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        浪漫路曲曲折折

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        Detour to Romance

          Located in the checkroom in Union Station as I am, I see everybody that comes up the stairs.

          Harry came in a little over three years ago and waited at the head of the stairs for the passengers from the 9∶05 train.

          I remember seeing Harry that first evening. He wasn't much more than a thin, anxious kid then. He was all dressed up and I knew he was meeting his girl and that they would be married twenty minutes after she arrived.

          Well, the passengers came up and I had to get busy. I didn't look toward the stairs again until nearly time for the 9∶18 and I was very surprised to see that the young fellow was still there.

          She didn't come on the 9∶18 either, nor on the 9∶40, and when the passengers from the 10∶02 had all arrived and left, Harry was looking pretty desperate. Pretty soon he came close to my window so I called out and asked him what she looked like.

          "She's small and dark," he said, "and nineteen years old and very neat in the way she walks. She has a face," he said, thinking a minute, "that has lots of spirit. I mean she can get mad but she never stays mad for long, and her eyebrows come to a little point in the middle. She's got a brown fur, but maybe she isn't wearing it."

          I couldn't remember seeing anybody like that.

          He showed me the telegram he'd received: ARRIVE THURSDAY. MEET ME STATION. love love love love. MAY. It was from Omaha, Nebraska.

          "Well," I finally said, "why don't you phone to your home? She's probably called there if she got in ahead of you."

          He gave me a sick look. "I've only been in town two days. We were going to meet and then drive down South where I've got a job. She hasn't any address for me." He touched the telegram.

          When I came on duty the next day he was still there and came over as soon as he saw me.

          "Did she work anywhere?" I asked.

          He nodded. "She was a typist. I telegraphed her former boss. All they know is that she left her job to get married."

          Harry met every train for the next three or four days. Of course, the railroad lines made a routine checkup and the police looked into the case. But nobody was any real help. I could see that they all figured that May had simply played a trick on2 him. But I never believed that, somehow.

          One day, after about two weeks, Harry and I were talking and I told him about my theory. "If you'll just wait long enough," I said, "you'll see her coming up those stairs some day." He turned and looked at the stairs as though he had never seen them before.

          The next day when I came to work Harry was behind the counter of Tony's magazine stand. He looked at me rather sheepishly and said, "Well, I had to get a job somewhere, didn't I?"

          So he began to work as a clerk for Tony. We never spoke of May anymore and neither of us ever mentioned my theory. But I noticed that Harry always saw every person who came up the stairs.

          Toward the end of the year Tony was killed in some argument over gambling, and Tony's widow left Harry in complete charge of the magazine stand. And when she got married again some time later, Harry bought the stand from her. He borrowed money and installed a soda fountain and pretty soon he had a very nice little business.

          Then came yesterday. I heard a cry and a lot of things falling. The cry was from Harry and the things falling were a lot of dolls and other things which he had upset while he was jumping over the counter. He ran across and grabbed a girl not ten feet from my window. She was small and dark and her eyebrows came to a little point in the middle.

          For a while they just hung there to each other laughing and crying and saying things without meaning. She'd say a few words like, "It was the bus station I meant" and he'd kiss her speechless and tell her the many things he had done to find her. What apparently had happeded three years before was that May had come by bus, not by train, and in her telegram she meant "bus station," not "railroad station." She had waited at the bus station for days and had spent all her money trying to find Harry. Finally she got a job typing.

          "What?" said Harry. "Have you been working in town? All the time?"

          She nodded.

          "Well, Heavens. Didn't you ever come down here to the station?" He pointed across to his magazine stand. "I've been there all the time. I own it. I've watched everybody that came up the stairs."

          She began to look a little pale. Pretty soon she looked over at the stairs and said in a weak voice, "I never came up the stairs before. You see, I went out of town yesterday on a short business trip. Oh, Harry!" Then she threw her arms around his neck and really began to cry.

          After a minute she backed away and pointed very stiffly toward the north end of the station. "Harry, for three years, for three solid years, I've been right over there working right in this very station, typing, in the office of the stationmaster."

         

        浪漫路曲曲折折

          由于我工作的地方在聯合車站的行李寄存處,我看得見每一個上樓的人。

          哈里3年多以前來到這里,站在樓梯口等待9點05分到達的火車旅客。

          我還記得那第一晚見到哈里時的情景。那時,他瘦瘦的,神情焦慮,就像個孩子似的。他穿戴整齊,我知道他是在等女朋友,而且在她到達20分鐘之后他們就要結婚。

          旅客們過來了,我得忙碌起來。等到9點18分的那趟車快到的時候我才再往樓梯方向看去,我吃驚地發現那個年輕人還在那里。

          她也沒乘9點18分的那趟車來,9點40分的車上也沒她。等10點02分那趟車的旅客全都到達并離開后,哈里顯得很失望。很快他走近我的窗口,我就招呼他,問她長得什么模樣。

          “她個子小,皮膚黑,”他說,“19歲。走路的樣子很利落。她的臉,”他想了一會兒,說,“很有個性。我的意思是說她會生氣,但從不會生氣太久。她的眉心處有一個小點兒。她有一件褐色毛皮大衣,不過可能沒穿著。”

          我想不起來看見過有誰長得像那樣。

          他給我看他收到的電報:星期四到。車站接我。愛愛愛愛。——梅。電報寄自內布拉斯加州的奧馬哈市。

          “呃,”我最后說,“你干嗎不往家里打個電話?如果她先你到達這里,她可能已給你家打過電話。”

          他懊惱地看了我一眼。“我到城里才兩天。我們打算見面之后開車去南方,我在那兒找到了一份工作。她——她也沒給我任何地址。”他摸了摸電報。

          第二天我去值班時他還在那兒。一看見我,他就走了過來。

          “她在哪兒工作過嗎?”我問。

          他點了點頭。“她本來是個打字員。我給她以前的老板拍了電報。他們只知道她不干了,結婚去了。”

          哈里在后來的三四天接了每趟車。當然,鐵路方面作了例行檢查,警察也參與了這件事。但是實際上誰也沒幫上忙。我看得出來,他們都覺得梅只不過是跟他開了個玩笑,但不知怎么我卻根本不這么認為。

          有一天,大約是過了兩周之后,哈里和我聊天,我給他談了我的想法。“假如你等的時間夠長的話,”我說,“總有一天,你會看見她走上樓梯的。”他轉過身看著樓梯,仿佛過去從來沒見過似的。

          第二天我去上班時,哈里已經站在托尼雜志攤的柜臺后面了。他不大好意思地看著我說,“呃,我總得在哪兒找個工作,是不是?”

          于是,他開始給托尼賣雜志。我們再也不談梅,誰也不提我的看法。但是我注意到哈里總要看看每個上樓的人。

          到年底時,托尼由于賭博發生爭執而被別人殺了。托尼的妻子將雜志攤完全交給了哈里打理。過了些時候她再次結婚,哈里就從她那兒把雜志攤買了過來。他借了錢,裝了個冷飲柜,不久小生意就做得不錯了。

          于是到了昨天,我聽見了一聲叫喊,還聽見好多東西掉到地上。是哈里在叫。掉在地上的是一大堆玩具和其他的東西,都是他跳過柜臺時弄翻的。他從這些東西上面跑過去抓住了一個女孩,她就在離我窗戶不到10英尺的地方。她個子小小的,黑黑的,眉心處有一個小點。

          好一會兒的時間他們就那么呆著,相對著笑呀,哭呀,講些沒什么意義的話。她好像說“我指的是汽車站 ——”而他則把她吻得說不出話來,告訴她自己為找她所做的許多事情。顯然,3年前梅是乘汽車而不是火車來的。她電報里指的是“汽車站”而不是“火車站”。她在汽車站等了好幾天,為找哈里花掉了所有的錢。最后,她找了一份打字的工作。

          “什么?”哈里說,“你在城里工作?一直都在?”

          她點了點頭。

          “哎呀,老天爺——你就從來沒到這個車站來過?”他把手指向雜志攤。“我一直就在那兒。那個攤兒是我的。我看過每個上樓的人。”

          她的臉色開始變得有些蒼白。過了

          一會兒,她向樓梯看去,聲音微弱地

          說:“我——我過去一直沒上這個樓梯。你看,我昨天出城是去辦點公事——噢,哈里!”然后,她伸手摟住他的脖子,真的哭了起來。

          過了一會兒,她往后一站,用手直指車站的最北頭。“哈里,3年來,整整3年,我就在那兒——就在這個車站工作,在站長辦公室里,打字。”

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