时间:2020-04-09 来源:文都网校 浏览: 分享:



      We chased the "Kochi", the nomads who passedthrough Kabul on their way to the mountains of thenorth. We would hear their caravans approaching ourneighborhood, the mewling of their sheep, the "baaing" of their goats, the jingle of bells aroundtheir camels' necks. We'd run outside to watch thecaravan plod through our street, men with dusty, weather-beaten faces and women dressed in long, colorful shawls, beads, and silver bracelets aroundtheir wrists and ankles. We hurled pebbles at theirgoats. We squirted water on their mules. I'd makeHassan sit on the Wall of Ailing Corn and fire pebbles with his slingshot at the camels' rears.


      We saw our first Western together, "Rio Bravo" with John Wayne, at the Cinema Park, across thestreet from my favorite bookstore. I remember begging Baba to take us to Iran so we couldmeet John Wayne. Baba burst out in gales of his deepthroated laughter--a sound not unlike atruck engine revving up--and, when he could talk again, explained to us the concept of voicedubbing. Hassan and I were stunned. Dazed. John Wayne didn't really speak Farsi and he wasn'tIranian! He was American, just like the friendly, longhaired men and women we always sawhanging around in Kabul, dressed in their tattered, brightly colored shirts. We saw "Rio Bravo" three times, but we saw our favorite Western, "The Magnificent Seven", thirteen times. Witheach viewing, we cried at the end when the Mexican kids buried Charles Bronson--who, as itturned out, wasn't Iranian either.


      We took strolls in the musty-smelling bazaars of the Shar-e-Nau section of Kabul, or the newcity, west of the Wazir Akbar Khan district. We talked about whatever film we had just seenand walked amid the bustling crowds of "bazarris". We snaked our way among the merchantsand the beggars, wandered through narrow alleys cramped with rows of tiny, tightly packedstalls. Baba gave us each a weekly allowance of ten Afghanis and we spent it on warm Coca-Cola and rosewater ice cream topped with crushed pistachios.


      During the school year, we had a daily routine. By the time I dragged myself out of bed andlumbered to the bathroom, Hassan had already washed up, prayed the morning "namaz" withAli, and prepared my breakfast: hot black tea with three sugar cubes and a slice of toasted "naan" topped with my favorite sour cherry marmalade, all neatly placed on the dining table. While I ate and complained about homework, Hassan made my bed, polished my shoes, ironedmy outfit for the day, packed my books and pencils. I'd hear him singing to himself in thefoyer as he ironed, singing old Hazara songs in his nasal voice. Then, Baba and I drove off inhis black Ford Mustang--a car that drew envious looks everywhere because it was the same carSteve McQueen had driven in "Bullitt", a film that played in one theater for six months. Hassanstayed Home and helped Ali with the day's chores: hand-washing dirty clothes and hangingthem to dry in the yard, sweeping the floors, buying fresh "naan" from the bazaar, marinatingmeat for dinner, watering the lawn.

      上学那些年,我们每日有固定的程式。每当我从床上爬起来,拖拖沓沓走向卫生间,哈桑早已洗漱完毕,跟阿里做完早晨的祈祷,帮我弄好早餐:加了三块方糖的热红茶,一片涂着我最 爱吃的樱桃酱的馕饼,所有这些整整齐齐地摆在桌子上。我边吃边抱怨功课,哈桑收拾我的床铺,擦亮我的鞋子,熨好我那天要穿的衣服,替我放好课本和铅笔。我听见他在门廊边熨衣服边唱歌,用他那带鼻音的嗓子唱着古老的哈扎拉歌曲。然后,爸爸和我出发,开着他的福特野马轿车--会引来艳羡的目光,因为当时有部叫《警网铁金刚》的电影在电影院已经上映了半年,主角史蒂夫·麦奎因在影片中就开这种车。哈桑留在家里,帮阿里做些杂务:用手将脏衣服洗干净,然后在院子里晾干;拖地板;去市场买刚出炉的馕饼;给晚餐准备腌肉;浇灌草坪。

      After school, Hassan and I met up, grabbed a book, and trotted up a bowl-shaped hill justnorth of my father's property in Wazir Akbar Khan. There was an old abandoned cemetery atopthe hill with rows of unmarked headstones and tangles of brushwood clogging the aisles. Seasons of rain and snow had turned the iron gate rusty and left the cemetery's low white stonewalls in decay. There was a pomegranate tree near the entrance to the cemetery. One summerday, I used one of Ali's kitchen knives to carve our names on it: "Amir and Hassan, the sultansof Kabul. Those words made it formal: the tree was ours. After school, Hassan and I climbed itsbranches and snatched its bloodred pomegranates. After we'd eaten the fruit and wiped ourhands on the grass, I would read to Hassan.


      Sitting cross-legged, sunlight and shadows ofpomegranate leaves dancing on his face, Hassanabsently plucked blades of grass from the ground asI read him stories he couldn't read for himself. ThatHassan would grow up illiterate like Ali and mostHazaras had been decided the minute he had beenborn, perhaps even the moment he had beenconceived in Sanaubar's unwelcoming womb--afterall, what use did a servant have for the written word? But despite his illiteracy, or maybe because of it, Hassan was drawn to the mystery of words, seducedby a secret world forbidden to him. I read him poems and stories, sometimes riddles--though Istopped reading those when I saw he was far better at solving them than I was. So I read himunchallenging things, like the misadventures of the bumbling Mullah Nasruddin and his d&111nkey. We sat for hours under that tree, sat there until the sun faded in the west, and still Hassaninsisted we had enough daylight for one more story, one more chapter.


      My favorite part of reading to Hassan was when we came across a big word that he didn't know. I'd tease him, expose his ignorance. One time, I was reading him a Mullah Nasruddin storyand he stopped me. "What does that word mean?"


      "Which one?"




      "You don't know what it means?"I said, grinning.


      "Nay, Amir agha."


      "But it's such a common word!"


      "Still, I don't know it."If he felt the sting of my tease, his smiling face didn't show it.


      "Well, everyone in my school knows what it means,"I said. "Let's see. ‘Imbecile.'It meanssmart, intelligent. I'll use it in a sentence for you. ‘When it comes to words, Hassan is animbecile.'"


      "Aaah,"he said, nodding.


      I would always feel guilty about it later. So I'd try to make up for it by giving him one of myold shirts or a broken toy. I would tell myself that was amends enough for a harmless prank.


      Hassan's favorite book by far was the _Shahnamah_, the tenth-century epic of ancient Persianheroes. He liked all of the chapters, the shahs of old, Feridoun, Zal, and Rudabeh. But hisfavorite story, and mine, was "Rostam and Sohrab,?the tale of the great warrior Rostam andhis fleet-footed horse, Rakhsh. Rostam mortally wounds his valiant nemesis, Sohrab, in battle, only to discover that Sohrab is his long-lost son. Stricken with grief, Rostam hears his son'sdying words:


      If thou art indeed my father, then hast thou stained thy sword in the life-blood of thy son. Andthou didst it of thine obstinacy. For I sought to turn thee unto love, and I implored of thee thyname, for I thought to behold in thee the tokens recounted of my mother. But I appealed untothy heart in vain, and now is the time gone for meeting...


      "Read it again please, Amir agha,"Hassan would say. Sometimes tears pooled in Hassan's eyesas I read him this passage, and I always wondered whom he wept for, the grief-strickenRostam who tears his clothes and covers his head with ashes, or the dying Sohrab who onlylonged for his father's love? Personally, I couldn't see the tragedy in Rostam's fate. After all, didn't all fathers in their secret hearts harbor a desire to kill their sons?


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