目送 Send-Offs

目送  [/source]

 

華安上小學第一天,我和他手牽著手,穿過好幾條街, 到維多利亞小學。九月初,家家戶戶院子裡的蘋果和梨樹都綴滿了拳頭大小的果子,枝芽因爲負重而沉沉下垂, 越出了樹籬, 勾到過路行人的頭髮。

很多很多的孩子,在操場上等候上課的第一聲鈴響。小小的手,圈在爸爸的、媽媽的手心裡,怯怯的眼神,打量著周遭。他們是幼稚園的畢業生,但是他們還不知道一個定律:一件事情的畢業,永遠是另一件事的開啓。

鈴響一聲,頓時人影錯雜,奔往不同方向,但是在那麽多穿梭紛亂的人群裡,我無比清楚地看著自己孩子的背影——就好像在一百個嬰兒同時哭聲大作時,你仍舊能夠準確聼出自己那一個的位置。華安背著一個五顔六色的書包往前走,但是他不斷地回頭;好像穿越一條無邊無際的時空長河,他的視線和我凝望的眼光隔空交會。

我看著他瘦小的背影消失在門裡。

十六嵗,他到美國作交換生一年。我送他到機場。告別時,照例擁抱,我的頭只能貼到他的胸口,好像抱住了長頸鹿的腳。他很明顯地在勉強忍受母親的深情。

他在長長的行列裡,等候護照檢驗;我就站在外面,用眼睛跟著它的背影一寸一寸往前挪。終於輪到他,在海關窗口停留片刻,然後拿囘護照,閃入一扇門,倏忽不見。

我一直在等候,等候他消失前的回頭一瞥。 但是他沒有,一次都沒有。

 

Send-Offs [target]

 

On Hua An’s first day of school, we walked hand in hand through several streets to get to Victoria Elementary. It was early September, and in yard after yard, apple and pear trees hung heavy with fist-sized fruit. Branches drooped from the weight, escaping fences and catching passersby’s hair.

At the school, children packed the playground waiting for first bell, their small hands curled inside mom’s and dad’s, their timid looks sizing up their surroundings. These were graduates of kindergarten, yet they still hadn’t learned this truth: that the end of one thing is always the beginning of another.

The bell rang. Immediate confusion. Everyone scattered in different directions. But in that tangle of people, my eyes stayed glued to my own child’s back as he walked away—the way one can home in on one’s own child among the sound of a hundred babies crying. Hua An, with his multicolored backpack, walked on, but he kept turning to look back at me, as if he were crossing some boundless river of time and space, his gaze and mine meeting in that vast emptiness.

I watched his small figure disappear through a doorway.

Fast forward to age sixteen, when he went to the U.S. as an exchange student. I took him to the airport. While saying goodbye, he gave me a perfunctory hug. With my head reaching only his chest, I felt as if I were hugging a giraffe’s leg. He made no effort to hide how hard he was working to endure his mother’s affections.

He waited in a long line to have his passport inspected; I stood outside, watching as he inched forward. Finally he was at the head of the line. A moment at the customs counter, took his passport back, slipped through a doorway, and suddenly he was gone.

I’d waited—waited for a quick turn of his head before he disappeared. But he hadn’t turned, not even once.