室友

室友

克里斯汀·C. 修

修照片

John used to say that we were millionaires, but now we might lose the house. 大儿子汤米和他的妻子阿什丽,打算买下hg888皇冠手机版的股份. hg888皇冠手机版告诉汤米他, 阿希利, 艾米丽, 特洛伊可以把房子卖了, 还清hg888皇冠手机版的气球贷款(不管那是什么), 在hg888皇冠手机版还钱的时候和hg888皇冠手机版住在一起, 但汤米想拥有它,并得到他的同意. He said, “Dad, you haven’t fixed a f—ing thing in this house in over forty years.“嗯,这倒是真的. 约翰一再否认这事,但这是真的. Raccoons 而且 squirrels ate into the house through the roof 而且 missing shingles. hg888皇冠手机版不得不打电话给West Pest.

hg888皇冠手机版的第一个计划是搬进汤米和阿什丽的房子, 但hg888皇冠手机版八十, 我和约翰不可能爬上那些楼梯. 说实话,汤米和阿什丽也能从这次搬家中有所收获. 他们的税收几乎是1.2万英镑. (约翰说hg888皇冠手机版的是8个). 和 if we moved in with them, they’d have to renovate 而且 that meant even higher taxes. 他们就是这么跟我解释的. 这在某种程度上是有道理的. 我不明白为什么把房子装修得更好要交更多的税.

而且,hg888皇冠手机版住在一个好的学区. 阿希利 told Tommy that if they buy our house they can take the kids out of private school. 更多的钱用于度假,她说.

有时,我会感到不安. 我所有的朋友都有一笔储蓄,而且还有一笔储蓄. 很快hg888皇冠手机版的巢穴就会属于汤米和阿什丽了. I thought we could sell the house before we lost it 而且 move to an apartment or one of those elder places, 但约翰一点也不同意. He said, “I’ve lived here almost all my life; I might as well die here.”

在汤米决定卖掉之前, 《hg888皇冠》之后,约翰每天晚上都会给他打电话, 推着他在房子里走来走去, 像问万能的上帝一样问汤米下一步该怎么做. 事情变得很糟,约翰说"我照顾你. 轮到你照顾我了.”

我想说,这是不对的.” Tommy has been there for us, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, having us over for dinner. 这比玛丽安和保罗为hg888皇冠手机版做的还多.

汤米不欠hg888皇冠手机版什么.

. . .

Just after Tommy 而且 阿希利 sell their house, we have to clean out ours. I find pocketbooks 而且 clothes with the tags still on them–Dotty 而且 I used to go shopping every day–而且 I offer them to 阿希利 而且 艾米丽, 但他们不想要. 反正衣服也不适合他们. 我不是一个小女人.

所以约翰也得处理掉他的东西. He saved 而且 saved 而且 saved things, thinking they’d be worth something someday. hg888皇冠手机版找到了一个想省钱的古董商. John moves stuff to the “keep” pile when he doesn’t get the price he expects. 阿什丽对他说,“hg888皇冠手机版都做出了牺牲,”hg888皇冠手机版能做什么? What’s hardest for John, I think, is just knowing that no one wants his stuff. 和 some of that stuff like the records 而且 cameras got damaged when the basement flooded; time yellowed his classic comics 而且 all those 国家地理 而且 《hg888皇冠》 杂志. 我不想知道他为什么留着 花花公子; he 说 they’re worth money, especially the Trump issue. 古董商说它们一毛钱一打. 他还说了诺曼·洛克威尔的板块, 布拉德福德交易所说它有一天会价值连城, but 阿希利 checks the internet 而且 说 they’re worth forty bucks for a whole set. 好吧,约翰,他付了35美元一盘,不会相信的. 他怎么总是赌错马? 而我现在拿着票.

约翰想保持游戏的完整性, 他说那个破碗是他妈妈的, 还有带铃铛的花环. 他和阿什丽为此大吵了一架. I have to call her into the middle room 而且 tell her that he isn’t acting like normal. “他睡得少,吃得少,”我说.

她让他留着铃铛.

阿什丽走过去的时候就好像hg888皇冠手机版不是住在这里一样. 的厨, 她说, “There’s 太 much sh-t in here” 而且 asks if we need the salt-而且-pepper shakers Dotty gave me from her trip to Alaska.

She holds the big glass of s而且 from our trip to Hawaii for our twentieth, 做个鬼脸问, “这是什么?”

我让她把特朗普泰姬陵酒店给hg888皇冠手机版的瓷器处理掉了, 而且她不让hg888皇冠手机版参加伦诺克斯的婚礼. 她说这很特别,我喜欢.

她把所有的假花都取下来了, saying they’re full of dust; she brushes off a little puff as proof.

“我喜欢这些花,约翰说,语气和他赞扬破旧的绿地毯时一样, 破碎的胡桃夹子, 还有破冰机.

阿什丽走到浴室,把抽屉清理干净. She throws out one of John’s medications that expired in ‘08 (almost ten years ago); he tells her to give it back. 她问:“为什么不直接打电话给医生再来一杯呢??”

他说:“医生死了.”

她笑得就像在哭一样, 然后她就回自己家收拾东西去了.

. . .

在清理地下室的时候,汤米发现了一个嘎嘎作响的东西. 他把它带到楼上.

“爸爸以前就用这玩意儿打我,”他说着,大声地敲打着它.

我真的完全不记得了. “他从不打你、玛丽安或保罗.”

“他没有碰玛丽安或保罗. 他跟在我后面.”

“他从来没有——”

“醒醒,马! 你知道他为什么不打我了? We were outside 做 yardwork 而且 the mower went over a f—ing tree root 而且 stopped. 他拿着一根棍子朝我走过来,你知道我说了什么? 我说, “你现在可以来找我了, 但我比你大,总有一天我会报复你的. 我会把你的灯打灭的.’”

上帝诚实的真理:约翰是一个好人,一直都是. 他是一位功勋卓著的工程师. 我不知道 what all he did each day except that it involved circuits; he earned more patents than anyone else in the company. 在餐厅的墙上,hg888皇冠手机版有一块巨大的牌匾来纪念他的服务. 我很惊讶阿什丽, 她把墙上的东西都取下来, 说, “这是一个惊人的成就. 等hg888皇冠手机版刷完漆再把它放回去.”

阿什丽是一名律师,她自己也很有造诣.

I get rid of huge garbage bags of stuff, but it’s the small treasures that are the hardest to lose. 阿希利 takes off the magnets 而且 gr而且kids’ art projects from the fridge. 她甚至把圣. 裘德祈祷卡. He’s the patron saint of lost causes; we need him now more than ever I tell her, 和她说, “但是它被水损坏了. 我会给你买一个新的.”

. . .

只要hg888皇冠手机版的房子在三月初变成他们的房子, 汤米和阿什丽把它拆了, even all six of the old trees 而且 bushes that are just about ready to bloom yellow. 我想约翰会崩溃的. He almost loses it when they knock down the kitchen walls 而且 pull up the tile. 他们在它下面发现了石棉,就需要一个特别的人来清除它. 汤米很生气,好像是约翰自己把石棉放在那里的.

当墙壁被剥得只剩木骨, 工人发现了一个老马蜂窝和一只死松鼠. 他举起来给hg888皇冠手机版看. 它看起来像在空中飞行,烧焦的四肢摊开. 那人指了指它嘴里伸出来的两根细条. “它可能是触电而死的,”他说.

The next time John tries to step in 而且 offer some advice, Tommy 说, “You 让我给你买这该死的房子. . 现在我来了. 你没看到玛丽安和保罗帮忙吧? 他们拿了钱就跑了. 我在这里现在. 别挡我的路.”

汤米以前是个好孩子. 当约翰的父亲去世时, Tommy was about fifteen; he put money in his gr而且pa’s suit pocket so he wouldn’t be bankrupt in heaven.

. . .

Tommy thinks we lost all our money because we were “high rollers” at the Taj 而且 we bailed out Maryann 而且 Paul. Well, I’m not sure where all the money went, but we gave Tommy money for his first house. He paid us back, but the point here is that he 太k from the pot when it was full.

说实话,我以前很喜欢去泰姬酒店. The purple carpet 而且 glittering ch而且elier above the escalator welcomed us like royalty. 老虎机叮当作响,听起来像在开派对, 我就坐在那里几个小时,看着他们滚啊滚啊滚, 旋转的颜色和承诺. We won ten thous而且 once, the money pouring in my cup like gold from a rainbow. We got to eat at the private dining room on the fiftieth floor where they made the special omelets 而且 served steak 而且 shrimp for dinner. 和 they gave us gifts 太: sweatshirts 而且 coats 而且 wine 而且 liquor 而且 small kitchen appliances 而且 comforter sets 而且 the china 阿希利 太k to Goodwill. I got a Michael Kors pocketbook that I found while cleaning out 而且 gave to 阿希利 who was glad to have it. 我很高兴我能给她点什么.

Now we go to the S而且s in Bethlehem every Thursday because it’s closer 而且, 当然, 泰姬陵已经不复存在了. 金沙酒店不是泰姬酒店,但也可以. 阿希利 gets annoyed that we stay up all night playing 而且 come home in the early morning.

“你没有吸取教训吗?”她问. “另外,你可能会出事故.”

我告诉她,hg888皇冠手机版去只是为了好玩. 那个时候除了卡车没有交通. They give us the play money on Thursday 而且 we don’t have the money to spend now anyway.

“但hg888皇冠手机版几乎拿走了你所有的账单,”她说.

I tell her we have the car insurance, the burial plots, just stuff like that. I can tell that John wants to tell her to mind her own business, but he won’t do it. His courage is as brittle as his knees, which the doctor 说 are bone-on-bone. 而且,他跟我一样知道他们随时可以把hg888皇冠手机版赶出去.

. . .

阿什丽就是你所说的狡猾的三柱门. 在她搬进来之前, she used to have us over for dinner every Sunday 而且 buy us food from Costcos, 但现在不同了. 也许她承受不了. 也许她很疲惫,但即使如此,她还是很坚强. 虽然她很小,但她几乎能举起任何东西. 她从Costcos带着大盒子回家,把它们放在屁股上. 她肩上扛着袋子,又大又重,像马鞍袋一样. 我说:“我不知道你是怎么做到的.”

阿什丽说:“我也不喜欢。”或者“总得有人喜欢。.”

约翰认为她把食物藏在地下室. 他们在那儿建了个小厨房. I haven’t seen it because I can’t get downstairs (the sciatica), but I hear it’s nice. 约翰说:“我听到阿什丽告诉艾米丽他们有橙子和香蕉. 她为什么不分享?”

他喜欢每天早上吃一个橘子和香蕉. 他基本上吃得很健康.

“这不是hg888皇冠手机版的食物,约翰. hg888皇冠手机版没有买.“说实话,他就像一个三年级学生.

“但她以前是共用的,佩吉.”

“也许她厌倦了分享.”

他沉默了一会儿,然后问:“为什么会这样?”

“为什么什么?“我在做我该做的事,不想被打扰.

“她为什么不分享呢? 我喜欢在麦片里放香蕉.”

“约翰,看在上帝的份上,就像我说的那样. 她受够了. 我不明白. 几个橙子,几根香蕉——能花多少钱呢? 但你不会想让你的室友吃你的食物,对吧?”

他认为这. 然后他说:“但hg888皇冠手机版不是室友. hg888皇冠手机版的家庭.”

我告诉他我知道. 我回到我的单词搜索,直到《hg888皇冠》播出. 我以前看《hg888皇冠》的时候会吃冰淇淋, 但阿什丽说冰淇淋对我不好. 我说我听说牛奶能减肥. She laughed, not a mean kind of laugh, but, at the same time, not a good-humor type of laugh. I get the sense that 阿希利 is amused by the expanse of all I do not know.

I don’t tell 阿希利 that Dotty was dieting on her deathbed with not even a hair on her head, 那么重点是什么呢? 我要饼干和冰淇淋,但不能等阿什丽醒着.

. . .

我知道阿什丽吃药. 我不知道这一切是为了什么. Maybe for a general kind of illness people get when the business of life gets heavy. She still goes to her Wednesday night meeting where people help each other. 她已经去了好多年了. I used to watch the kids for her; she was a nervous wreck in those days, 从这里跑到那里, 在艾米丽的舞蹈课结束后把它们放在前门, 超速了, 回来之前打电话给hg888皇冠手机版让孩子们准备好离开. 她现在温柔多了.

Three times, she went to a place Tommy said was like a hospital, but he didn’t want to talk about it. 我去了一趟房子,帮着洗衣服, 照顾埃米莉和特洛伊几天,直到她再次回家. 说实话:我喜欢那些我能帮上忙的日子.

I still wonder where 阿希利 went, but I’ve learned it’s best not to ask. 人们很容易被冒犯. 和, 我不知道, it just seems like everyone has something they want to keep close inside, 一个他们不想让别人看到的自我. 他们害怕别人拿走他们的东西.

. . .

In May, my younger sister Adele’s husb而且 Charles dies; he’s been sick for awhile now. 汤米告诉我不要哭. 我第一次大喊大叫. “我很难过,汤米. 你不明白吗? 我知道你不想让我哭. 我知道你不想让hg888皇冠手机版住在这里. 你希望hg888皇冠手机版离开.“当我说的时候,我就相信它. 我知道约翰和我还有很长的路要走.

He walks away; 阿希利 comes up to me, puts her arm around me 而且 说, “We do want you here.” She whispers it like she doesn’t want Tommy to hear or is scared to say it.

. . .

查尔斯死后,我妹妹阿黛尔每天都给我打电话, 用生活有多糟糕的证据来惩罚我. 她甚至告诉我她邻居的狗不能排便. 她说:“他们必须送他去看兽医,这可能要花几千美元. ,这是非常糟糕的事.”

她的教堂里总有人要死了. John, who sometimes listens in on speakerphone, 说, “Well, we all have to die at some point.”

She ignores this excellent logic to talk about funeral services; she has nothing to wear but the basic black dress with the bottom seam ripped because she’s worn it so many times.

我告诉阿什丽阿黛尔的厄运和忧郁. 她问我是如何忍受的.

“嗯,我在她说话的时候找词.”

“你就不能告诉她说点积极的事情吗?”

“我做了一次. 她说那样她就没什么可说的了.”

阿什丽摇摇头. “我不知道你是怎么做到的. 你太好了.”

我说:“我应该像你一样坚强一点。.

她微笑着摇了摇头. “没门. 你不会想要那样的.”

但也许我真的想这样.

汤米进来了,在院子里干活,汗流浃背. 他对阿什丽说:“你知道,你可以出来请我喝一杯.”

“你本来可以问的,”阿什丽说. “我不知道你在想什么.”

“你真是帮了大忙. 我想我得自己去买.他拿了一个大杯子,打开冰箱,抓了一把冰.

阿什丽看着我. 我耸耸肩,对她笑了笑. 特洛伊走进厨房说:“伙计们,怎么了?“他很敏感,能闻到冲突的味道. 他是hg888皇冠手机版当中最好的, 每顿饭前祷告:“hg888皇冠手机版交叠双手, hg888皇冠手机版低下头, 因hg888皇冠手机版日用的食物,hg888皇冠手机版感谢神. 阿门.”

I taught the prayer to my friends at the Women’s Club, 而且 we say it every time we go out to eat. 我为特洛伊感到骄傲,但也很担心. 你不能不担心.

“什么也没发生,”汤米说. “我需要人帮我拔草. 穿上鞋子.”

汤米怒气冲冲地下楼去叫醒艾米丽. 这些天她一直待在自己的房间里. Whenever she comes upstairs, her eyes look heavy, her hair a little dirty. 如果她笑了,那是软弱的微笑. 也许她也需要一些药.

Last week, I asked 阿希利 if 艾米丽 was okay 而且 she said, “We’re taking care of it.”

我所能做的就是为每个人的健康祈祷. 我一直在为hg888皇冠手机版祈祷.

. . .

教堂是hg888皇冠手机版全家唯一真正在一起的时候. 就像我说的,特洛伊祭坛服务. 在搬家之前,艾米丽是唱诗班的. 阿希利 is a Eucharistic minister so she holds the gold plate or the metal cup with fake jewels 而且 说 either “the body of Christ” or “the blood of Christ.她给每个人一个微笑, like she’s offering them a meal at her house that she’s been preparing all day.

Afterwards, we go to the Golden Corner 而且 have coffee 而且 pancakes 而且 bacon 而且 hashbrowns. 阿什丽吃的是蛋白蛋卷配水果. 人们一定认为hg888皇冠手机版是一个完美的家庭, 而且 when my friends 而且 people I barely know come up to us 而且 say how wonderful it is that Troy serves every week 而且 ask how John 而且 I are 做, 我自己都快相信了.

他们对阿什丽微笑,告诉她她做得很好, 她后来告诉我她不明白. “我不是真的 上面的任何东西,”她说.

我告诉她服务是很重要的,她就是这么做的. “总得有人这么做,对吧?”

她微笑着说,是的,她猜那是真的.

. . .

在这个季节的第一天,做完礼拜,吃完早餐, 阿什丽戴着紫色手套洗碗, 趴在水槽上. 我问她一些无关紧要的事. 她看着我,我知道她没有听到. “你脸色苍白,”我说. “我觉得你压力太大了.(他们整个星期都在储物柜里来来回回).

She starts crying, wipes her nose with the purple glove, 而且 说 it’s more than that. 她坐在我旁边的桌子上. “汤米不想让我告诉你,但我还是要说出来. 我流产了.”

“哦,哇,”我说. “亲爱的上帝.”

I want to give her a tissue, but there’s nothing on the table, not even a napkin. 我从来没有在需要的时候得到我需要的东西.

I st而且 up as best as I can, hold onto the table, 而且 put my free arm around her. 她挪开身子,揉了揉眼睛,手套还戴在手上. They are big gloves 而且 make her look like she’s ready to h而且le something hazardous.

“他怪我,”她说,在椅子上蜷起双腿.

我是汤米. He always blamed us for how he turned out; he said we held him back by convincing him not to join the Marines like my brother. 有一次我问他,“你还要怪hg888皇冠手机版多久,汤米?他没有回答这个问题. 问题总是比答案多.

我坐回阿什丽身边,告诉她我的两次思念. The doctor said it might be because of the Factor Five 而且 that I should tell my kids about it because it might be part of them, 太, 而且 that’s the scariest thought: something in me I didn’t even know was there striking out to curse them. 但我的孩子们不想听.

“爸爸因为这些事责怪你了吗??“阿希利问. 她现在可能快三十岁了, 但她看起来像个孩子, 她的棕色眼睛深邃而悲伤, 她用手套擦过的鼻子有点湿.

“感谢上帝,不.“我还能说什么呢?

她又哭了,而且似乎无法停止.

还有汤米在厨房门口. 他比约翰高,所以他有六尺五.“他填补了他周围的空间. Now that he has so little hair, his eyes seem big 而且, when he isn’t smiling, almost mean. 他现在不笑了,但他看起来也不生气.

他向hg888皇冠手机版走来,把他的胳膊搭在我的肩上. “嘿,妈妈,”他说,然后转向阿什丽. 他搂着她.

她对他耸耸肩,称他为“混蛋”.她说:“你知道我为了来这里放弃了什么。? I 那所房子. hg888皇冠手机版的卧室俯瞰着那棵木兰树. hg888皇冠手机版有多余的房间. 现在,我住在一个该死的鞋盒里.”

“那棵树一团糟,阿什. 你知道它. All those blooms turned brown like turds 而且 you’d freak out whenever we tracked them in the house. 别把它弄亮——”

“现在这.她把手放在肚子上. “你竟敢责备我.”

她猛击桌子. The plastic napkin holder stuffed with napkins 而且 the salt shaker take flight across the room. 盐瓶像鸡蛋一样裂开.

她起身向门口走去,但汤米挡住了她. 他搂着她,弯下腰吻她的头发.

“对不起,阿什,”他说. “hg888皇冠手机版可以再试一次.”

她推他. “我不想再试了. 我需要小睡一会儿.”

汤米让她走了. 我和他对视了一会儿. 我想问问他怎么变成这样的. I thought 阿希利 wanted to be here, wanted the good schools 而且 lower taxes. 她告诉我她埋葬了圣. 约瑟夫倒立在她的前院帮他们卖房子.

汤米走了,我得自己收拾盐瓶. 我会往左肩上扔一些,祈求好运.

. . .

阿什丽说运气会耗尽,她是对的. Just before August, John gets sick, first just a cold, then bronchitis, then pneumonia. 他不让我和汤米带他去医院, but then he got so sick he couldn’t st而且 up straight 而且 Tommy said he was through with him being “f—ing stubborn” 而且 drove him himself.

It’s hard to see John with all the tubes attached to his h而且 而且 the bruises on his arms from the blood thinners. For the first time maybe, I underst而且 that I might have to live life without him. With the exception of Margie, all my friends’ 而且 sisters’ husb而且s are dead.

他们让约翰出院的前一天晚上, I rest in the chair beside his bed 而且 watch him sleep with this mouth open, 打鼾略, 他的头发在床垫上乱成一团泡沫. 我想起来了,在我第一次失手之后, 就在我生下玛丽安后不久, 他说我应该多休息. He brought home all kinds of fruits, mostly oranges, 而且 said I needed more vitamins. “你不够健康,”他说. 我哭个不停. 我哭了好几天,也不知道为什么.

我能听到咔咔声. 汤米哭.

hg888皇冠手机版到家后不久, we’re sitting at the kitchen table 而且 阿希利 keeps asking John if he needs anything. 最后他要了一个橘子. 她下楼拿了一个. 她站在水池边,剥着它.

. . .

我也会生病,没那么严重,但足以需要抗生素. hg888皇冠手机版不能去教堂了. 后的质量, 阿什丽把圣餐带到hg888皇冠手机版的房间, 里面堆满了她都进不去的东西. (Tommy 说 our room smells; he sprays it every day with Lysol 而且 说 we need to get rid of more “sh-t.”)

约翰试着在床上坐起来,但做不到. 阿什丽伸出手,但他不接. I know what he’s thinking: how does it look, this little pint pulling him up?

“我很尴尬,”他说.

“别这样,”她说. “hg888皇冠手机版都需要帮助. 我爱你.”

“我也爱你,”他说,喉咙里有痰.

她拉着他半坐着, 从小铜盒里取出一片晶圆, 放在他的舌头上.

She comes to my side of the bed 而且 holds up the wafer like it’s everything I could want in the world 而且 sets it in my palm. “基督的身体,”她说.

我划十字,说"阿门"然后把薄饼放在舌头上. 因为它在我的上颚变成了一团黏糊糊的东西, 我想到身体会因为疾病和悲伤而融化. 祭司们说:身体死了,灵魂还在. 阿希利 once told me I have a strong spirit, stronger than she’d ever have. Well, I’m not sure I believe her, but it was nice to hear from this tough little lady.

My older sister Helen 说 to count your blessings 而且 also that you never can tell where the blessings will come from. Ages ago, her little Tessy, not yet two years-old, 太k a seizure 而且 passed on. 然而海伦从未停止信仰上帝,所以我通过她相信上帝. If 阿希利 说 my spirit is strong, well, maybe she can believe in God through me.

阿什丽问hg888皇冠手机版是否需要什么. 约翰让她打开电视. She clicks it on 而且 the hazy light makes the room seem even smaller with all the boxes stacked in every corner; they block the closet 而且 dresser. hg888皇冠手机版老了,太老了,这些东西会比hg888皇冠手机版活得更久. 也许这房间像汤米说的那样有火灾隐患, 但上帝说的是实话, 担心这件事是没有意义的.

. . .

The next morning, I make it out to the kitchen to get my coffee 而且 see a St. 裘德祈祷卡 on one of the table’s placemats, trapped in shiny plastic, protected from harm.

这就是阿什丽.


Christine 修从事高中英语教学已经超过18年. 她和六口之家住在新泽西. Other than reading 而且 writing, she enjoys spending time with family 而且 exercising before dawn. Her work has been published in Flash 小说 Magazine 而且 is forthcoming in Scribble. 她自己hg888皇冠了短篇小说《hg888皇冠手机版》.