八月讀本:我知道你是個二流貨色,然而我愛你。

青春期的時候,我總是不明白為什麼小說裡面總得有人要死;我們可以談情說愛,可以有過度的痛苦卻不需要滅亡,我總是這樣的相信著。或者是後來 (不知道從那個時候開始),我卻相信一邊讀的時候一邊感到誰最終一定要離開,因為只有這種永不回來的離開才會對另外的人產生這種無辦法釋懷的情感牽繫。或者是在現實世界裡經歷了離開了的人以後永遠都再不回來,才真的意受到死亡怎樣的「消化」與「消耗」一個人。

我們每個人生在世界上都是孤獨的。」我對毛姆的關注始於《月亮和六便士》(1919);恰巧上月在台北誠品新書桌遇上 2017 年新譯的《面紗》(1925, 宋瑛堂譯),封面以襯花為背景,去掉了舊版如言情小說一樣土氣,拿起來一點都不像一百年前的故事。

主角兩個。一個是「無論你的個性如何,笨得那樣俗得那樣我都同樣愛你」,把對方愛得深切的連自己都再看不起自己;另一個卻是「就算你情操高尚愛我如斯,我卻無辦法把你愛上」,你是所有人眼裡最好的一個而我卻終究沒辦法愛上你。婚姻變成大家的墳墓,只有在其中一個人永遠不再回來的時候,才換成兩個人的解脫。愛與不愛,在這裡寫得明白、純粹如此。

他們永遠不可能幸福廝守,但分手必定難如登天。
They would never have been happy together and yet to part would have been terribly difficult.

女孩終究只不過喜歡那個永遠不願意為她付出的那個人,就算他由她去霍亂之地,就算她回來以後他只不過為打一炮;雖然無辦法真正擁有,但那個人確實給他一塊完整的愛情。在我眼裡,女孩終究不過像男孩一樣對自己愛人深切得讓自己無法看得起自己,對自己徹底的失望卻沒有死去的運氣。在我眼裡看來,那口裡說著的自由只不過是勉強的安慰,咬緊牙關安慰自己,將自己辦不來的事寄託下一代而已。

「我對你根本沒抱幻想。」他說道,「我知道你愚蠢,輕佻,頭腦空虛,然而我愛你。我知道你的企圖,你的理想,你勢力,庸俗,然後我愛你。我知道你是個二流貨色,然而我愛你。為了欣賞你所熱衷的那些玩意我竭盡全力,為了向你展示我並非不是無知,庸俗,閒言碎語,愚蠢至極,我煞費苦心。我知道智慧將會令你大驚失色,所以處處謹小慎微,務必表現得和你交往的任何男人一樣像個傻瓜。我知道你僅僅為了一己之私跟我結婚。我愛你如此之深,這我毫不在意。據我所知,人們在愛上一個人卻得不到回報時,往往感到傷心失望,繼而變成憤怒和尖刻。我不是那樣。我從未奢望你來愛我,我從未設想你會有理由愛我,我也從未認為我自己惹人愛慕。對我來說能被賜予機會愛你就應心懷感激了。每當我想到你跟我在一起是愉悅的,每當我從你的睛裡看到歡樂,我都狂喜不已。我盡力將我的愛維持在不讓你厭煩的限度,否則我清楚那個後果我承受不了。我時刻關注你的神色,但凡你的厭煩顯現出一點蛛絲馬跡,我便改變方式。一個丈夫的權利,在我看來卻是一種恩惠。」
‘I had no illusions about you,’ he said. ‘I knew you were silly and frivolous and empty-headed. But I loved you. I knew that your aims and ideals were vulgar and commonplace. But I loved you. I knew that you were second-rate. But I loved you. It’s comic when I think how hard I tried to be amused by the things that amused you and how anxious I was to hide from you that I wasn’t ignorant and vulgar and scandal-mongering and stupid. I knew how frightened you were of intelligence and I did everything I could to make you think me as big a fool as the rest of the men you knew. I knew that you’d only married me for convenience. I loved you so much, I didn’t care. Most people, as far as I can see, when they’re in love with someone and the love isn’t returned feel that they have a grievance. They grow angry and bitter. I wasn’t like that. I never expected you to love me, I didn’t see any reason that you should. I never thought myself very lovable. I was thankful to be allowed to love you and I was enraptured when now and then I thought you were pleased with me or when I noticed in your eyes a gleam of good-humored affection. I tried not to bore you with my love; I knew I couldn’t afford to do that and I was always on the lookout for the first sign that you were impatient with my affection. What most husbands expect as a right I was prepared to receive as a favor.’

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