With the Women on the Tram
名家名译 | Andrew F.Jones 译 有女同车
Every word of what follows is true, without the slightest tailoring or embellishment, and cannot be considered fiction.
There were two women dressed in western style sitting on this side of the tram, probably of mixed race or else Portuguese, who looked like they were typists working for a foreign firm. The women speaking was a bit plump, with a three-inch-wide black patent leather belt cinched around her waist and a round belly below. She had slender eyebrows, bags under her eyes, and because her forehead was rather prominent, her face seemed to be divided into two distinct halves. She said, “And so I haven’t spoken to him for a whole week. If he says ‘hello,’ I say ‘hello.’” She arched her eyebrows in a sneer, and the upper half of her face ascended along with them, “You know how stubborn I can be. When I know I’m in the right, I’m always stubborn.”
这段话中的上海方言词语多以谐音字表示，其中较费解的字词释义如下：“拨” 即 “给 / 让”；“难”即“于是”；“格”即指示代词“那”；”拉……浪”即介词“在……上”；“那哼话”即“怎么讲”；“搭”即“给”；“跽”即“跪”；“价大格人”即“这么大的人”。 ——喵大歪楼
On the other side of the tram sat another woman speaking of some other “him,” only her “him” was not a lover but a son. She was middle-aged married woman, who looked like the proprietress of a little shop. Her hair was combed back in a lustrous black bun, and a pair of fashionable red lacquer earrings dangled from her ears. The young man listening to her speak must have been her nephew. With each sentence, he nodded his head in sympathy, and then the woman would nod again for emphasis. She said: “I wanted to update my wardrobe, but he wouldn’t let me. So I told him he wouldn’t be getting any spending money from me. The other day we were on the tram, and I told him to buy us tickets. And what do you think he said? ‘Sure, I’ll buy you tickets if you give me ten dollars!’ Awful, isn’t he?”
At first, it seemed that the “he” in question was a worthless husband, but as she went on it became clear that “he” was really her son. Evidently, he had perpetrated some other enormity to offend his mother: “His father insisted that he get down on his knees. ‘Get down on your knees, get down!’ But he refused to give in. ‘Why should I?’ So his father said to him: ‘You are going to get down on your knees and beg for her forgiveness! Go on! Get down!’ It took a long time, but after a while he just couldn’t fight anymore: ‘All right, all right. I’ll do it.’ Which is when I said: ‘I don’t want him to see him on his knees. I don’t want him to do it.” And all the others were saying: ‘He’s all grown up now. It’d be too humiliating for him to get down on his knees. Why don’t you just have him bring you a cup of tea and say something like “Mama, please don’t be angry with me anymore.’” And so he ended up bringing me a cup of tea, and when he came up to me, I couldn’t help laughing out loud….”
The women on the tram filled me with sorrow. Women—women whose lives are consumed in talking about men, thinking about men, resenting men, now and forever.