沙滩的秘密

The secret of the beach

汤南南    2012年9月30日

一个满怀心事的中年人来到海滩上,潮水的轻响冲淡了来路上的嘈杂喧闹,他把脚趾插进松软的沙子,指缝间一丝凉意让紧锁的双眉舒展开来,他仰头扭身舒缓了一下麻木的颈部,眼角瞥见周围的男女老幼都面朝着大海,不管他们来自哪里、之前是否见过大海,只要在沙滩站立片刻,总会不自觉放松身姿,舒展出一个沉静悠扬的剪影,仿佛大海是所有人的故乡,海滩是所有人的旧相识。随着几声少女的尖叫,一朵浪花打到了脚踝,中年人来不及打冷颤,敏捷地跳起来躲过了,脸上掠过一丝尴尬,他的身体比表情更能体会海水的清凉和活泼,他迅速看看周围,然后还是低头笑了,这回他的笑容舒坦多了,他开始有些期待第二朵浪花的侵扰了……这个人是我。

 

据我妈回忆,她生下我时,被我黝黑的皮肤吓坏了,四天都没敢抱我。即使在家乡闽南,我的肤色也是一般人望尘不及的。以致于在厦大招收第一届非裔留学生之前,我都不知道什么样颜色的衣服适合我。显然,我是长年在海水烈日中浸泡的渔民后代。父亲的老家在东海偏远的小渔村,那里的人世代以打渔为生,偶尔也兼职海盗,这个渔村曾因隐蔽而成为海盗聚集地,甚至成为50年国军向台湾退却的最后几个据点之一。

 

某晚父亲和村里6个胆大的年轻人约好,趁着连绵的阴雨和夜色,一起偷渡到国军集结海滩,准备随军一起撤向台湾。小舢板刚刚离开海滩,慌乱间众人隐约听见女人的叫唤,孝顺的父亲听出是奶奶的哭声,无奈跳下船来,陪着奶奶目送好友的远去。

 

我刚学会抱着大竹篮啃海瓜子时,每隔几晚就会听奶奶说:“阿狗啊,要不是我把你爸叫回来,就没有你了……”她叙述的次数如此之多,以致于多年以来,只要一闻到来自太平洋深处咸湿的海风,我的脑子里就会显现一片混沌初开的汪洋——有如逍遥游里浩瀚萧森北溟——雾气弥漫的大洋深处的闪电若隐若现地照见一叶小小的黑色翅膀,飓风卷起的垂天之云升腾于极远处的天尽头,海平面被逼到天上。远处夜色一样的海面似乎静止不动,近处却有隐隐的雷鸣震憾摇动着大地,隐藏海底的能量在此释放出骇人的气势,驱赶着层层巨浪咆哮着冲向海岸,前一个浪头还在50米外的礁石上轰成碎片,第二个浪头已经泰山压顶之势扑向一个小小的黑衣妇人——很多时候,我甚至能在风浪间听见隐约的女声呼喊,风浪越震耳,呼喊就越清晰,我因此相信我和海滩之间有着与生俱来的默契。

 

上小学后,在奶奶的要求下,父亲允许我回老家过寒暑假。这使我每年至少有两个月海阔天空、恣意玩乐的机会。至今我都认为自己不安本分的性格,正是故乡海上的不测风云和山野溪涧间“野”出来的。而喜欢胡思乱想、自欺也欺人的本性,一定是在海滩玩耍时就生根发芽了。面对海滩上残缺不全的漂浮物,一个喜欢自言自语的孩子,得是个多大的妄想狂才能拼凑出一个自以为是的故事。为了和玩伴证明自己的聪明才智,我还在沙滩上信手涂鸦作为神秘情节的插图,潮水送上岸的各类尸体不但教会我地老天荒的生老病死,它们赤条条坦荡安详的死相还让我相信另有一个平行世界的存在……那时的我即使临睡前躺在楼板上仰望星空,仍然会想象着用海滩上的漂流物对应眼前的星空。朦胧间会以为星空是大人的星相图,而沙滩,则是野孩子了解大海、探索未知世界的“海相图”。

 

沙滩在教会我编造幻想世界的同时,也间接让我窥探黑夜的奇妙和大人的秘密。成年堂哥们除了带我抓螃蟹、烤花生、拔芦笋以外,月圆的时候也带我去“看月娘”。奶奶说月娘就是月亮,但堂哥们不看月,只潜伏在防风林沉默地盯着远处的白鱼潭。我虽然还小,却记得隐约飘来的水声和笑语,月光洒在几条发光的身体上,不时银光一闪,真的很像调皮神经质的白鱼。彼时皓月当空,粼粼闪烁的金黄月影从水天间一泻千里,把大海辟成两半 ——有如红海前的摩西,一杖擎天,天地为之让路——四下里一片奇怪的寂静,那个灿烂场景比我读过的任何书更能展现寂静的丰富,从此我学会用眼睛在环境里学习书本里没有的知识。

 

中考后照例回到老家,这次多了学美术的堂哥作驰,因为好奇他的“写生”,我跟着他来到东山岛上著名的奥角渔场“采风”。忙碌的海滩上飘来海蜇皮在烈日下暴晒的剧烈腥臭,我学着堂哥在纸上胡涂乱画,多年以后,他仍坚持是那股恶臭和烈日让我的眼睛失去辨色能力——沙滩是纯净的柠檬黄色,黑紫的海面上飘着朱红大船和纯白的浪花,几丛扭曲的桅杆夹裹着撕裂的橘色浮云插入翠绿的天空——典型的视网膜穿刺后遗症患者的偏见——我确实记住了那股腥臭,因为在恶臭中、在水手的鼓励声中,我吃了一生中最美味、也是食量最大的一餐—— 六大碗米饭、三大盆的小管(鱿鱼)卷心菜和半斤高粱,而那只是普通水手一半的食量!

 

然而最不能忘记的是,没等喝完最后一口酒,突然听到许多人锐声高喊,我扶着肚子站起来一看:在夕阳的余晖里,阵阵浪花在晚风中化作金色的云雾,在沙滩与云雾之间,一个细长流动、通体棕黄的女子全身赤裸着、几乎是堂皇高贵地沿着海岸线慢慢走来,几只海鸟在她的周围飞舞盘旋,长发被海风旋转撕扯着飘向空中……那个年代的少年的眼睛纯净得象北溟的雪水,这个天人合一的场景闪电一样击中我……水手们嬉笑着朝她大喊大叫——她叫吴月娇,临村的疯女人,只要家人一不小心,常赤裸着跑到海边闲逛——“这算什么,我见多了,我们上课天天画这样的。”作驰忽然说,渔船边所有的人都羡慕地回头看着他。“画画的人太幸福了,我也要学!”我想。

 

我的大学校园正好就在沙滩边上,年轻人抑制不住的青春暴力即使是在温暖随和的海滩上也找不到片刻安宁。尽管我们随时都可以游泳,但是一定要在晚上才下海,为的是可以借着黑夜狂欢耗去过剩的青春。有时会赤裸着悄悄出现在礁石边,用貌似无花果叶的烂白菜遮住羞处,露出白森森的一排大牙对那些缠作一团的恋人轻声说:“麻烦把我的短裤仍过来 ”。我们把喝剩的啤酒埋在沙子里,等到有美丽的姑娘坐在上面或者附近时,彬彬有礼地请她们稍稍挪一下,在她们惊异的笑容里扒出酒来,一饮而尽。有时挖一个没膝的陷阱,有人一脚踩空时表情凝重而沉默地围观。要是有了喜欢的姑娘,自然会带她到只有自己知道的僻静处,陪她“面朝大海春暖花开”,不到宵禁时不会离开。

 

那时的厦大海滩既是恋人的温床,也是海防前线, 碉堡和高射炮铁丝网交错隐蔽在防风林。不想错过春宵缠绵的恋人和执勤的士兵因此时常吵嘴打架。大三时有一次竟然升级成规模较大的冲突,整班的学生和整排的士兵混战了半夜。士兵的理由是:同样的年纪,你们那么幸运可以读大学,不好好学习却天天泡妞,还拿话刺我们,当兵的说不过你们大学生,当兵的只会打!

 

今年,毕业18年聚会上,当年那些为室友打架的好兄弟又见面了。 当初一个浪头把23个年轻人打到厦大这片海滩,四年后又一个浪头把我们打得不知所踪……也难怪再聚时相顾愕然, 曾经清汤挂面的文艺青年俨然变成大肚油腻的酒囊饭袋,有人的身体开始出现残缺朽败的迹象。当年的理想都像残羹冷炙,只能为老掉牙的叙旧当下酒菜,为酒后胡言乱语壮胆。 但是无一例外的是,同学们不太愿意提及自己的经历,只想把最好的一面展示给对方,“说那些没意思,还是老同学喝酒爽”。

 

我只好像孩提时那般独自在海滩上自说自画,以自己浅薄孤陋的见识猜想他们的故事——趁着酒席还在,趁着下一朵浪花把我们打回生活的原形之前。如你所知,我们都是岸上的漂流物,随波逐流让我们坚硬麻木,也让我们残破不堪。曾几何时,我们分明是海滩上最引人瞩目的那一个,在得意自己成为主角之时,我们没有注意到,悄悄退下去的潮水很快就会涌上来,也许那些循环往复的潮水和沉默的大海,才是海滩真正的主人。

 

我喜欢古人流觞曲水的故事,因此从小幻想坐在水边,感觉着山水的精气与人的灵气 ,等着盛满美酒的杯子漂到自己的面前时,语惊四座后一饮而尽……现在回头看去,才知道岁月就是一条永不停息的大河,不管你有没有准备好,都会有自己的流觞 。流觞是我们与时间结的善缘,但善缘需要守候,她总在你渴望时姗姗来迟;在你得意时飘然而去,在回忆里风华绝代,让人在期待中耗尽一生。好在更多的人并不知道世界上有流觞的存在,他们只是平静的生活,一任该来的来、该逝去的逝去,该腐烂的腐烂,就象海滩上那些亘古交替的尸体和漂流物,他们在坦荡沉默中死去,把尸体交还自然,任洋流带向远方,哪怕是深埋在沙滩深处……这些简单的道理,我的同窗挚友、已故诗人方南早已在他32岁时,用一首短诗传达了更悠远深邃的意味——关于时间的散乱歌谣

 

时间,你有最好的一幅素描——一片黄绿相间的叶子。生命便是这纷披的叶儿之间盘旋着的一只只羽翼苍翠的飞鸟。时间,在你单调而从不乏丰盈泪水的园子里,寻觅的脚步更多地被淹没于近乎永恒的青草,从而——时间,你默然运行,我们也从不提及烦恼。当那粗率的小天使翩翩来临我们只说:趁着快乐还在,我们将快乐哀悼。

Tang Nannan    9/30/2012

A middle-aged man laden with anxiety came to the beach. The noise of the seaside  was covered by the water sound. He buried his toes into the soft sand, and the cool feeling smoothed his folded brows. Stretching his numb neck, he caught sight of those men and women, old and young enjoying the picturesque seascape fully, as if they had born there beside the seashore. Hearing the scream of some teenage girls, a cloud of spray suddenly drowned his ankles. He leapt at once and smiled much at ease. Then he expected for another… I was that man in his middle age, who had an unbreakable bond with the sea.

 

According to my mother’s memory, she was so scared by my extremely dark skin that she didn’t touch me for 4 days after giving birth to me. Such kind of dark skin was so rare in my hometown MinNan that I had had no idea about which color of the clothes   was suited to me until Xiamen University recruited African students. Obviously, I was the offspring of fishermen, who sank into the water and were exposed to the scorching sun year in, year out. My father came from a remote fishing village of Donghai, where people made their living as a fisherman from generation to generation. Sometimes they became pirates, and the village was once the den of the pirates and even the National  Revolutionary Army’s soldiers, for its well-concealed position.

 

It was a raining night, my father stole out to the beach with another 6 brave youngsters where the National Revolutionary Army assembled, leaving to Taiwan. Hardly had he left off the shore when he heard the crying of his mother. My father had no choice but to get off, watching the boat sailing into the distance.

 

As a kid, I just learnt to eat the clams with a bamboo basket in my arm. My grandma told me now and then if she hadn’t recalled my father back, I would not exist now.  Her words was engraved on my mind so deeply that once I smelt the scent of the sea breeze, a primal and vast sea would emerge in my mind──like the boundless North Sea described in the Wandering in Absolute Freedom by Zhuangzi──Distantly on the foggy surface of the ocean, a little pair of black wings was vaguely lightened by lightning. Clouds were swept to a far distance, as the horizon was in the sky. The far-flung offing was serene in the darkness of night, while depressed thunder sound could be heard at the near place. The earth was shaking when the energy of ocean was about to burst out. Huge waves rushed to the shore, roaring alone. After the first huge wave smashed a reef into pieces, the second wave came over to a petite woman in black——for many times I could even heard them shouting. It became clearer when it’s approaching me, thus I had reason to believe there was a tacit understanding between me and the ocean by nature.

 

As the demand of my grandma, my father allowed me to go back to hometown for summer and winter vacations when I was in primary school. Therefore I got chances of fooling around for at least two months every year. So far I had owed all my badly behaved personality to the wonderful time that I spent on the mountain and sea. There grew the free thoughts of mine. At that time I was a child who talked to himself, deluding himself with crazy stories of those fragmented things floating on the water. I even drew at random on the beach to illustrate the stories I made up, in order to prove my intelligence.

 

At the time it taught me how to make up a world of illusion, the beach also led me to the mystery of the night and the secret of adults. Except for catching crabs, roasting peanuts and pulling out the asparagus, they also took me to “watch the moon girl”every time when the moon was full. According to my grandma’s words, “the moon girl”was the moon, but my cousins only stared into the distant Baiyu Pool, hiding in the shelter belt quietly, instead of enjoying the moon. Young as I was, I could recall the voice of girls and water. Covered with moonlight, their bodies were shining, just like naughty white fish. At that time the moon was so bright that its light was flowing from the sky and slashing the sea into two parts——which reminded me of Moses parting the Red Sea──with weird hush surrounding. That was the most brilliant scene I’d never seen, even in the books. From then on I started to keep watch to surrounding area, for I could learn things that books didn’t teach me.

 

After the senior middle school entrance exam, I came back to my hometown, with my cousin Zuochi, who majored in art. Being curious about his drawing, I went to the Aojiao Fishery, in Dongshan Island, “collecting folk things”with him. Sitting on the beach that hustle and bustle, I randomly draw on the paper as the way my cousin did, with a whiff of smelly jellyfishes that were exposed to the heavy sunshine. For so many years he insisted that it was the stink and the scorching sun that triggered my color blindness——the beach was pure yellow of straw, the sea was black with purple, some vermilion ships and white waves on it, thickets of olives wound the erotic floating clouds, towering into the dark green sky——a prime example of biasing against people who had a sequelae of retinal puncture——I remembered the stink indeed, for I had one of the grandest and most delicious banquet in my lifetime with it——six bowls of rice, three basins of squid, cabbage, and half Jin of sorghum, but all of them was just half of an appetite of a seaman!

 

However, the most unforgettable thing was the piercing shouting by many people which make me stand up, cup my belly and see, though I hadn’t finished my last mouthful of wine. Under the last rays of the setting sun, waves became golden clouds in the evening breeze. In the middle of beach and clouds, a lady of slight build, coated with sunlight was walking naked along the coastline leisurely, with several sea bird flying around, and her long hair torn by sea breeze… At that time I was a pure and simple teenager, and the harmonious integral scene of human and nature shocked me like lightning…Seamen shouted to her with laughter——her name was Wu Yuejiao, a mad woman from the adjacent village, who bared all, walking on the coastline when her family failed to take care of her——“This is nothing to me. I’ve seen a lot naked women. We have to draw them everyday in class.”Zuochi said, which made all those present green with envy.“It’s such a lucky job to draw. I want to major in it too.”I thought to myself.

 

My campus was right besides the beach. The vigor and liveliness of youth could never be diminished even on tender and warm beach. We could swim at any time, but we waited until the night, as we wanted to spend our endless youth on night. Sometimes we showed up near a reef naked, covering our private parts with cabbage leaves, smiled and asked glued couples to throw our pants to us. We buried bottles of leftover beer in the sand, and then dug them out, drink them up when girls were sitting on the area and surprised by us. Sometimes we dug a hole that was knee-deep, gave a grave expression when someone fell into it. If we fell in love with girls, we would take them to where only known by ourselves and“Facing the sea with flowers blossom”with them till curfew.

 

The beach near Xiamen University was not only the hotbed of lovers, but also the coastal defence line, where pillboxes and anti-aircraft gun hided in the shelter belt, therefore many lovers quarreled even fought with the guard on duty. There was a big conflict when I was a junior, which the whole class fought with the soldiers till the midnight. The reason of the soldiers was: you are so lucky as a college student at the same age of us, however you don’t work hard, foul around with girls, and even laugh at us. We soldiers have no gift of the gab. The only thing we know is to fight!

 

At the alumni party this year, the buddies who risked their lives for one another met again. It was a big wave that sent twenty three youngsters to the beach, and it was another that sent us to all over the world after four years… No wonder that we all felt astounded at the reunion, for the skinny young men had become potbellied middle-ages. Some of them were even old and feeble. The old dream and ambition’s were like leftovers, nothing but a dish to go with beer while reminiscing about the past. No one was willing to talk about their lives and experiences. They only thing they did was to show the best themselves to others. “Forget the boring things. I only feel good when drinking with my classmates of former times.”

 

So I had to speak to myself on the beach, just like what I did when being a child. I imagined their story with my ignorance——while the banquet was going on, and before  our true color of life revealed by the next coming waves. As you know, we are all drifting on the water, and going with the tide really made us numb and dog-tired. It was not before long that we were the stars on the beach, while being content we hadn’t noticed that the ebb would rise soon, and maybe the circulating tide and the silent sea was the master of the beach.

 

I love the story of “QuShuiLiuShang”(Drink water from a winding canal with one wine cup floating on it so as to wash away ominousness), so I’ve dreamed about sitting on the bank, absorbing the essence of nature and human being, creating some amazing poems when the wine cup floats in front of me, and then drinking them up… Now recollecting all this, I realize that life is a river flowing ceaselessly, and you’re going to have your own chances no matter how much you’ve prepared. The floating wine cup is our good karma, which needs you to wait for it, for it is always late; it fades away swiftly when you’re puffed up with pride, only lives in your prime memory, and lets you expect for it in vain. The upside is, most of the people don’t know the existence of it. They live quietly, letting things come and go and rot away, just like the drifting bodies and things on the beach. Let them die in the silence. Let them give their bodies back to the nature, going  far away with the tide and being buried into the sand… This simple truth has been conveyed by my late friend, who wrote a brief poem in his 32, which was about the mess of time.