Friday, 17 December 2010

Heaven (Part 1 of 2)

Heaven is available in printed form in the "Hong Kong Stories - As We See It" anthology:




Heaven (part 1 of 2)

After Gabriel fades out of sight, I let out a heavily muffled mental murmur: “So long you prissy feathery prig . . .” The juvenile remark, so unlike me, feels great.

So, this is my Day Number One of Eternal Life . . .  
I can still smell the sanitised odour of the urine bag that hung from my deathbed, and feel the warmth of soiled diaper creeping inside the prickly hospital blanket. The squeaky weeping of Elena, and the droning prayers of our son Rev. Kelvin Lee (II) still ring in my ears. And I can’t stop the phantom pulses of the monitors I was plugged into, like a car being checked at the garage. I have no idea what these things were, but had long realised they were futile. 

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Short Story: Heaven (Part 2 of 2)


I tried not to let my frustrations show. After a brief pause, I changed  the subject once more: “What about Jesus?”
“What about Him?”
“I’ve been His devout follower all my life. Can I meet Him?” I could hear my pious and reverent voice hardening but was hopeful that the situation might improve if I could meet Christ in person.
Gabriel sat down somberly in an invisible armchair, and signalled me to do the same. I lowered myself cautiously into a sitting position. I couldn’t feel any supporting furniture, or the strain of hunkering down. I finally let go completely, and came to rest in a sitting position. There are some neat things in Heaven after all.

Monday, 13 December 2010

小说 “笙歌” 第贰章 之(六) “生死之谜”



 第贰章  之(六)
生死之謎

大概 由於心理作用吧,超聲波掃描後,夏麗經常發幾個重復噩夢。在其中一個夢境,她獨自裸體在一片無際平原奔跑,逃避一股冰寒的龍卷白煙。人怎跑得過龍捲風呢?她被追上了。龍卷煙往她體內鑽。她很快被透心寒氣完全佔有,感覺呼吸困難。肉體上的快感,令她加倍慌亂。她無力反抗,也沒有反抗的意志,只有閉目接受,有次竟然尿了床。

在另一個怪夢中,她在床上分娩。一個小木乃伊在沒有絲毫感覺下隨著一口灰塵噴了出來,躺在她雙腿之間。小木乃伊無聲無息,動也不動,不知是死是活。周圍站滿了人:醫生,護士,宋煥,玲娜等都在,連她不大認識的外祖母也在。大家望著小孩指手畫腳,頻頻點頭,輕聲交談,但沒有人把他抱起,或轉頭看夏麗一眼。夏麗想坐起來抱小木乃伊,但全身動彈不得。她急得歇斯底里地破聲大喊:「把孩子給我!」 一直喊到驚醒,渾身冷汗,淚流滿面。
 
夢境有意思嗎?巫師們說有,大心理學家也說有,宗教家也說有。但這些纏繞她的夢是什麼意思呢?是生命的預告?死亡的啓示?兩者之間的糾纏?糾纏什麼呢?
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Thursday, 9 December 2010

天堂 (上集)




我等到加百利完全消失在茫茫煙霞中之後,才鼓起勇氣,在心底里的最深一角喃喃的牢騷了幾句:「再見啦天庭公公。人不象人,鴿不象鴿, 陰陽怪氣,小心給飛機撞散哦 。。。」 如此幼稚不敬的想法,一點也不像我的所為。不過這無聊的深心一咒,卻很實在地舒緩了我胸中的慪氣,令整個靈魂貼服了少許。

哎,這不過是我得享永生的第一

我估計自己死了大概二十個小時左右吧。

鼻子里還依稀有陣多年來長伴床邊的尿袋的氣味;做夢也想不到竟然會有懷念那股臊臭味的一天。醫院裡的尿味跟外面的不同,好像脫過氮,混雜了病房特有的消毒味道,有種不自然的回味,特別令人作悶。兩者相比,我是比較情願公廁尿那種濃烈實在,直截了當,尿就是尿的臭。

我的雙腿正在騰雲駕霧。但虛無縹緲的褲襠里,仍然隱約感覺到一塊濕透了的尿布,散髮著縷縷熱氣,在粗毛毯下挪動,摸索出路。老婆略帶誇張的啜泣和阿仔喃喃喃喃的禱告,亦猶在耳邊。更難忘的,是多年來與我息息雙連,日以繼夜地催促著我心跳的各種先進設備。沒有了它們的電子脈搏,我感覺到渾身也不踏實。

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

小说 “笙歌” 第贰章 之(五) “BB 小唐”


一共有來自八個國家的十二位頂尖專家負責照顧夏麗。反正搞婦產科的大夫們平時都閒著。

政府搞了本小冊子,長12頁,除了沒有鳴謝支持單位和贊助商外,咋看会以为是歌劇場刊。開場白由香港特首和芬蘭領事一唱一和地宣佈即將出生的小生命,將會為全人類帶來友愛,希望,繁榮昌盛等數不盡的好處。接著的詳細工作清單,逐項表明政府已經盡了最大努力,把準備工夫做到最好。假如仍有差錯,乃屬不幸,與當局無關。

册子附有專家們的像片和履歷。专家们個個身穿白袍,頸上吊著聽診器,面上掛著大同小異的專業笑容:鎮定,自信,親切中帶幾分冷漠。領隊黃鐵龍醫生,雖然談不上什麼國際知名度,但由於土生土長,所以由他掛名領班。首席麻醉師是芬蘭的 Dr. Nelimarkka。還有一大堆來自中國大陸,歐洲和美國(全世界那裏有人生仔,美國都會要求派員參加監視)的專家,陣容鼎盛。

除了醫生,還有數不清的護士和助產士。警察把整個瑪利醫院婦產科都包圍了。被拒於門外的還有記者和看熱鬧的人群。難怪夏麗透不過氣了。

方圓最少一千公里內,夏麗是唯一的孕婦。瑪利醫院的婦產科,平日除了偶然來個白撞或思覺失調的病人外,根本無人光顧。政府索性把整棟大樓徵用來給夏麗生產,以示隆重。社會上本來有聲音要把婦產科殺掉,或者吸納到忙得要死,卻一事無成的生育科,以省公帑。但院方和政府一直反對,認為關掉產科在原則和心理上不能接受。夏麗的懷孕,替政府挽回不少面子。

為了接待夏麗,院方首先把中央通風系統重新設計安裝,把婦產科與醫院其它部分隔離。上次婦產科大派用場是三年前的事,主角叫BB小唐,出來幾天就死掉了。雖然可惜,但也屬意料中事。過去幾年來,全世界絕大部分的嬰孩都活不到一歲。但香港市民認為應該傷心憤怒的時候,掃興的理論和分析都不聽不入耳。

好好的一個 BB,幾天就死掉了。誰來負責?
沒錯!肯定有人要負責!

哪,還用說?

有人問:“嗯,會不會是通風系統交叉感染呢?”

大部分人起初都不明白甚麼是交叉感染,但這個推測相對容易理解,交叉感染四個字又好上口,於是很快便傳得很開,交叉感染就這樣變成了事實。

“那就是疏忽!無能!” 大家讓著要找人背黑鍋,以洩心頭之憤。還是院長蘇醫生反應敏捷,有理無理衝上電視台鞠躬,認錯落淚,先發制人,才保住了烏紗和勉強平息了風波。

這次,蘇院長可決心不再做代罪羔羊了。政府也決定全力支持:寧可掛萬,不能漏一。做多了,花的是納稅人的錢。動作不足,受害的是公務員。利害如此鮮明,唯一的選擇是不惜工本。據說特首親自下了命令:“不要跟我說盡了力!光盡力是不夠的。要過火!越過越好,以方便市民見證。” 只要宋家母子能夠活著離開醫院,便算大功告成。回家後各安天命,一切與政府無關了。

說到嬰兒死亡率,也的確夠人心寒。

過去三年來,全球嬰兒死亡率暫時是百分之八十二。一共八百四十四個出生嬰兒當中,只有一百四十七個活過了週歲。還有五個寶貝的父母,正在戰戰兢兢地等待著這個離奇關口的來臨。如果將紀錄拉長一點看,過去十年的死亡率是百分之三十七,也夠恐怖。想當年,在香港出生的嬰兒,一千個裏面最多死兩三個。想不到在過去的五年內,香港只生了兩個,便死掉兩個。用聯合國的報告單位來說,是每一千死一千, 百分百。

BB小唐是最近的一個。活了不足七十小時便死在這設備一流的醫院裏。名醫和老師們都在場,卻也反魂無術。死因是急性肺炎。

又是肺炎?!

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2010年12月 7 日 於过渡网发表
2017年11月修訂版

天堂 (下集)

(上回鏈接: 「天堂」上集

聽到後我十分沮喪;茫茫魂海,叫我到哪裡去找我的親人呢?但我仍然勉強保持沈著,心想只要見到耶穌,便有解救。於是問道:「哪麼敢問天使長,我怎樣才可以見到我主耶穌基督呢?」

「你想見他乾嘛?」

「我生前是基督精兵,現在想見見他,不合理嗎?」 在短短的幾個小時內,我本來虔誠溫厚的專業傳道聲線,已經變得有點僵硬,隱隱地拖著絕望和沮喪的尾音;連我自己也聽得出來。

加百利原地坐下,身後好像有張無形沙發把他接個正著。

他揮手示意我也坐下來。我小心翼翼地蹲下去,雖然感覺不到屁股下面有什麼傢具支撐,但放膽把全身放鬆之後,竟然很自然地凌空架著,挺舒服。哈!終於發現天堂也有些過癮的地方啦!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Wikileaks' Crimes


Julian Assange of Wikileaks, and Bradley Manning, an American soldier who’s been accused of a leaky conscience and is currently in prison in Virginia, are being ruthlessly persecuted by a Coalition of the Desperately Willing more impressive than the one that invaded Iraq. Assange is also being accused of rape. Many governments seem to be giving unprecedented attention to the felony of rape. I can’t recall another suspect being pursued with such spectacular ferocity and sweating foreheads. Can you? 
Whether Assange had indeed raped another human being is not for me to speculate. Most people have given their verdict one way or the other anyway. However, he has indeed forcibly screwed a very self-righteous system, damaging its verbose facade on all sorts of inviolable principles: Human rights, government integrity, political openness, accountability, and freedom of information and expression. He has flashed light at a dark corner, exposing hypocrisy without consent. I can understand why those unveiled feel assaulted naked - feeling on the receiving end of a molestation for a change. Furthermore, if the charge against him is fabricated, like many cynical people conjecture, then Mr. Assange should in addition be guilty of having indirectly defiled the pretence of the rule of law and respect for justice. Unforgivable, really, therefore: Crucify him! Crucify him! 
I have never met a rapist; but if I were a movie director casting for one, Julian Assange has very little chance. I might pick him for an assassin, a hacker, or math professor with a turbulent home life, but rapist . . . ? Ah, I might pick him for a Nobel laureate though. Why not? In comparison with Al Gore, uh, Dalai Lama, uh,  Obama and, uh, uh, Liu Xiao Bo . . . I’d find it much easier to compose Mr. Assange’s nomination. Before downloading a Peace Prize application, however, we need to make sure he stays alive. On that, all we can do is pray and plead: “We ask the United States to respect the freedom of information and other miscellaneous nobel principles that they hold sacred, and stop using their national might to persecute a single individual (weighing, what, 170 lbs.?) for putting some of these principles into action. Finally, Mr. Assange and Manning have the prayer of the international community, mumble jumble. God bless. Mumble jumble.”

维基泄密的罪行


维基泄密的创办人 阿桑奇 和一名23岁美军 曼宁(在狱中)正被以美国为首的联军追捕,参加围剿的国家比抢占伊拉克的盟国要多。听说阿桑奇还犯了强奸案,所以要出动八国联军和国际刑警缉捕。也不知什么时候开始,盟军对强奸罪的打击决心,提升到这么高的层面,要最高领导人来亲自掌舵处理。
阿桑奇有没有强奸另一个人类,我没有兴趣猜测。反正明眼人有明眼人各自的偏见。但维基泄密未得同意,奸污了一套自我赞口不绝的价值观,倒是事实。一个捍卫人权,绝对开放,讲求诚信,推崇资讯自由,表达自由的贞洁国度,被他在世人面前公然调戏了,也是有目共睹的。维基泄密虽然没有做到 “一灯灭了千年暗”,但未得同意,往人家不可侵犯的的黑暗角落打手电筒,把别人多年来辛苦经营的假面具揭掉,让真相赤裸裸地暴露,也等同强奸,理应问斩。假如阿桑奇强奸人类的罪名是生安白造出来的话,哪他更罪加一等:因为间接导致了美国亵渎了神性的法治精神,实属罪无可恕。
我从没有机会见过强奸犯。不过假如我要拍电影,想物色演员扮强奸犯的话,老实说,阿桑奇中选的机会不大。找他扮个冷面杀手,或有点神经质的大学教授,还有几分像样 。 。 。嗯,捧他当个诺贝尔和平奖得主又如何?他的提名表格,肯定比戈尔,达赖,奥巴马,刘晓波的都好作,容易填,对不对?但要他有机会拿和平奖,得首先保证他的生命安全。这点我们都没甚法子,唯有祈求美国,不要以泱泱大国,欺负一个看来不够八十公斤重的个体户。用他们的惯用口吻来说,便是:“国际社会要求美国当局尊重人权,言论自由,表达自由,立即停止对捍卫以上原则的人仕进行逼害。”

Monday, 29 November 2010

小说 “笙歌” 第贰章 之(四) “照鬼超声波”


第二章之四
照鬼超聲波
“竹毛冷?”玲娜出奇地問:“竹子也可以造毛冷的嗎?”

“可以,怕有幾十年歷史了。” 口氣中沒有絲毫不耐煩或者覺得媽媽無知。

媽媽不加思索地又補上一句:“就是顏色比較單調。”

夏麗心想:“我的媽呀,你三分種前才說這毛線很漂亮!” 但口裏還是慢條斯理地解釋著: “我故意挑中性顏色,男女合穿,彈性較大。”

除了准媽媽夏麗之外,差不多全世界都知道即將面世的寶貝是個男孩,但沒有人夠膽向她透露。玲娜很瞭解和尊重女兒的心意。與自己的孩子初次見面,是人生最珍貴的一刻,不應該把這分驚喜刻意破壞。然而那珍貴的一刻,亦是最令人擔心的一刻。小男孫會活著出來嗎。。。?


夏麗不許任何人在她面前猜度孩子的性別。醫生們看兩眼超聲幻影便當了自己是神仙,能知過去未來,其實不過白日見鬼。超聲波那東西本來就是照鬼鏡。她懷孕三個多月的時候,帶著緊張好奇的心情和宋煥第一次去照超聲波。誰知螢光屏上出現的小胚胎令她失望,震驚,傷心,甚至毛骨悚然。

一團灰中帶粉紅的肉瘤,浮沈在屏幕玻璃後面,毫無生氣,像隻泡在河面的爛蘿蔔,又像剝了皮的死老鼠。模糊的頭部,大得不合比例。手腳看上去幼小無力。其中一隻手以太空漫步的姿態擺了幾下,懶洋洋地向大家揮了一揮。

甚麼新生命!這鬼東西很老,老得很!

未打 “照鬼鏡” 之前,夏麗本來覺得腹中這塊肉無論肉體靈魂都是自己一部分。但浮現眼前的卻是個不慌不忙,在她體內吐吶養神的老幽靈,一隻準備借她的身體搞投胎的野鬼!她看了兩眼便無法看下去。淚水一下子忍不住湧出來。未經過專業訓練,她和宋煥當然看不出死老鼠是男是女。

“夏麗,好消息:看來一切良好。是不是很想知道小寶寶是仔仔還是女女呢? ” 黃醫生用專業口吻,得意地賣了個關子。 

“你不用說!我不想聽!” 夏麗重重的一句,把黃醫生的興致硬邦邦地截斷。黃大夫還未反應過來,她便接著發命令:“叫其它人也不要自作聰明,在我面前猜三度四。是男是女,生了出來自有分曉。到時用不著專家幫忙,我自己懂得鑒定。”

黃醫生給夏麗突如其來的連環悶棍打了幾下,默不作聲,像個鬧脾氣的小孩子。他望著表情尷尬的宋煥,示意著:“老兄,老婆是你的?那麼凶,你來應付吧。”

宋煥本來對這最新一代的三維空間超聲波掃描技術很有興趣,想借機跟黃醫生交流一下。現在事態有變,只有把好奇暫且擱置,把老婆的心情平復了再說:“你放心。這點我來保證。”

夏麗聽了老公的保證,才平靜下來。

她一閉上眼睛,腦海頓時充滿了剛才的鬼影。它胸有成竹地向她招手,似乎在取笑外面的人。

老子要來要去,變男變女,你管得了嗎?

夏麗覺得自己只不過是個靈魂回收站,負責把這老幽魂的過去洗擦乾淨,重新組裝,翻新,包裝成一個新生命。。
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除了天氣預報,夏麗對一般的預測都興趣不大。

不論是星座運程,占卜算命,或者是統計推斷,聲波掃描,不管你當它是科學還是迷信,預測通常只會帶來無謂的不安和焦慮。凡事都有它的時候。時辰未到,只宜安心等待,盲猜瞎算沒好處。這人生態度本來頗有東方哲理,她老公卻偏偏沒有這種修養,甚麼都想預知,想計畫,反而要她這個鬼婆來平衡。

其實人就算偶憑僥倖或小聰明準確預測了未來,最終也不能改變事實。全球暖化就是個好例子。數據多的是,但搞政治拿主意的望著數據,不明所以,胡扯瞎鬧,利用來作秀或談判籌碼,結果甚麼實事也做不出來。最後除了氣候之外,其它通通不變,所有研究推測變成白費,簡直多餘。

夏麗希望那多餘的掃描,沒有影響在她體內成長的小寶貝。她肚裏的生命,跟黃醫生那長短波加混雜聲描出來的翻新遊魂是兩碼事。甚麼解像度,像元單位等一大串似是而非的名詞,用來形容宇宙間最神聖,最不可思議的一件事,何止荒謬,簡直放屁!

她打算叫她 Sonja —— 宋妮。夏麗不用甚麼鬼掃描也知道她是個女孩。可惜人們都情願相信機械,也不信媽媽的第六感。小宋妮在她肚子裏又暖又安全,翻身抓腳吃手指過日辰。不急,慢慢來,一切順應天時。時辰一到,自然相見,半秒不差。

見面的時辰既然未到,母女暫且分秒不離,合二為一。中國人說的什麼天地為一,萬物為一,心神合一,都是紙上談兵。有甚麼比媽媽和腹中骨肉的結合更實在,更自然,更徹底呢?雖然這二合一的重量都由她一個人負擔,實在有些吃力。

那麼重,會不會是個男的呢?

但夏麗心裏只有個小女孩,像個娃娃,令她想起自己的童年。自從懷孕後,夏麗對玲娜分外諒解,覺得媽媽的喜怒哀樂,希望和擔憂,突然間都較以往合理。夏麗一向很疼愛媽媽,只不過希望玲娜有些地方能夠改變一下。至於具體方面,怎麼講呢。。。算啦算啦,不講啦。

想到這裏,夏麗感到一陣溫馨直湧心頭。她抬頭看著玲娜,想起來繞過那巨大咖啡桌,吊著肚子把母親擁抱。剛好這時玲娜揉著肚皮,站起來準備去廁所:“唷,肚子感覺有些古怪。不會是吃錯了甚麼東西吧。。。”

哎喲!我剛才咒你拉肚子,只不過是無心牢騷,想不到那麼靈驗!真對不起哦媽媽!

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2010年11月 29 日 於过渡网发表
2017年11月修訂版

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Man’s Last Song Chapter 2-2: BREAD DELIVERY & 2-3 isä’s ASHES


Man’s Last Song Chapter 2-3:  isä’s ASHES

Alone in a frenziedly beeping airport, embroiled in foreign noises that droned without meaning, not even a rhythm, Laina felt dizzy. 
Why am I doing this? she asked herself, travelling so far away from her cosy apartment, the comfort of familiarity, from Heikki, to be stuck in the sticky time-zone of this clamorous terminal. 
All for Sari, she thinks. 
Her daughter was trapped by love at the end of the planet, in a dot of a place without dark rye bread. She had never been anywhere that didn’t have some form of ruisleipä. She couldn’t imagine. Help; her girl evidently needed help although she had no idea what on. And if Sari knew of her secretly helpful intentions . . . Alas.

Her baby girl was turning twenty-five in a few months, stolen by time, intoxicated with love, she was afraid. Afraid of what? Wasn’t that what she once searched? Why then was she worried? And Sari was twenty-five. 

Already twenty-five! 
Only twenty-five. 

So parlous: Still young, but threatened by age; still hopeful, but desperately tired. One day, it feels the exciting beginning of a new chapter. Next day, it feels the hasty ending of an unfinished book. What a critical turning point. So brutal. Better be there for her one and only daughter, her dearest person in this world, just in case.  
When Laina turned twenty-five, life was yet to begin. Quarter of a century had slipped by. Not much had happened. What was that something big she had been preparing for, while the body and spirit quietly started to wilt? A young and zestful girl woke up one morning to discover the shadow of an old woman in the mirror. Hidden; but she saw it. The realisation was abrupt, nearly shocking, and cruel. At twenty-five, she was only young in the eyes of those who didn’t matter. When exactly does middle-age start? The little girl lost grip of her dream.
Dream? What dream? 
She couldn’t say. Did she have one? Most certainly yes. It was here a moment ago,  yet . . . With each passing day, she became less sure that she’d ever had one. Her dreams had vanished like the soap bubbles her mother blew at her when she was little. So many, each with a rainbow on its skin. But she had never caught one. Blip. They never existed. She giggled.
What good is a young woman without dreams? Her surefooted steps to become somebody, achieve something or, perhaps, something else, never existed. Intoxicating love never existed. In their place loomed an uncompromising urgency. Hanging emptily. 

How did I live in a vacuum for so long without the smallest alarm? She was mortified. It was about time. Yes.
__________________
She married Sari’s father the following year. 
They grew up in the same neighbourhood. He had been in love ever since she could walk, and himself only a few years older. Evidently an infatuation carried over from a previous life. With drained blue eyes, he watched her drift in and out of his life over the years like the tides, unstoppable both ways, eroding his fragile heart. 
He had been her storm shelter. On a nice day, she would set sail and disappear beyond the horizon, frolicking into the bright blue sky cheerfully without a compass or destination. When it turned dark and windy, she’d rush back whimpering. He’d be there - still there - staring at the horizon, waiting. It’s Ok. Here, take the towel, dry yourself; have some warm coffee. She knew she could count on that much in life.
He was a book-keeper with the local supermarket. Steady, loyal and honest. Sensitive to others, everything, especially her. Never opinionated when he opened his mouth on rare occasions. Put all his attributes on a piece of paper, and you have a perfectly nice guy. “Too nice,” she’d said to her girlfriends. She was a salesgirl at the music store, envisaging a career in some kind of art. “A good match,” their friends said, but never elaborated why.
His reticence deepened after they married. A year later, just after Sari was born, he came down with postnatal depression in her stead. His love and hurt could not escape through words. Only vodka could release them through tears. The blue in his eyes started to run, and became more pale. He drank more and cried louder. 

The first Saturday after Sari’s fifth birthday was a beautiful and crispy early autumn day. The weather wasn’t to blame. He spent the afternoon drinking at home, weeping on and off, and condemning himself for that. The kitchen was saturated with sad vibes and the fume of alcohol. After putting Sari to bed, Laina leaned over his shoulders and whispered: “Pathetic” before going to bed, putting her head between pillows. He woke her up early next morning with a severe fit of cough, and died in the hospital fifteen hours later. The doctor said it was a particularly spontaneous and fatal strain of pneumonia. 
Even back then, it was pneumonia.
Laina decided to scatter her husband’s pulverised remains at the lake where his parents’ cottage was. “That’s what he’d have wanted. I know. I was his wife,” she wrote in his Facebook memorial.
It was cold and sunny. The wind was up. She took Sari out to the middle of the lake in the paddle boat. Their faces were numbed by the slashing wind. The wooden box provided by the crematorium sat heavily on her lap, giving the feeling of stability and contentment. She emptied the ashes into the wind without ceremony. Most of the sand-like remnants of the man who loved her under any circumstances got blown away in a hurry. She thought it ironic that after a lifetime of waiting and dithering, his last days had been hasty in every respect. A few heavier particles, probably dental fillings, made silent and negligible splashes. 
On the drive up, she had visualised his final ripples waning softly in his beloved lake, gently nudging up to her. It was to be her poetic farewell to his unconditional love, unmitigated melancholy, and pathetic sadness. Instead, everything rushed off with the wind, and denied her the last opportunity to have one romantic moment in their deceased marriage posthumously. 
“Say good-bye to your father,” she turned to her daughter, almost commanding. 
Sari was sitting beside her, stiffened by the lifejacket, frozen. She knew what this was all about, yet didn’t quite know what this was all about. 
Moi moi isä,” she complied. 
Laina flung the empty box off. It spun like a rectangular frisbee, landed with a crash.
Äiti, can we go now? I’m cold.”   
Laina wept for the first time in her marriage. He had monopolised crying. Now that he’s gone - flung off - she can again cry.
The next morning, they went down to the beach before heading home. Sari spotted the box in a patch of bulrushes. It’d been washed ashore last night. Laina threw it back out as hard as she could, propelled by an unreasonable annoyance with Sari for having noticed the damn thing. 
The wind had died down earlier. A light mist hovered above the still lake. The box made a crispy splash, shattering the morning silence. Startled gulls appeared out of nowhere, screeching like demons rejoicing their escape from hell, causing a rare moment of excitement in the tranquil northern air. The box, as if stunned by the violent rejection, undulated dazedly where it landed.

“Let’s go!” She grabbed Sari’s hand and started flouncing back to the car. Sari, half pulled along, turned to take another look at the box. Concentric ripples, gleaming softly in the lazy autumn light, rushed belatedly towards an empty beach. 
____________________________
Posted 23 Nov 2010 on Guo Du Blog

小说 “笙歌” 第贰章 之(二)“送面包” 和(三)“爸爸的骨灰”




送麵包

玲娜上次來香港是六年前的事了,那是她生平第一次離開歐洲。

女兒在大學專修國際貿易時,到上海一家芬蘭電子產品公司暑期實習。短短的幾個星期,她便跟香港去的工程師宋煥互相著迷。其實大部分的男女關係都屬一見鍾情。把戀愛拖長談無非作狀,培養信心和社會交待而已。夏麗回國後,他倆便經電郵繼續發展。宋煥只要抓到任何藉口,都會跑到芬蘭受訓學習,或開會交流。

2041年,夏麗移居香港。

女兒搬到地球的末端不過幾天,便發來驚人訊息:她希望媽媽寄她一些硬朗粗糙,營養豐富的芬蘭黑裸麥包。據說香港的麵包軟綿綿,白濛濛,吃到肚裏一陣空。媽媽收到要求,心如刀割。

這是甚麼鬼地方?黑裸麥包也沒有? 

她想起有關中國的電視新聞,好像都是負面的。當然,電視新聞一般都是負面的;好消息沒有市場。但她總得親眼看過才放心。第二天她訂了機票,把一個大行李箱塞滿黑裸麥包。雖然香港的名字很熟悉,但出發前夕她還是翻了一下地圖。唷!就只有一點,一個句號那麼大。裏面的人比整個芬蘭還要多,不可能吧!

坐長途機原來挺難受。赫爾辛基到曼谷一程還可以,乘務員都會芬蘭話,也有芬蘭作風,對她不大理睬,各有各坐飛機,高度尊重互相的私人空間。

在曼谷等轉機那三個小時卻認真受罪。

熱鬧的機場像個市集。形形種種的商鋪,五光十色,看得玲娜心花怒放。 到處都是人;每個人都在發聲。笑的笑,叫的叫,與寧靜得教人耳鳴的芬蘭相比,是兩個極端。

她從未見過那麼多絲綢。紅黃橙綠金,應有盡有,不應有的也有。平日在樸素的芬蘭穿可能太奪目,但出席音樂會的時候應該可以。她的男友霍啓今年六十歲,在管弦樂團拉大提琴,算是個音樂家,出公家糧的,也算是個公務員。他咿咿呀呀地拉琴可以吵上一天,人卻沈默寡言,坐到釘子上也不吭聲,是個典型的老派芬蘭男人。不過他心底裏不竟是個藝術家,喜歡創意。玲娜如果穿上耀眼的真絲晚服,孔雀般現身霍啓的音樂會,他肯定不會開口大贊,但會暗自歡喜。好!就來一套!

除了漂亮的真絲,好東西多著呢!精緻的茶具,相框,皮革,手袋,電子產品,用象牙雕的小榕樹,用榕樹頭雕的小笨象,她甚麼都想買。可惜這個聲浪世界只懂英,泰,華,日語。要衝破語言隔膜不但費勁,還很傷神,甚至傷心。玲娜除了芬蘭話,還懂瑞典話。英語嘛,用不著的時候還可以,到用得著的時候,一句也說不出來,於是甚麼也買不成。

三小時變了一百八十分鐘,一萬多秒:忐,忑,忐,忑 地捱過去。每捱過一秒,她便多添一分不安。學了哪麼多年英語,到哪啦?怎可能一句也派不上用場?她怪責自己從前不用功,出發前又不準備。機場的廣播系統似乎有重要宣佈,聲音很著急。急甚麼呢?她毫無頭緒。她平常很少哭。現在卻很想痛快地哭一場。她開始感覺到時差帶來的困倦,心內很不踏實。

四圍都是人,玲娜卻覺得前所未有地孤單。她問自己,為何要受這個折磨。為甚麼要離開熟悉的環境,親切的家和沈默的霍啓,千里昭昭來到這個機場市集鬧頭暈呢?
__________________


爸爸的骨灰

玲娜屈在經濟艙委屈了十多個小時,跨山越洋,上洗手間也要排隊,還不是為了母愛?女兒雖然已經有自己的家,但一個人身處異邦,一個連像樣的麵包也沒有的怪異之邦,做媽媽的可以就手旁觀嗎?

時間是生命的盜賊;再過幾個月女兒便二十五了。

對一個女人來說,二十五是個危險的尷尬年齡。她一方面還年輕,捨不得少女情懷,另一方面被時間迫得喘不過氣,要開始面對成熟的負累。心情好的時候,二十五是精彩人生的開始。不好的時候,二十五是懸崖的盡頭,前路急轉直下,一不留神還會掉進谷底,粉身碎骨。

玲娜二十五歲時就十分迷糊。

昨天還好好的在準備著迎接幸福來臨,不知怎的,一下子風起雲湧,一切都被黑蒙蒙的現實籠罩了。四分一個世紀溜走了,怎麼沒給她留下半片彩雲?多年的夢想凌亂地重疊著,真假難分。當她沈醉在青春美夢的時候,身體這叛徒不停在暗地裏謀反,到今天終於露出端倪了:在二十五歲的青春背後,有個老太婆鬼鬼祟祟,急著想出來當家作主。

別人可能看不見,但她自己不用鏡子也照得一清二楚。老太婆已經急不及待要現形,小女孩還想繼續做夢?

做夢?做甚麼夢?

她一下子竟然想不起她曾經做過甚麼夢。

人驚醒了,才發覺光陰已逝,連個像樣的夢也沒有發好,簡直枉費青春!

玲娜突然感到事態嚴峻!她的少女夢,就像小時候媽媽吹的肥皂泡,一個個在眼前飄走。不能抓。一抓便會爆破消失。如此不實在的東西,可能根本沒有存在過。擺在眼前是個模糊,絕情,不耐煩,冷冰冰,沒有斟酌餘地的現實。

沒錯,是時候啦。
__________________

幾個月後,玲娜便和夏麗的爸爸結婚了。

他倆一起長大,算是青梅竹馬。她才會走路,他便已經鬼上身似的著了迷,經常任她欺負,發刁蠻 。冤孽:很明顯是前世的冤孽,今生化為情緣償還,有冤報冤,有債還債。他碧藍的眼睛好像從未歇息過,下面掛著瘀藍色的眼袋,疲累得令人看見心酸。年復一年,他眼巴巴的看著她像潮水般在他的生命中往來。一下子湧進來,讓他充滿希望。一下子湧回去,消失得無影無蹤。她每次退潮還會有意無意在他脆弱的心靈上刮上一道血痕。連一句 “唷,不好意思,痛嗎?” 也沒有。

他也只能怪自己無條件的痴迷。玲娜和閨中密友談到他時,評價是:“人品還可以,就是可靠得有些煩!” 原來“可靠”也可以是一種罪過。外面勢頭好,她把他扔下便跑,眼也不眨。外面世情轉惡,她吃了虧,受了傷,便哭著回來。他反正風雨不改,老站在那裏傻乎乎地等。見她回來,便遞上毛巾給她搽眼淚。 

他肯定是個好男人:誠實可靠,是本區超市的出納。她在隔壁買樂器的小商店當售貨員,希望有一天能搞點藝術,碰個好運名利雙收。街坊們都說他們是天生一對,但沒有說明理由。他人特別溫厚,但心裏話總是說不出口。多喝了兩杯伏特加後,想說的話,要嘆的氣,都會化成眼淚外流。

結婚翌年,夏麗出生後,他陰差陽錯地患了“產後長期抑鬱”,開始越喝越多,越哭越傷心。夏麗五歲生日後的星期六是個風和日麗,秋高氣爽的日子。太陽還未下山,他便與伏特加和眼淚開始了一場生死搏鬥,把整個廚房搞得愁雲慘淡。玲娜吃過晚飯,等夏麗睡好後,抱著她哭泣的丈夫的頭,在耳邊說了句: “你不去死!”,才自己上床,用枕頭蓋著耳朵抱頭大睡。第二天清早,玲娜被他的咳嗽聲吵醒。十五個小時後,他便在醫院死去。醫生說是一種罕見的急性肺炎。原來肺炎在那個年代已經流行,並不是甚麼新的死亡藉口。只有玲娜知道他其實是聽自己話去死的。


在芬蘭,差不多每家每戶都有間湖濱渡假屋。湖多人少就有這個好處。他生前好像提過,也好像沒有提過,希望死後骨灰撒在陪他渡過童年的湖裏。玲娜決定假設他生前確有此意,好為他的終結抹上一點浪漫色彩。

北歐的初秋,是熙和陽光與凜冽寒風交替的時令,每天氣候不同,可以差異極大。撒灰那天,陽光與冷風都同時在場。玲娜帶著夏麗,踩著腳踏小船到湖中心。夏麗的面頰和耳朵給秋風刮麻了,冷冰冰的沒有感覺。火葬場給玲娜的木盒子,沈沈的壓在她大腿上。她第一次從丈夫身上得到一種說不出的穩重和安全感。

玲娜把盒蓋打開,本想跟骨灰說點甚麼,但找不到合適的話,唯有默默地把丈夫凌亂的殘渣在船邊撒入湖中。她本來希望有個詩意的道別,看著他的骨灰在湖面漾起柔波,一環一環地把她再次擁抱,一環一環地帶走他與生俱來的愛意和無盡的憂鬱。可惜天不做美;一陣疾風把他在人間最後的一口灰粗暴地吹走,未留半點依戀。

他一生人都在痴痴地等,為何到最後一刻要如此無情倉促呢?

玲娜轉過頭來望著夏麗,帶著命令的口氣:“跟爸說再會吧!”

救生衣把夏麗凍僵了的脖子磨搽得有點紅痛。五歲的她,大概知道發生了甚麼事,也大概不知道:“爸爸,拜拜。”

玲娜隨手把空盒拋得老遠。

“媽,我很冷。回去好嗎?”

玲娜哭了。六年來,她第一次流淚。哭一直是他的專利。現在他不在,玲娜可以再哭了。

第二天吃過早餐,把行李放上車後,玲娜拖著女兒到湖邊作最後道別。夏麗一眼便看到爸爸的骨灰盒在蘆葦堆中,大概是晚上被衝上岸的。玲娜把它撿起來,猛力一揮,再扔了出去。“別的不見你那麼眼利!” 她毫無道理地怪責女兒。

經過一晚上,風已吹竭。湖面平靜如鏡,蓋上了薄紗似的煙霞,與玲娜本來想像的情景很相似。盒子撞落水面,一聲脆響,嚇得幾隻水鳥從蘆葦間飛起,連聲尖叫,像成功逃出了鬼門關的冤魂,畫破了寂靜的北國晨空。


玲娜拖著夏麗的手,大步往車子的方向走去。夏麗給媽媽拉著,邊走邊回頭看。那盒子突然給無情地拋棄,好像覺得有些冤屈和不解,愕然地浮沈著,漾起一圈圈的微波,慢慢奔向岸邊。

  
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2010年11月 23 日 於过渡网发表
2017年11月修訂版