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My Midnight Garden

Tom's Midnight Garden,我常常想起這個故事。Spooky but sweet。Spooky的部份是長大後才感覺到的。中一的時候讀此書,其實也不算child了,當時一點害怕的感覺也沒有。

故事可能很多人看過,被評為史上十大最好的Children Lit. 關於一個不能出街的小孩。搬到親戚的大屋後,每晚聽到老爺鐘竟然會敲十三下 (十三點)。走到花園,竟然看到如白天的生氣,陽光下還認識了一個小女孩。他們共度很多快樂時光,每晚如是。花園會於白天消失,不過每晚也會出現,而小女孩差不多每天也會有變化,一天長大一歲。而且在花園裡,除了女孩以外,誰也看不到男孩。最後,原來這個花園是一位婆婆的過去,相差七十年的二人在一個花園裡相遇。我記得最後一幕,是在男孩的現實,他要回家離開大屋前,他和已是老太婆的「女孩」相認。

那場見面在兒童文學裡被評為最感動,動人是在於男孩是周公,也是蝴蝶。對女孩來說,她過了七十年才終於再見男孩。她從來都是每年才見她一次。之後他便消失了 (在男孩的世界裡,因為他要搬離大屋了)。那種時間的魔幻感,對還是中一的我來說,是異常震憾。到後來看《超時空要愛》、《再生號》等,雖然主題好像不同,我卻不斷覺徥眼熟。而我說恐怖的地方,不是他們像The Others裡的鬼魂,而是那種「不知何時才等到你」的迷失和無助。

我看過Casper的一段自白,原來他是會一直伴嬰兒們玩,但當小孩到某一個歲數,他就離開他,那個就是嬰兒狂哭的階段。再大一點,小孩就有更多東西陪他了,忘記了那隻鬼精靈。Casper只會在遠遠一個角落看著他成長。每個人長大後,都會有一段和某人很親密的回憶,但他們不會記起Casper,他們只會隱約記得一個親切的形象。Tom's Midnight Garden於我就像Casper,一直在回憶深處。久不久看到或讀到一些故事,會令我想起一個花園,一個在沒有人陪伴我時一個親切的花園。

我是今天在學校的圖書館意外看到這書 (竟然還在幾個書櫃外見到The Outsiders,簡直是我對「社團」概念之啟蒙之作!),回想才想起為何那時候會這麼喜歡這個故事。中一是我離開香港後的第一年,Tom's Midnight Garden寄托著我對香港的思念,我掛念所有人,我掛念學校,我掛念家,我害怕在香港的朋友忘記我,我不想再和鬼妹玩。我但願晚上後園也變成回到過去的花園、回到香港。而去到某一天,我能肯定一切是有發生過,一切在香港的快樂不是夢境,像那個女孩終於發現,男孩是有存在過。而男孩也會發現,自己不是女孩的鬼魂,而他們曾一起度過過最快樂的時光。


Cat Village

因為一個朋友說起消失與火車,於是我在上班無聊的時候 ,每天打一點點,譯了《1Q84》裡的「貓之村」。其實我也未讀到這個故事,只是有人模仿書裡的人唸出來,我也模仿書裡的人聆聽了。記住後,我也在電郵裡打了出來,譯了就唔好嘥,post出來公諸同好。Skip the middle part if you want, I love my translated last paragraph the best. Guess which phrase I love most.

There was once this young man who loved to travel by train. He would pick a train, jump on it, and whenever he saw a pretty place or town, he would get off the train at the station, and walked off to his wonderland.

One day, he took his belongings and started his journey, like every other time he had done it. After travelling on a new line for half an hour, he reached a place with very beautiful scenery. Very much attracted, he got off. He checked the train schedule-only one train came every day in the morning, and one train back in the other direction in the evening. He remembered this and wander off to find the village, which had so magically drawn him when he was on the moving train.

After a few minutes’ walk, he reached the village, with very beautiful surrounding and architecture. But there was something odd about this town, even in hostels, he could not find a human soul. He waited and wandered, wandered and waited. Having no place to go and no one to talk to, he went onto a tower and slept. He thought he would catch the train the next morning.

After the last sunray disappeared, he started to hear voices from all over. He looked out the tower, and saw the most amazing thing he had ever seen – cats were coming from all directions, operating shops, hostels and restaurants. Some sang in the square, some talked on the street. He didn’t want to make a noise so he hid all night, looking at this magic.

Before sunrise, the cats left the town and everything was as if it was the previous morning, quiet and spotless. The next morning, the young man thought, he’d stay a little longer to see why this villages ha turned into a cat village. Since when have they gather like this? Why is it night time? Where do they go in daytime, collecting things that need to keep this place in operation? There were so many things that the curious he who wants to find out. He saw the train stopped and left in the morning and evening. He wandered for the day and stayed in the tower for the night.

For the nights after, he saw more of the cats’ lives, how some assemble in the public square, how some buy goods from grocery stores, how some operate their shops so easily. They were as if humans, he thought. He observed during the night, slept during the day, and of course filled himself with ‘cat food’ when the cats were not around. Well, but even the ‘cat food’ tasted like human food, he found no difference in his species and the night cats anyway.

On one special night, way before he got his questions sorted, he saw something extraordinary. The cats gathered at the square, not just the usual ones, but nearly all of them. It seemed they were having a meeting.

“I don’t know if you all sense the same. But I smell human these days.”

“Yes, me too, but I do not see humans anywhere.”

They decided to search the village. The young man heard everything, and trembled in fear.

They broke into several squads, as organized as they possibly could, and started to scan the area. One team went up to the tower. The young man could hear their steps coming up. Soon he could see their whiskers, detecting his breath and sweat. “The smell is so strong here. But I don’t see anyone.” “Yes, it is certainly a human but I cannot find a soul here!”

To the young man’s surprise, the cats left. He was relieved but not without doubts. Did they pass to save me? Or did they really not see me? But he saw the cat faces for sure, they were all so clear under the moonlight. Yes it was a clear, well-lit night with all the stars and moon. But still, no cats saw him. It was soon dawn and the cats went away, leaving him with questions. But I must go, he thought. He knew well that he would not be this lucky the following night.

He went to the platform the first thing in the morning. As the train approached, he picked up his backpack. But the train passed right by him, having absolutely no intention of stopping. He remained on the platform, startled. Why didn’t the train stop? With helplessness, he waved at the passengers on the train. But nobody seemed to be able to see him. They stared to the distance, skipping him, in the middle. He could not do but wait. He did not mind getting on the evening train. As long as I could leave this village, he thought.

Time passed slowly. Finally evening came, the young man once again saw the train from a distance, from the direction which he saw it abandoning him in the morning. Now, who would have thought the train did the same? Maybe everyone, including the young man. He saw this coming but he could not be so certain until the evening train left the platform. As soon as the train completely vanished, he knew he had completely disappeared from the world. This Cat Village wasn’t a place that erased his existence but rather a place that existed for his disappearance. This place was meant to be his last stop, his last contact with the world. It was here because of him, and as soon as he disappears, the villages vanishes too.

*(Picture from 唔關事的 「猫の集会」)






是不是真的算命我不知道。但識我兩個鐘的人也不難看出我既不定性,又諸多藉口。思前想後,是大部分港女的性格,我亦不例外。不是嫌人家不夠好,就嫌自己愛得不夠。拿不出山盟海誓,又怎能接受呢? 但湯老先生不同,他除了會用自己孤獨老人的幻象來搏你的同情,最厲害還是在你毫無心理準備下,在順德酒樓內(及一群搭枱的裝修工人前)跟你求婚,而那天還是拍拖的第一天,叫我怎拒絶? 在啫啫肉炒芥蘭面前,人根本不能想到求婚二字。這個偽求婚佈局,我後來想,是絶對在他計算以內的。他太不像求婚,我也沒有閒情去思考;又或者說,他有勇氣求得那麼馬虎,我也有guts屎去立刻答應。情況有點像大學時被人「兇」一齊跳入天人合一池,結果是我不敢跳入水池,卻應承把自己一生許了給他。

其實說真的,我也是結婚後一個月,才慢慢意識到自己可以接受結婚這回事,接受的意思跟意願沒有關係,只是之前不太肯定自己可以做得來「老婆」這個身份。經歷過兩次移民,我對新環境一向抗拒。不喜歡執拾東西、不喜歡丟掉舊物、不喜歡重新適應一個新的地方--它的交通網絡、它的鄰舍關係、它的街市商場。但答應得了結婚,也不能把這些問題掛在口邊。也曾經擔心做不來「太太」的職務。可以每天煮早餐嗎? 可以記得雪櫃食物的過期日子嗎? 可以知道炒到公仔面給老公的朋友吃嗎? 也有些不關於「食」的擔憂。但不論如何,還是硬著頭皮上馬了。

後來我讀到,小克說,為何大家要這麼緊張先後次序。為什麼不能結婚後才培養長久關係? 為什麼不能生仔後才買樓? 為什麼總要花時間去弄清楚、搞準備,才去實踐呢? 到頭來不單可能失去更多。我想,從前的人盲婚啞嫁,一樣愛得濃烈。一起捱窮,一樣養得成快快樂樂的一家。我想,他是這個意思。而實際上,我這樣被「局」上車,對我這個「越諗越驚,越驚越諗」的人來說是最好的。





10.發現世上每一樣東西都有它的肌理/規則,也同時發現很多東西其實都沒什麼所謂。更發現這兩條就如十誡也有兩條basic summary rules,它們會成為我人生的指標,會令我過得舒服一點。