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2014年2月8日星期六

Shape of Sorrows


图片取自 The Relentless Reader

  "What's he making?" I asked, turning over on my back.

  "A little calf for my cow," Mae said. "It died a couple of month ago. The calf, I mean. Poor thing. Now the mother pines and pines. Listen, you can still hear her . . ."

  I listened, and sure enough, from somewhere behind the hut, came the sound——Maaw, maaw, maaw . . . I'd met the cow earlier when it roamed over the edge of the property while we were washing inside a nearby roofless thatched enclosure. It was the thinnest-looking cow I'd ever seen, and I thought it was going to eat the thatch. But it just stared at me, moaning, as it was doing now, Maaw, maaw . . .

  "Pok thought he'd make her a little carving. To hang around her neck."

  "You mean like a charm?" I felt certain that even an animal as dull witted as a cow would know the difference between her real calf and a miniature wooden replica. "Why? What for?"

  "Oh, I don't know," Mae said, closing the front door. "I supposed he just wants to give shape to her sorrow."

  "Oh."

  Mama pulled Radana closer, sharing one blanket with her, while I shared the other with Mae. I lay sandwiched between Mae on my right near the door, and Radana on my left, next to Mama by the wall. Mae yawned, mumbled something or other, and then, after what seemed like a few short seconds, fell sound asleep, as though knocked out cold by the night.

  Soon, she and Radana were snoring back and forth, like a pair of whistle answering each other's calls, while Mama and I searched the dark for the shape of our sorrows.

In the Shadow of the Banyan, P165~166
Vaddey Ratner
ISBN 978-1-4516-5770-8

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