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大学英语精读:第五册 UNIT 6

2007-03-02 15:44   来源:旺旺英语       我要纠错 | 打印 | 收藏 | | |

  Charles is a lonely young man and Amy is a crippled girl on a wheelchair. They meet, get to know each other and begin going out together. Charles falls in love with Amy and hopes to be "the only chairpusher" in her life. But Amy prefers independence to being taken care of all the time. She leaves in pursuit of her goal in life.

If It Comes Back

By Jean Gilbertson

  Charles saw them both at the same time: the small white bird floating from among the park trees and the girl wheeling down the walk. The bird glided downward and rested in the grass; the girl directed the chair smoothly along the sunlit, shadowy walk. Her collapsible metal chair might have been motorized; it carried her along so smoothly. She stopped to watch the ducks on the pond and when she shoved the wheels again, Charles sprang to his feet. "May I push you?" he called, running across the grass to her. The white bird flew to the top of tree.

  It was mostly he who talked and he seemed afraid to stop for fear she'd ask him to leave her by herself. Nothing in her face had supported the idea of helplessness conveyed by the wheelchair, and he knew that his assistance was not viewed as a favor. He asked the cause of her handicap; not because it was so important for him to know, but because it was something to keep the conversation going.

  "It was an automobile accident when I was twelve," Amy explained. "I was reading to my younger brother in the back seat and suddenly my mother screamed and tried frantically to miss the truck that had pulled out in front of us. When I woke up in hospital, my mother was screaming again outside the door. This time she was trying to escape the fact that I would never walk again."

  "Pretty rough on both of you. What about your brother?"

  "He came out of it a little better than I did; at least he was dismissed from the hospital before I was. It took us all a long time to accept and adjust."

  They went for lunch, and he would have felt awkward except that she knew completely how to take care of herself. It was he who seemed clumsy and bumped into a table; she who moved competently through the aisle.

  "Do you live with someone?" he asked the next day for he'd made a point of asking to meet her again.

  "Just myself," she answered. He felt a qualm in his stomach, and it was more in memory of his own loneliness than anticipation of hers.

  He came to like to feel the white handles in his grasp, to walk between the two white-rimmed metal wheels. And he grew almost more familiar with the slight wave at the back of her hair than with her eyes or her mouth. The chair was a moveable wonder; he loved the feeling of power and strength it gave him for so little exertion. Once, he said to the wave at the back of her hair, " I hope I'm the only chair-pusher in your life," but she had only smiled a little and her eyes had admitted nothing. When he looked up, he noticed a white bird flying from one tree to another, tracing their route with them.

  She cooked dinner for him once in June. He expected her to be proud of her ability to do everything from her seat in the wheelchair —— and was faintly disappointed to see that she would not feel pride at what was, for her, simply a matter of course. He watched his own hand pick up the salt shaker and place it on one of the higher, unused cabinet shelves, then awaited her plea for assistance. He didn't know why he'd done it, but the look in her eyes a moment later gave him a shock in his easy joy. He felt as though he were playing poker and he had just accidentally revealed his hand to the opponent. To make her forget what he'd done, he told her about the little white bird in the park.

  "I've seen it, too," she said. "I read a poem once about a little white bird that came to rest on a window sill and the lady who lived in the house began to put out food for it. Soon the lady fell in love, but it was a mismatched love. Everyday the little bird came to the window and the lady put out food. When the love affair was over, the little white bird never returned, but the woman went on putting out the crumbs every day for years and the wind just blew them away."

  In July he took her boating frequently. She prepared a picnic lunch each time, and he manned the sails. The most awkward event of this, she felt, was the loading and unloading of herself. For Charles, however, these "freight handlings," as she came to call it, seemed to be the highlight of the outings. He appeared to take great delight in wheeling her to the end of the pier, picking her up out of the chair, balancing himself to set her into the boat, then collapsing the chair and setting it on its side on board. On the first few outings, she had felt distinctly ill at ease at having been placed helplessly in a spot form which she could not move herself. It occurred to her, too, that she was unable to swim, should the boat turn over. Charles, who adapted himself marvelously to the captain's role, was completely oblivious to her discomfort; she noted with a returning sense of helplessness how much he enjoyed being in control. When he called for her one day in early August with a brand new captain's hat cocked atop his soft brown hair, all her emotions revolted at the idea of another day trapped on the wooden seat over the water —— and she refused to go.

  They would, instead, she said, go for a walk in which she would move herself by the strength of her own arms and he would walk beside her. He finally agreed, but his displeasure grew with each step; this was a role he didn't want to play.

  "Why don't you just rest your arms and let me push you?"


  "Your arms'll get sore; I've been helping you do it for three months now."

  "I wheeled myself for twelve years before you came along - I doubt that my arms have forgotten how."

  "But I don't like having to walk beside you while you push yourself!"

  "Do you think I've liked having to sit helpless in your boat every weekend for the past two months?"

  For a moment he was stunned into silence by this new learning. Finally he said quietly, "I never realized that, Amy. You're in a wheelchair all the time —— I never thought you'd mind sitting in the boat. It's the same thing."

  "It is not the same thing. In this chair, I can move by myself; I can go anywhere I need to go. That boat traps me so I can't do anything —— I couldn't even save myself if something happened and I fell out."

  "But I'm there. Don't you think I could save you or help you move or whatever it is you want?"

  "Yes, but Charles —— the point is I've spent twelve years learning to manage by myself. I even live in a city that's miles from my family so I'll have to be independent and do things for myself. Being placed in the boat takes all that I've won away from me. Can't you see why I object to it? I can't let myself be at anyone's mercy —— not even yours."

  They continued down the path in silence as his feelings boiled within him and finally ran over the edge of his control: "Amy, I need to have you dependent upon me. I need your dependence upon me." And, as if to punctuate his desire, he took the familiar white bars in hand and pushed her rapidly along so that her own hands came off the wheels and rested in her lap. The wave at the back of her hair did not show the anger in her eyes, and it was just as well for it was an anger he would not have understood.

  She would not answer her telephone the next morning but in his mail that afternoon came an envelope that he knew had come from Amy. The handwriting was not beautiful, but it was without question hers. Inside was only a card on which she had written:

  If you want something baby written,

  You must let it go free.

  If it comes back to you,

  It's yours.

  If it doesn't,

  You really never had it anyway.


  He ran out of his apartment, refusing to believe that Amy might no longer be in her home. As he was running towards her apartment, he kept hearing a roar in his ears: "You must let it go free; you must let it go free."

  But he thought: I can't risk it, she is mine, can't just let go, can't give her a chance not to belong to me, can't let her think she doesn't need me, she must need me. Oh God, I have to have her.

  But her apartment was empty. Somehow in the hours overnight, she had packed —— by herself - and moved by herself. The rooms were now impersonal; their cold stillness could not respond when he fell to the floor and sobbed.

  By the middle of August he had heard nothing from Amy. He lay often on his bed with her letter on his chest and counted the minute cracks in his ceiling; he went often to the park but scrupulously avoided looking for the white bird. Sometimes he would sit for hours there in the wind under a tree and not even notice that he was outside, that life went on around him.

  September came and had almost gone before he finally received an envelope of familiar stationery. The handwriting was not beautiful but it was without question hers. The postmark was that of a city many miles distant. With a shock of feeling returning to his heart, he tore open the envelope and at first thought it was empty. Then he noticed on his desk a single white feather that had fallen from it. In his mind, the white bird rose in flight and its wings let fly one feather. Were it not for the feather lost in departure, no one would have known that the white bird had ever been. Thus he knew Amy would not be back, and it was many hours before he let the feather drop out of his hand.



  vt. move on a current of air or water 飘动;漂浮


  a.  lighted by the sun


  a.  full of shade


  a.  that can be folded 可折叠的


  vt. equip with a motor


  n.  a body of water that is smaller than a lake 池塘


  vt. push with force


  n.  a chair mounted on wheels used by people who are sick or who cannot walk 轮椅


  n.  help; aid




  n.  a disability of the body or the mind; a disadvantage that makes achievement or success difficult


  a.  awkward in moving or acting; not graceful


  v.  knock or strike; move along in an uneven way


  n.  a narrow passage, as between rows of seats in a theater (座席间的)纵直通道,走道


  n.  a sudden, disturbing feeling in the mind; uneasiness; a feeling of faintness or sickness, esp. of nausea, that lasts for just a moment  疑虑,不安;一阵眩晕;一阵恶心


  n.  the condition or the feeling of being lonely


  n.  the border, edge, or margin of sth.


  a.  with white rims  白边的


  a.  capable of being moved


  n.  great effort 努力,尽力

  salt shaker

  a small container for salt at the table with a hole or holes in the top for shaking salt out (餐桌上的)盐瓶


  n.  a case or cupboard with doors and compartments or shelves for storing or showing objects 橱,柜


  n.  a flat piece of wood or metal fixed to a wall or built into furniture for holding and storing things (柜橱等的)架子;搁板


  n.  a card game 扑克牌戏


  n.  a piece of wood or stone that forms the bottom of a door or window门槛;窗台

  window sill



  vt. match wrongly or unsuitably, esp. in marriage


  vt. provide with people for operation; serve or operate


  v.  remove cargo from a vehicle, ship, etc


  n.  the best, most interesting or most exciting part of sth.


  n.  a trip or walk outdoors for fun


  n.  a platform built over water from a shore, used as a landing place or protection for boats or ships (凸出)码头;突堤


  v.  fold together


  v.  adjust or become adjusted to fit different conditions (使)适应


  n.  a part performed by a person or thing; a part or character played by an actor 作用;角色


  a.  not noticing; unaware 不注意的,不知不觉的


  n.  lack of comfort; sth. that makes one uncomfortable


  vt. cause (a hat) to slope slightly; tilt 歪戴(帽子)


  prep. on, to, or at the top of


  v.  feel horror or disgust; rebel against a government or other authority 憎恶;生反感;反叛


  vt. catch in a trap; place or hold firmly with no possibility of escape


  n.  angry dislike, annoyance or disapproval


  a.  painful, hurting 痛的


  a.  the state of being dependent; inability to exist without the help of others


  vt. emphasize 强调


  n.  writing done with the hand


  a.  from or by a person whose identity is not know or whose name is kept secret 无名的,匿名的


  a.  not showing or including personal feelings


  a.  very small


  n.  an official mark stamped on mall to cancel the stamp and to show the date and place of mailing 邮戳


  a.  far away in space or time; not near


  n.  the act or process of flying through the air by means of wings 飞行


  n.  the act of departing 出发


  for fear

  in case; to avoid the danger of sth. happening 生怕,以免

  pull out

  move out of a line of traffic, in order to overtake the vehicle in front

  be rough on

  be unpleasant to; be hard on

  make a point of doing sth.

  make a special effort to do sth.; take particular care to do sth.

  in memory of

  as a reminder of; to help in remembering

  a matter of course

  a thing to be expected as a natural or logical occurrence in the course of events

  take delight in


  on board

  on or in a ship or an aircraft

  ill at ease

  uncomfortable; embarrassed

  (be) oblivious to

  not noticing; unaware of

  in control

  in command; in charge

  object to

  oppose; express displeasure at

  at sb.'s mercy

  in the power of sb.; under the control of sb.

  it is just as well

  it's fortunate that it happened in the way it did  幸好如此

  let go

  stop holding sth; release


  Jean Gilbertson






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