A Water Lamp Variation
名家名译 / 李洁 译 水灯变奏曲
A Water Lamp Variation
It was autumn. The moon tonight was round with classical elegance. I stepped on the road alone. The north breeze blew gently and lightly onto my face.
This is a romantic and traditional festival—Loy Kra Thong, the Water Lamp Day. Holding a water lamp, I walked to the river in the light of the moon and lamps.
Along the river crowded many people. Some came here for putting a water lamp into the river and some just for a look. I came here for both.
Sister Xue often told me, “Xia, on the eve of the Water Lamp Day, you make a wish and it will come true in the future.”
On this day last year, I bought a small paper-made water lamp, but I didn’t put it in the river, instead, it was on my table for a year. I kept this lamp and my wish to myself.
Tonight, I made up my mind to put it into the river. Walking ahead, I found a place quiet and tranquil. Bending down, I put the lamp into the river softly and gently, along with it are my emotions and affections. Finally, I put a water lamp into the river.
However, I didn’t make a wish. Perhaps I was not used to making a wish. Perhaps I am afraid that this little lamp could not bear the weight of my wishes. In the boundless twilight, deep in thought, I moved the lamp toward the center of the small river.
I stood up and a pent-up sense of sadness rose in my heart. How pitiable and funny I was! What’s the point of my lamp-putting? I was actually a lamp adrift on the water.
At a loss, I walked on the road. A man came to me and called, “Su Wanna, Su-Wan-Na…”
I was taken aback and stopped, and he, too. He looked at me and mumbled, “Sorry! Sorry. I mistake you for someone.” Lowering his head, he apologized to me, bashful, embarrassed and disappointed.
I composed myself but after a little while my heart began to pit-a-pat. The man’s shy and bashful expression was so familiar to me, like his so much!
In a trance for a while, I raised my head and found he had already disappeared into the crowd. He came to me quietly when I felt lost and went away abruptly when I was in passion.
Water lamps of different size and styles were floating on the river, bringing about light and hope. Looking back, I tried to identify the lamp I put just now, but coming into eyes were the clear and shiny ripples and the flickering candle lights. Which one was mine?
The moon in the sky and water lamps in the river added irresistible charm to the beauty of tonight. However, I was an outsider. The nameless sadness, the chilly wind and his familiar shy expression accompanied me all the way home.