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《美食祈祷和恋爱》Chapter 28 (57):和David说再见

Continuing with this unprecedented string of intimacies, my mother said, "You have to understand how little I was raised to expect that I deserved in life, honey. Remember—I come from a different time and place than you do."


I closed my eyes and saw my mother, ten years old on the family farm in Minnesota, working like a hired hand, raising her younger brothers, wearing the clothes of her older sister, saving dimes to get herself out of there . . .


"And you have to understand how much I love your father," she concluded.


My mother has made choices in her life, as we all must, and she is at peace with them. I can see her peace. She did not cop out on herself. The benefits of her choices are massive—a long, stable marriage to a man she still calls her best friend; a family that has extended now into grandchildren who adore her; a certainty in her own strength. Maybe some things were sacrificed, and my dad made his sacrifices, too—but who amongst us lives without sacrifice?


And the question now for me is, What are my choices to be? What do I believe that I deserve in this life? Where can I accept sacrifice, and where can I not? It has been so hard for me to imagine living a life without David in it. Even just to imagine that there will never be another road trip with my favorite traveling companion, that I will never again pull up at his curb with the windows down and Springsteen playing on the radio, a lifetime supply of banter and snacks between us, and an ocean destination looming down the highway. But how can I accept that bliss when it comes with this dark underside—bone-crushing isolation, corrosive insecurity, insidious resentment and, of course, the complete dismantling of self that inevitably occurs when David ceases to giveth, and commences to taketh away. I can't do it anymore. Something about my recent joy in Naples has made me certain that I not only can find happiness without David, but must. No matter how much I love him (and I do love him, in stupid excess), I have to say goodbye to this person now. And I have to make it stick.


So I write him an e-mail.


It's November. We haven't had any communication since July. I'd asked him not to get in touch with me while I was traveling, knowing that my attachment to him was so strong it would be impossible for me to focus on my journey if I were also tracking his. But now I'm entering his life again with this e-mail.


I tell him that I hope he's well, and I report that I am well. I make a few jokes. We always were good with the jokes. Then I explain that I think we need to put an end to this relationship for good. That maybe it's time to admit that it will never happen, that it should never happen. The note isn't overly dramatic. Lord knows we've had enough drama together already. I keep it short and simple. But there's one more thing I need to add. Holding my breath, I type, "If you want to look for another partner in your life, of course you have nothing but my blessings." My hands are shaking. I sign off with love, trying to keep as cheerful a tone as possible.


I feel like I just got hit in the chest with a stick.


I don't sleep much that night, imagining him reading my words. I run back to the Internet café a few times throughout the next day, looking for a response. I'm trying to ignore the part of me that is dying to find that he has replied: "COME BACK! DON'T GO! I'LL CHANGE!" I'm trying to disregard the girl in me who would happily drop this whole grand idea of traveling around the world in simple exchange for the keys to David's apartment. But around ten o'clock that night, I finally get my answer. A wonderfully written e-mail, of course. David always wrote wonderfully. He agrees that, yes, it's time we really said good-bye forever. He's been thinking along the same lines himself, he says. He couldn't be more gracious in his response, and he shares his own feelings of loss and regret with that high tenderness he was sometimes so achingly capable of reaching. He hopes that I know how much he adores me, beyond even his ability to find words to express it. "But we are not what the other one needs," he says. Still, he is certain that I will find great love in my life someday. He's sure of it. After all, he says, "beauty attracts beauty."

当晚我没怎么睡,想象他阅读我的来信。隔天我来回跑了几趟网吧,期待回音。我试着忽视一部分自己渴望他回信说“ 回来吧!别走!我会改变!”我尝试忽视自己心中的那个女孩,快乐地丢下这整个环游世界的伟大主意,只为换取大卫公寓的钥匙。然而当晚十点钟左右,我终于收到了回信。当然这是一封文笔很好的信。大卫向来有一手好文笔。他同意,是的,该是永远告别的时候了。他自己也同样想过这件事,他说。他的回复婉转和蔼,分享自己的失落与感伤,带着他时而得以达到的高度温柔。他希望我知道他对我的爱慕,超乎语言所能表达。“然而我们并非彼此的需要。”他说。尽管如此,他确定有一天我会找到一生的挚爱,他确信无疑。他说,毕竟“美吸引美”。

Which is a lovely thing to say, truly. Which is just about the loveliest thing that the love of your life could ever possibly say, when he's not saying, "COME BACK! DON'T GO! I'LL CHANGE!"


I sit there staring at the computer screen in silence for a long, sad time. It's all for the best, I know it is. I'm choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I'm making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises. I know all this. But still . . .


It's David. Lost to me now.



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