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一盘豌豆的故事

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我的祖父在我还是个小男孩的时候去世了,我的祖母每年都要和我们在一起大约六个月。她住在一间我父亲办公室的房间里,我们称之为“里屋”,她带着一股浓烈的香气。我不知道她用的是哪种香水,但它是双管,九十防,击倒,使受害者失去知觉,驼鹿杀人。她把它放在一个巨大的雾化器里,频繁地使用它。几乎不可能进入她的房间,并保持呼吸的任何时间。当她离开家去我阿姨花了六个月,我的母亲和姐妹会打开所有的窗户,带床上,取下窗帘和地毯。然后他们会花上几天的时间来清洗和晾晒东西,疯狂地试图让刺鼻的气味消失。
 
 
这就是我祖母在臭名昭著的豌豆事件时的情景。
 
它发生在比特摩尔酒店,对我八岁的人来说,它就是普罗维登斯的美食之都。我的祖母,我母亲和我在早上购物后吃午饭。我很漂亮地点了一块索尔兹伯里牛排,我很有信心地知道,在那个奇特的名字之下,是一个美味的老汉堡。当被带到桌子上时,桌上放着一盘豌豆。
 
我现在不喜欢豌豆。那时我不喜欢豌豆。我一直讨厌豌豆。我完全不明白为什么有人会自愿吃豌豆。我没在家吃过。我没有在餐馆吃过。我现在肯定不会吃了。
 
“吃你的豌豆,”我祖母说。
 
“妈妈,”我妈妈用她警告的声音说。他不喜欢豌豆。别理他。”
 
“我的祖母没有回答,但她的眼睛里闪烁着光芒,下巴上摆着严峻的表情,表明她不会14岁了。”。她靠在我的方向,看着我的眼睛,说出了改变我一生的致命的话:“如果你吃那些豌豆,我会付给你五美元。”
 
我完全不知道即将来临的厄运。我只知道五美元是一笔巨大的、几乎无法想象的钱,而且和豌豆一样糟糕,只有一块盘子夹在我和那五美元之间。我开始把那些可怜的东西压到嗓子里。
 
我的母亲很生气。我祖母有一副自鸣得意的样子,那人投下了一张不可战胜的王牌。“我能做我想做的事,爱伦,你不能阻止我。”我母亲怒视着她的母亲。她怒视着我。没有人能像我母亲那样耀眼。如果有一场精彩的奥运会,她无疑会赢得金牌。
 
我当然不停地往我喉咙里塞豌豆。愤怒的目光让我紧张,每颗豆子都让我想吐,但那五美元的神奇形象浮现在我面前,我终于咽下了他们每一个人。我祖母给了我五美元。我母亲继续默默地怒视着我。插曲结束了。或者我是这样想的。
 
我的祖母去了莉莲姨妈家几周后。那天晚上,在吃饭的时候,我的母亲是我一直喜欢的两种食物,肉饼和土豆泥。和他们一起来了一大碗热气腾腾的豌豆。她给了我一些豌豆,而我,在我纯真青春的最后时刻,却谢绝了。我母亲在我的盘子里堆了一大堆豌豆,冷冷地盯着我。接着是萦绕我心头的话语。
 
“你是为了钱才吃的,”她说。你可以为了爱而吃它们。”
 
哦,绝望!哦,毁灭!现在太迟了,渐渐地我意识到我已经不知不觉地把自己折磨到了一个无处可逃的地狱。
 
“你是为了钱才吃的。你可以为了爱而吃它们。”
 
我能提出什么可能的论据来反对那件事?一无所有。我吃豌豆了吗?你打赌我做了。那一天我吃了,后来又吃了。这五美元很快就花光了。几年后我祖母去世了。但豌豆的遗产仍然存在,一直延续到今天。她说:“如果我把嘴唇放在嘴边的话(因为毕竟我还讨厌那些讨厌的小东西),我妈妈又一次重复了这些可怕的话:”你为了钱而吃了它们。你可以为了爱而吃它们。”


My grandfather died when I was a small boy, and my grandmother started staying with us for about six months every year. She lived in a room that doubled as my father's office, which we referred to as "the back room." She carried with her a powerful aroma. I don't know what kind of perfume she used, but it was the double-barreled, ninety-proof, knockdown, render-the-victim-unconscious, moose-killing variety. She kept it in a huge atomizer and applied it frequently and liberally. It was almost impossible to go into her room and remain breathing for any length of time. When she would leave the house to go spend six months with my Aunt Lillian, my mother and sisters would throw open all the windows, strip the bed, and take out the curtains and rugs. Then they would spend several days washing and airing things out, trying frantically to make the pungent odor go away.

 

This, then, was my grandmother at the time of the infamous pea incident.

It took place at the Biltmore Hotel, which, to my eight-year-old mind, was just about the fancies place to eat in all of Providence. My grandmother, my mother, and I were having lunch after a morning spent shopping. I grandly ordered a salisbury steak, confident in the knowledge that beneath that fancy name was a good old hamburger with gravy. When brought to the table, it was accompanied by a plate of peas.

I do not like peas now. I did not like peas then. I have always hated peas. It is a complete mystery to me why anyone would voluntarily eat peas. I did not eat them at home. I did not eat them at restaurants. And I certainly was not about to eat them now.

"Eat your peas," my grandmother said.

"Mother," said my mother in her warning voice. "He doesn't like peas. Leave him alone."

“My grandmother did not reply, but there was a glint in her eye and a grim set to her jaw that signaled she was not going to be 14)thwarted. She leaned in my direction, looked me in the eye, and uttered the fateful words that changed my life: "I'll pay you five dollars if you eat those peas."

I had absolutely no idea of the impending doom. I only knew that five dollars was an enormous, nearly unimaginable amount of money, and as awful as peas were, only one plate of them stood between me and the possession of that five dollars. I began to force the wretched things down my throat.

My mother was livid. My grandmother had that self-satisfied look of someone who has thrown down an unbeatable trump card. "I can do what I want, Ellen, and you can't stop me." My mother glared at her mother. She glared at me. No one can glare like my mother. If there were a glaring Olympics, she would undoubtedly win the gold medal.

I, of course, kept shoving peas down my throat. The glares made me nervous, and every single pea made me want to throw up, but the magical image of that five dollars floated before me, and I finally gagged down every last one of them. My grandmother handed me the five dollars with a flourish. My mother continued to glare in silence. And the episode ended. Or so I thought.

My grandmother left for Aunt Lillian's a few weeks later. That night, at dinner, my mother served two of my all-time favorite foods, meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Along with them came a big, steaming bowl of peas. She offered me some peas, and I, in the very last moments of my innocent youth, declined. My mother fixed me with a cold eye as she heaped a huge pile of peas onto my plate. Then came the words that were to haunt me for years.

"You ate them for money," she said. "You can eat them for love."

Oh, despair! Oh, devastation! Now, too late, came the dawning realization that I had unwittingly damned myself to a hell from which there was no escape.

"You ate them for money. You can eat them for love."

What possible argument could I muster against that? There was none. Did I eat the peas? You bet I did. I ate them that day and every other time they were served thereafter. The five dollars were quickly spent. My grandmother passed away a few years later. But the legacy of the peas lived on, as it lives on to this day. If I so much as curl my lip when they are served (because, after all, I still hate the horrid little things), my mother repeats the dreaded words one more time: "You ate them for money," she says. "You can eat them for love."

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