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中英双语杂志2002/07/09
 

Panic on the Highway 山路历险记 (2)

[6] I gave him a weak smile and said good night. But later as I tossed and turned in bed, I couldn't chase away the apprehension I had about the high driving ahead. The more I tried not to think about it, the more my mind kept going back to that helpless feeling of panic I had on the first leg of the journey. My fear seemed to possess a life of its own. You're being childish , I chided myself. This is ridiculous ! If I could just close my eyes and relax, I thought, the renewal of a good night's sleep would drive the fear away.

[7] But it didn't go away. All through the flatlands of Arkansas, Oklahoma , north Texas and New Mexico it lay like a coiled snake inside of me. When we approached the high plateau of northern Arizona it began to stir. As the grades grew steeper and the curves sharper, my sense of control faltered, "It's all in your head," I kept repeating desperately. "There is no danger. It's all in your head."

[8] Yet I couldn't defeat the terror. Mile after mile it was like an invisible force drawing my attention toward the edge of the road where the soft shoulder gave way to thin air. I tried everything I could think of. I cranked up the radio. Sang songs. Recited poetry. All to no avail. The palms of my hands were so sweaty that I had to squeeze the steering wheel to keep my grip.

[9] I kept closing the gap between my car and my brother's truck, inching toward the reassuring glow of the taillights like a frightened sheep following a shepherd. I could see Mac watching me in his rearview mirror , and that night at supper in Kingman, Arizona, he said, "Leigh, you're tailgating . You're much too close for these mountain roads." He studied my face for a moment, then added, "Tomorrow will be the last day of high country. Just try to hang in there. We've got this far okay. You know there's nothing to be afraid of."

[10] I understood that. I had to go on. But the prospect of hairpin turns and sheer drop-offs made it impossible for me to eat any supper. Mac tried to keep the conversation breezy, but it didn't help. I excused myself early and went to bed, exhausted.

6]我冲着他勉强笑笑,道了一声晚安。但后来,我躺在床上辗转反侧,一想到要走的山路,心中的焦虑就怎么也挥之不去。越是尽力于去想它,反倒越是回味上路、第一程就出现的那种揪心无助的感觉。这种恐惧似乎根深蒂固,永久存在。太幼稚了,我责备自己。真可笑!想,如果我能闭上眼放松下来,重新美美地睡一觉,恐惧就会被驱散。

[7]但是恐惧并没消逝。在经过阿肯色州、俄克拉何马州、得克萨斯州北部和新墨西哥州的那些大平原时,恐怖像蛇一样盘踞在我心中。快要到达亚利桑那州北部的高原地带时,它又开始蠢蠢欲动。随着坡越来越陡,弯越转越急,我渐渐有了控制不住之感。“全是胡思乱想,”我拼命反复地提醒自己。“没有危险。完全是胡思乱想。”

[8]然而我就是不能战胜恐惧。一英里接着一英里,像是被一种无形的魔力拽着一样,我一路上怎么也不能让注意力离开那令人窒息的崖边,那里没有平缓的山肩,有的只是稀薄的空气。凡属能想到的办法我都试了——打开收音机,唱歌,背诗——一切都无济于事。我的掌心里满是汗水,只有用力压挤方向盘才能把它抓牢。

[9]我尽量缩小与弟弟的卡车的距离,缓缓地移动,盯住他的尾灯,心中才赂有一丝安慰,就像一只吓坏了的小羊紧跟在羊馆的屁股后面一样。我能看见麦克正从后视镜里望着我。那天晚上在亚利桑那州的金曼吃饭时,他说:“莉,你是在尾追。在这样的山路上那距离太近了!”他注意了一下我的表倩,接着说:“明天是最后一天的山路了。务必再坚持一阵子,我们走了这么远,不是好好的嘛。你知道没有什么可怕的。”

[10]我知道。我必须坚持下去。可是一想到那些U字型的急转弯和直上直下的大陡坡我就没了胃口。麦克尽量想让谈话轻松些,但不管用。我找借口早早抽身,去上床睡觉,这时倍感精疲力竭。

 

 
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