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我的继父,我的朋友

编者按:

9年前,利奥去世后,人们都对我说,“我从来不知道他是你的继父。”是啊,我从不那样叫他。最初,他在我生活中不占什么特别位置。后来他成了我的朋友。再后来,我觉得他就是我的父亲。

My Stepfather,My Friend

Nine years ago,after Leo had died,people said to me,“I never knew he was your stepfather.”You see,I never called him that.At first,he was no one special in my life.Then he became my friend.In time,I felt he was my father too.

Leo married my mother when I was 11;two years later we moved into a house in a new suburb an development.At first,our lawn1) was just a mud pile with a few untidy clumps of grass,but Leo saw bright possibilities.“Your mother wants flowers;she can plant them here,where there’ s lots of sun,”he said,“We‘ll plant trees over there,to give us shade.And in the backyard,I‘d like a barbecue2).”

Then he smiled.“After so many years of apartment living,now we can have cookouts”

For years Leo had lived in an apartment by himself,and now he was putting down roots in the suburbs.At first our split-level3) house resembled all the others,but then it began to change.Little touches――my mother’s flower garden,Leo’s trees ――made our house unique.More important,a real family was forming within this house,with its own special traditions.Leo was becoming a full-time parent,and I was learning what it meant to have a father.

Weekday mornings when the weather was bad,Leo often drove me to school.Having a father drop you off may have been something my classmates took for granted,but I always thought it was wonderful .Saturday mornings,we went to the hardware store,then browsed4) in the five-and-ten5),buying a sports magazine for my brother and something for me.Some people might think that doing errands together is nothing special,but I,who had previously spent my childhood watching other families do these everyday activities,savored6) them now with intense delight.Looking back,I realize that Leo gave me what I needed most――the experience of doing ordinary things together as a family.

One day,we learned that my “real”father――who hadn’t seen or supported my brother or me for more than five years――wanted to see us again,on a regular basis.We remembered too well the early years we had spent with him.He had been angry and cruel,violent and unloving.Since my brother was then 17years old,he didn’t have to follow family-court stipulations7).But because I was still a“minor”,I had to meet with the judge.When Leo,my mother,and I entered the courtroom,my “real”father was already present.I avoided his glance and told the judge I was part of a new family now,and that Leo taught me how to make things,took me to the movies,and helped me with my homework.I said I didn’t want to see my “real”father anymore because he had never shown any love for me or even much attention.The judge looked at Leo.“How are things going?”he asked.“They couldn’t be better,”Leo answered.“I’m a lucky man to have such a family.”My “real”father’s visitation request was denied that day;he was out of my life,and I was deeply relieved.I also knew Leo had become my dearest friend.

Aren’ t the best parents also good friends to their children,accepting them without reservation and telling them they can be counted on?

Stepfamilies aren’ t bound by traditional ties,so the love and friendship they develop is extremely precious.Was Leo“perfect”?He‘d deny it if I said so.And that’s one reason why he was so“perfect”to me.Sometimes,during the first years my new family lived together,I‘d look out my bedroom window on warm summer nights and see Leo and my mother in front of our house.Together they’d walk.My parents,I would think.I actually have two parents.

Soon after we moved to the suburbs,on e of our new neighbors introduced herself to me.She had already met my mother and Leo.

“You know,”she remarked,“you look just like your father.”I knew she was just making conversation――but even so...“Thank you,”I said.Why tell her anything different?

NOTE 注释:

lawn [lC:n] n. 草地, 草坪

barbecue [5bB:bIkju:] n. 吃烤烧肉的野餐

split-level house 错层式地房子

browse [brauz] v. 随意观看

five-and-ten [`faIvEnd ten] n. 专售廉价物品的商店

savor [5seivE] vt. 尽情享受

stipulation [7stipju5leiFEn] n. 约定, 约束

我的继父,我的朋友

9年前,利奥去世后,人们都对我说,“我从来不知道他是你的继父。”是啊,我从不那样叫他。最初,他在我生活中不占什么特别位置。后来他成了我的朋友。再后来,我觉得他就是我的父亲。

我11岁那年,利奥娶了我的母亲;两年后,我们搬进郊区新开发区的一幢房子里。最初,我们的草坪只是一个土堆,零星长着一些杂草,但是利奥认为这里大可利用。“你母亲喜欢花,她可以在这儿种,这儿阳光充足,”他说,“我们在那儿栽些树,可以遮阳。在后院,我要举办烤肉野餐。”随后他微笑着说:“住了这么多年的公寓,我们终于可以在外面野餐了。”

多年来利奥一直独身一人住在公寓里,现在他开始在郊区安家了。起先我们的错层式的房子与其他的大同小异,但很快就有了变化。一些小小的点缀—我母亲的花园,利奥的树—使我们的房子变得与众不同。更重要的是,一个有着其独特传统的真正家庭正在这座房子里形成。利奥逐渐成了一个尽职尽责的父亲,我也体验到了有父亲的滋味。

每天早上,如果天气不好的话,利奥便开车送我去学校。让父亲开车送到学校对我的同学来说是习以为常的事,而我却感到很美妙。周六上午,我们一起去逛五金店,然后又去杂货店看看,给我哥哥买本体育杂志,也给我买点小东西。也许有人认为,一起出去办点儿事,不是什么了不得的事情。可对于在孩童时代只能眼睁睁看着别人家享有这些日常快乐的我,却从中获得无穷的乐趣。回忆往事,我认识到了利奥给了我最需要的东西,那就是体验全家一起做些日常琐事的快乐。

一天,我们得知5年多来既没看过也没抚养过我和哥哥的生父现在却想定期来看望我们。对曾与他共同生活过的日子,我们记忆犹新。他总是怒气冲冲,冷酷无情,粗暴无礼,毫无爱心。我哥哥那时已经17岁了,不须遵守家庭调解法的约束。而我还属于未成年人,不得不去见法官。当利奥、母亲和我走进法庭时,我的生父已经在那儿了。我避开他的视线,告诉法官我现在有了一个新家,利奥教我动手做一些东西,带我去看电影,还帮我做功课。我说我再不想见我的生父,因为他从没给过我爱或关心。法官看着利奥问道:“情况怎么样?”“好极了,”利奥回答说。“我很幸运有这样一个家庭。”我生父的探视要求当天就被驳回了;他从我的生活中消失了,我感到如释重负。同时我也认识到利奥已成了我最好的朋友。

最好的父母不也就是孩子们的好朋友吗?他们毫无保留地承受抚养孩子的义务,并让孩子知道他们是可以信赖的。由继父母和孩子组成的家庭没有传统纽带的维系,所以他们之间建立的爱和友情是极为珍贵的。利奥“完美无缺”吗?如果我这样说,他会否认的。这也正是他对我来说如此“完美”的原因之一。在我们这个新家庭组建的头几年中,有时在温暖的夏夜我从卧室朝窗外看,会看见利奥和我母亲在屋前一起散步,那时我就会想:这就是我的双亲。我现在既有母亲又有父亲了。

我们搬到郊区后不久,一位新邻居向我作了自我介绍。她已见过我的母亲和利奥,“你知道吗,”她说,“你长得真像你父亲。”我知道她只是在寻找交谈的话题,但即使是这样……“谢谢。”我说。为什么要把真相告诉她呢?


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《我的继父,我的朋友》

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