She went this way and that over what to take, and packed and repacked the saddlebag and rucksack I had got hold of for her. When I wanted to show her the route I had worked out on the map, she didn’t want to look, or even hear about it. “I’m too excited already. You’ll have worked it out right anyway, kid.”

We set off on Easter Monday. The sun was shining and went on shining for four days. The mornings were cool and then the days warmed up, not too warm for cycling, but warm enough to have picnics. The woods were carpets of green, with yellow green, bright green, bottle green, blue green, and black green daubs, flecks, and patches. In the flatlands along the Rhine, the first fruit trees were already in bloom. In Odenwald the first forsythias were out.

Often we could ride side by side. Then we pointed out to each other the things we saw: the castle, the fisherman, the boat on the river, the tent, the family walking single file along the bank, the enormous American convertible with the top down. When we changed directions or roads, I had to ride ahead; she didn’t want to have to bother with such things. Otherwise, when the traffic was too heavy, she sometimes rode behind me and sometimes vice versa. Her bike had covered spokes, pedals, and gears, and she wore a blue dress with a big skirt that fluttered in her wake. It took me some time to stop worrying that the skirt would get caught in the spokes or the gears and she would fall off. After that, I liked watching her ride ahead of me.

How I had looked forward to the nights. I had imagined that we would make love, go to sleep, wake up, make love again, go to sleep again, wake up again and so on, night after night. But the only time I woke up again was the first night. She lay with her back to me, I leaned over her and kissed her, and she turned on her back, took me into her and held me in her arms. “Kid, kid.” Then I fell asleep on top of her. The other nights we slept right through, worn out by the cycling, the sun, and the wind. We made love in the mornings.

Hanna didn’t just let me be in charge of choosing our direction and the roads to take. I was the one who picked out the inns where we spent the nights, registered us as mother and son while she just signed her name, and selected our food from the menu for both of us. “I like not having to worry about a thing for a change.”

The only fight we had took place in Amorbach. I had woken up early, dressed quietly, and crept out of the room. I wanted to bring up breakfast and also see if I could find a flower shop open where I could get a rose for Hanna. I had left a note on the night table. “Good morning! Bringing breakfast, be right back,” or words to that effect. When I returned, she was standing in the room, trembling with rage and white-faced.

“How could you go just like that?”

I put down the breakfast tray with the rose on it and wanted to take her in my arms. “Hanna.”

“Don’t touch me.” She was holding the narrow leather belt that she wore around her dress; she took a step backwards and hit me across the face with it. My lip split and I tasted blood. It didn’t hurt. I was horrorstruck. She swung again.

But she didn’t hit me. She let her arm fall, dropped the belt, and burst into tears. I had never seen her cry. Her face lost all its shape. Wide-open eyes, wide-open mouth, eyelids swollen after the first tears, red blotches on her cheeks and neck. Her mouth was making croaking, throaty sounds like the toneless cry when we made love. She stood there looking at me through her tears.

I should have taken her in my arms. But I couldn’t. I didn’t know what to do. At home none of us cried like that. We didn’t hit, not even with our hands, let alone a leather belt. We talked. But what was I supposed to say now?

She took two steps towards me, beat her fists against me, then clung to me. Now I could hold her. Her shoulders trembled, she knocked her forehead against my chest. Then she gave a deep sigh and snuggled into my arms.

“Shall we have breakfast?” She let go of me. “My God, kid, look at you.” She fetched a wet towel and cleaned my mouth and chin. “And your shirt is covered with blood.” She took off the shirt and my pants, and we made love.

“What was the matter? Why did you get so angry?” We were lying side by side, so satiated and content that I thought everything would be cleared up now.

“What was the matter, what was the matter—you always ask such silly questions. You can’t just leave like that.”

“But I left you a note . . .”

“Note?”

I sat up. The note was no longer on the night table where I had left it. I got to my feet, and searched next to the night table, and underneath, and under the bed and in it. I couldn’t find it. “I don’t understand. I wrote you a note saying I was going to get breakfast and I’d be right back.”

“You did? I don’t see any note.”

“You don’t believe me?”

“I’d love to believe you. But I don’t see any note.”

We didn’t go on fighting. Had a gust of wind come and taken the note and carried it away to God knows where? Had it all been a misunderstanding, her fury, my split lip, her wounded face, my helplessness?

Should I have gone on searching, for the note, for the cause of Hanna’s fury, for the source of my helplessness? “Read me something, kid!” She cuddled up to me and I picked up Eichendorff’s Memoirs of a Good-for-Nothing and continued from where I had left off. Memoirs of a Good-for-Nothing was easy to read aloud, easier than Emilia Galotti and Intrigues and Love. Again, Hanna followed everything eagerly. She liked the scattering of poems. She liked the disguises, the mix-ups, the complications and pursuits which the hero gets tangled up in in Italy. At the same time, she held it against him that he’s a good-for-nothing who doesn’t achieve anything, can’t do anything, and doesn’t want to besides. She was torn in all directions; hours after I stopped reading, she was still coming up with questions. “Customs collector—wasn’t much of a job?”

Once again the report on our fight has become so detailed that I would like to report on our happiness. The fight made our relationship more intimate. I had seen her crying. The Hanna who could cry was closer to me than the Hanna who was only strong. She began to show a soft side that I had never seen before. She kept looking at my split lip, until it healed, and stroking it gently.

We made love a different way. For a long time I had abandoned myself to her and her power of possession. Then I had also learned to take possession of her. On this trip and afterwards, we no longer merely took possession of each other.

I have a poem that I wrote back them. As poetry, it’s worthless. At the time I was in love with Rilke and Benn, and I can see that I wanted to imitate them both. But I can also see how close we were at the time. Here is the poem:

When we open ourselves

you yourself to me and I myself to you,

when we submerge

you into me and I into you

when we vanish

into me you and into you I

Then

am I me

and you are you

  汉娜和我并不是在复活节第一天过后就不再幸福了。四月份的那周我们很愉快,我们从本那样愉快过。这第一次争吵——也是我们的主要争吵之一,改变了我们日常生活的所有方式,即朗读、淋浴。做爱,然后躺在一起的生活方式,这对我们有好处。此外,她一口认定我那天不想认她。但是,当我想和她一起展示给外人看时,她又提不出原则性的反对意见。"原来你还是不愿意让别人看见我和你在一起。"她不想听到我说这样的话。这样,复活节过后的那周,我们骑车出去了四天,我们去了温普芬、阿木尔巴赫和米尔藤堡。

  我已不记得,我当时都对父母说了些什么。是说我和好朋友马蒂亚斯一起出去?还是和几个人一起出去?是说我去拜访一位老同学?大概我母亲像以往一样对我很不放心,而我父亲却也像往常一样,认为母亲对我不应该有什么木放心。别人都不相信我会赶上功课,我不是也赶上了吗?

  生病期间,我的零花钱都没花。可是如果我为汉娜付钱的话,却又不够。因此,我就在圣灵大教堂附近的一家邮票店出售了我的集邮邮票。那是惟一的一家门上贴着收购集邮邮册招牌的邮票店。一位店员翻了翻我的集邮册,然后出价六十马克。我指给他看了一张我的王牌邮票,一张带有金字塔的方形埃及邮票,这张邮票在票册中的标价为四百马克。他耸耸肩。如果我十分眷恋我的集邮的话,也许我该保留它们。我到底可不可以卖掉它们呢?我的父母会对此说些什么呢?我尽量讨价还价,我说,如果像他说的那样带金字塔那张邮票不值钱的话,那么我干脆就不卖它了。这样一来,他又仅出三十马克了。这么说,带金字塔的那张邮票还是值钱?最后,我卖了七十马克。我感觉自己被骗了,可这对我来说无所谓。

  不仅我对这次旅行激动不已,令我感到惊讶的是汉娜在出发的前几天也已经心神不定了。她考虑来考虑去应该带些什么东西,把东西装到了自行车的挂包里和我为她买来的肩背包里,折腾来折腾去的。当我想在地图上指给她看我考虑好的路线图时,她什么都不想听,什么都不想看。"我现在太兴奋了,小家伙,你做的一定错不了。"

  复活节的星期一我们上路了。当日阳光明媚,一连四天都阳光明媚。早晨天气凉爽,白天天气暖和,但对骑自行车来说还不是太暖和,不过在外野餐已不冷了。森林像一块绿地毯一样,由黄绿、浅绿、深绿、蓝绿和墨绿组成。一会儿深,一会儿浅地交织在一起。莱茵平原上的第一批果树已经开花了,奥登森林的连翘刚刚抽芽。

  我们常常并肩而行,我们相互指看一些沿途见到的东西:城堡、垂钓者、河上行驶的船、帐篷、岸上列队行走的一家家人,还有敞篷美国大轿车。转弯和走新路时,必须由我带路。朝哪个方向走和走哪条路的事她不想操心。如果路面很拥挤的话,时而她在前面骑,时而我在前面骑。她骑的自行车的链条、脚蹬和齿轮处都有遮板。她穿着一件蓝色的连衣裙,宽肥的下摆随风飘舞。我曾为她担心,怕她的裙子被卷到链条或车链子里,怕她因此而跌倒。在我不再担心之后,我愿意看着她在我前面骑。

  我多么盼望着夜晚的降临啊!我想象着我们做爱、睡觉、醒来、再做爱、再入睡、再醒来等等,夜复一夜。可是,只是在第一天夜里,我醒过来一次。她背对着我躺着,我俯身亲吻她,她转过身来,仰卧着,把我搂在怀里:'我的小家伙,我的小家伙。"之后,我就躺在她怀里睡着了。由于风吹日晒,加之骑车的疲劳,后来我们都一觉睡到天亮。我们在早上做爱。

  汉娜不仅把选择方向道路的事交给我,还要由我来寻找我们过夜的客栈。我们以母子关系登记住宿,她只需在登记条上签字就行。我不仅要为自己点菜,还要为她点菜。"这次我什么都不想操心。"

  我们唯一的一次争吵发生在阿木尔巴赫。我很早就醒了,蹑手蹑脚地穿好衣服从房间里溜了出去。我想把早餐端上来,也想着一看有没有已经开门的花店,好给汉娜买一枝玫瑰。我给她在夜桌上留了一张字条:"早上好。取早餐,一会儿就回来。"或者类似这样的话。当我回来时,她站在房中间,衣服穿了一半,愤怒地发抖,脸色苍白。

  "你怎么能就这样一走了之了呢!"

  我把放早餐的托盘和玫瑰放下,想把她搂在怀里。"汉娜…"

  "别碰我!她手里拿着扎连衣裙的细皮带,往后退了一步,对着我的脸就抽了过来。我的嘴唇被抽破了,鲜血直流,我感觉不到疼痛。我被吓坏了,她又举起了手臂。

  可是她没有再打下来,她把手臂垂了下来,皮带落到了地上。她哭了,我还从未看见她哭过。她的脸变了形,变得目瞪口呆,眼皮哭得红肿,面颊上、脖颈上泛着红癍,嘴里发出沙哑的喉音,类似我们做爱时她发出的那种无声的喊叫。她站在那里,泪水汪汪地看着我。

  我应该把她搂在怀里,可我又不能,我不知道该做什么。我们家里的人不是这样的哭法,我们家里的人不动手打人,更不用皮带抽人,我们家里的人只动口。可是我该说什么呢?

  她向我走近了两步扑到了我的怀里,用拳头捶我,紧紧地抓着我。现在我可以抱着她了,她的肩在抽搐,她用额头撞着我的胸。接着她深深地端了口气,紧紧地依偎在我怀里。

  "我们吃早餐吧?"她从我怀里挣脱出来说。"我的天哪,小家伙,你看上去像什么样子!'她取了条湿毛巾把我的嘴和下巴擦干净了。"怎么连衬衫都到处是血。"她为我脱掉了衬衫,然后脱掉了裤子,之后她自己也把衣服脱了,我们就做起爱来。

  "到底是怎么回事?你为什么那么气愤?"我们躺在一起,是那样的心满意足。我想现在一切都该得到解释了吧。

  "怎么回事,怎么回事,你总是问愚蠢的问题!你不能就这么走了。"

  "可是我给你留了一张字条……"

  "一张字条?"

  我坐了起来,在夜桌上放字条的地方什么都没有。我站了起来,桌边、桌下、床上、床下,到处找,都没有找到。"我搞不明白是怎么一回事,我给你写了一张字条,说我去取早餐,即刻就回。"

  "你写了吗?我没有看到字条。"

  "你不相信我吗?"

  "我倒是情愿相信你,可我没有见到字条。"

  我们不再争吵了。来了一阵风把字条刮走了吗?刮到了什么地方或者利到了一个虚无地。她的愤怒、我流血的嘴唇、她受到伤害的面部表情还有我的无能为力,难道所有这一切都是误解吗?

  我还应该继续寻找那张字条吗?寻找汉娜生气的原因?寻找我为什么那么无能为力的原因吗?"小家伙,念点什么吧!"她紧紧地依偎在我怀里。我拿出了艾兴道夫的《无用之人》,接着上次停下来的地方念了起来。《无用之人》比《爱米丽雅·葛洛获》和《阴谋与爱情》念起来容易。汉娜又紧张地跟随着情节。她喜欢里面的诗,喜欢主人公在意大利时所穿的服装,喜欢混淆不清,喜欢梦想成真,喜欢追逐,同时她也认为主人公可恶,因为他是个无用之人,无所事事,游手好闲,什么都不会做,而且也愿意什么都不会做。她对一些问题犹豫不决,在我念完之后的几小时还可能提出这样的问题:"海关税收员不是什么好职业吧?"

  我又不自觉地这么详尽地叙述了我们的争吵,现在我也乐意讲一讲我们的幸福一面。这次争吵把我们的关系变得更密切了。我看见了她哭,哭泣的汉娜比坚强的汉娜更令我感到亲切。她开始显露出她温柔的一面,她的这种温柔,以前我还从未体验过。我破裂的嘴唇在愈合之前,她不时地就看看,轻轻地摸摸。

  我们做爱的方式也不一样了。很长时间里,我完全听她指挥,由她采取主动。后来,我也学会了采取主动。在我们的旅行中和自从旅行以来,我们做爱时已不仅仅采取上下位的姿势了。

  我有一首当时写的诗,作为诗它没有什么价值。我当时很崇拜里尔克和本,我清楚地意识到我是想同时效仿他们两位,可我也再次意识到我们的关系当时是多么的密切。下面是那首诗:

  当我们敞开心扉时,

  我们合二为一。

  当我们沉浸时,

  你中有我,我中有你。

  当我们消失时,

  你在我心里,我在你心里。

  这之后,

  我是我,

  你是你。



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