佛蘭與裘克

  • 2017-04-10
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I was the last in a long line of grandkids on both sides of the family. No one has ever said as much, but I’m pretty sure I was an “oops” baby; the result of one too many glasses of wine and a couple over forty who thought unplanned pregnancies were for teens.

Oops.

By the time I came along, both of my grandmothers had already passed away and my grandfathers were elderly and lived in different states. Trying to coordinate travel plans for a family of five, including an infant, was difficult on a budget and neither of my grandpas were up to frequent trips, so visits were rare and spaced out over long periods.

Still, both of my parents wanted me to have a relationship with them, so we’d trade phone calls so they could hear my nonsensical baby babble, they’d write me letters for Mom and Dad to read to me, and they’d get crayon scribbles in return.

When I was three, they both started to experience declines in health. First my maternal grandpa, then my paternal one. Fearing the worst, Mom purchased a pair of teddy bears, the kind that had recorders in them so you could record a message that would play when the bear was hugged, and made sure to get a message saved from both.

My mom’s father died when I was four. A few days after his funeral, I was given a white teddy bear with bright blue eyes that twinkled from beneath a plaid flat cap and a green sweater. When I gave it a squeeze, I heard my grandpa’s slightly muffled voice from its stomach.

“I love you, Sadie.”

Two years later, after Dad’s father passed, I got the other one. It was a slate gray color and the stitching on his face gave him a rather serious expression for a stuffed animal. A pair of red suspenders held up his tan trousers. I fell asleep hugging it and my dad told me some years later, with tears in his eyes, that randomly throughout that night, he kept hearing Grandpop’s voice coming from my room.

“I love you, Sadie.”

I named my white bear Fran and my gray bear Jock and put them on a shelf above my bed, where they sat throughout my childhood. Honestly, I didn’t give them much thought; they had become fixtures of my room, the same way the lamp and dresser were. Every now and again, I’d come home from school to find one of my parents standing beside my bed, looking up at the bears or giving them a little squeeze. Even as time passed, they still recited their single phrase without fail.

Aside from those instances, though, Fran and Jock were little more than dust collectors from my childhood.

When I went away to college, the two didn’t make the cut and were left behind while I made my way out into the world for the first time. I think my parents were a little disappointed that I wasn’t more sentimental over the teddies, but any memories I had of my grandpas were hazy at best and I didn’t have the same emotional connection that they did.

When Mom gently asked about whether I would like them when I moved into my first apartment, I told her no, that they were probably better off with her.

“Ok.” She said. “Well, they’ll be here if you change your mind.”

I was pretty confident I wouldn’t.

The next time I went back to my parents’ place was to housesit while Dad took Mom on their long awaited vacation out west. He’d been promising her they’d go for over thirty years and they were both buzzing with excitement. In typical Mom fashion, however, she was also very nervous.

“You remember where all the financial documents are in case anything happens to us, right?” She asked from the backseat at least six times on the drive to the airport.

“Yes, in the white bin under your bed.”

“And the wills?”

“Fireproof lock box in the back of your closet.”

“And th-”

“I think she’s got it, hon.” Dad said, reaching back to give her knee a squeeze.

Mom harrumphed and sat back. “Just call if you need anything.”

“I’ll be fine, don’t worry! You’re only going for a week.”

“A lot can happen in a week.” She said.

I grinned at her in the rearview mirror, unconcerned, and she made a face at me, but seemed to relax.

After I dropped them off, I drove back to their place and started to make myself at home again. I tossed my suitcase on my bed and went to the kitchen to make some dinner and catch up on one of my shows. It had been a while since I’d had a true, completely free week all to myself and I planned to take full advantage of it. After I ate, I kicked up my feet, stretched out, and commenced “Lazy Lump” mode.

I managed to get almost three episodes in before I started to nod off. I checked the clock over the TV and sighed. It was only just after eleven; was I really turning into an old, early-to-bed woman already? The horror! I rolled off the couch and shut off the tv and all the lights, plunging the house into a deep darkness.

Even in the inky black, I didn’t feel even a twinge of nervousness. I’d grown up in the house, I knew it like the back of my hand, and all of its creaks and groans were almost comforting. I made my way to my room and flipped on the light. It had been at least five years since I lived there, but my parents hadn’t done much to change my room except store a few bits and bobs in the closet. They said it was so I’d know I’d always have a place with them. I thought it was because changing it would make the fact that I was out for good more real.

Whatever the reason, I appreciated the familiarity.

As I started to unpack my bag, my eye was drawn to the shelf over my bed. Fran and Jock, ever vigilant, were sitting in the same spots they’d occupied for most of my life. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t help but smile and reach out to them.

I took Fran down first and gave his little cap a tweak before squeezing him around his stomach.

“I love you, Sadie.” Grandpa said.

After putting Fran back, I did the same to Jock, who stared up at me with his usual sternness even as I plucked one red suspender.

“I love you, Sadie.” Grandpop said.

It was the first time I’d listened to them in a while. Even if they didn’t resonate as deeply with me as they did my parents, I was glad to find their recordings still worked.

A quick trip to the bathroom and a change into my pjs later, I was in bed and fast falling asleep.

I can’t say exactly what woke me. A nightmare, I figured, given that my heart was beating quite quickly, but I couldn’t remember any details. I took a deep breath and rolled over, already falling half asleep again, and found myself face to face with a dark figure on the pillow beside me. I yelped and sat up, grabbing at my phone, my nearest source of light, and shined it towards my bed.

Fran was lying on his side beside me.

I let out a small chuckle and gave myself a little shake to dismiss the lingering fright that he’d caused and picked him up.

“Did you fall off the shelf?” I asked him quietly. I must have put him back too close to the edge earlier and gravity had done its duty.

I gave Fran a gentle squeeze.

“Get out.”

I stared down at the bear and blinked once, very slowly. I must be more sleepy than I realized, I thought. I was hearing things. To prove to myself that it had just been my imagination, I squeezed him again.

“Get out.”

It was still Grandpa’s voice, but instead of the soft warmth it had always had, it sounded cold, almost menacing. I threw Fran across the room, where he hit the wall.

From over my head, I heard Grandpop’s more gravely voice.

“Get out.”

I whipped around and looked up at Jock. He was sitting in the same place as always, but now he was turned towards the door instead of facing forwards. Had I put him down like that? I couldn’t remember.

“Get out!” Grandpa’s voice came from Fran again, louder this time.

“Get out!” Grandpop echoed from Jock.

The two went back and forth, their voices getting louder and louder, until I slapped my hands over my ears and leapt from my bed. I wanted to scream, but my voice was stuck behind my fear tangled tongue. I stumbled across my dark room, chased by my long dead grandfathers’ voices.

“I know you’re down there!” Jock shouted with Grandpop’s voice.

I froze. Down there? Down under the shelf? I glanced over my shoulder at the gray bear staring silently down from over my bed. I had to get out of my room. I had to get out of the house! I yanked open my door.

“I see you!” Fran said in Grandpa’s voice.

I was halfway out into the hall, tears streaming down my face. I didn’t know what was happening, was I going crazy? Was I dreaming? All I knew was that my two childhood toys were screaming threats at me and I had to get away from them. I turned towards the stairs.

“You take one more step, I’ll make sure it’s your last!” Jock bellowed.

“Get out!” Fran roared.

From somewhere downstairs, a step creaked.

Someone else was in the house.

They weren’t yelling at me at all, I realized with a very strange mix of confusing relief and newly formed horror. They were yelling at the intruder who was making their way up the stairs, towards me.

“Get out!” My grandfathers howled together.

Footsteps clamored across the wood floor downstairs. Something fell over in the living room with a loud crash, and again in the kitchen, before the back door slammed against the counter as it was thrown open and a car engine rumbled to life.

Somehow, I regained my wits enough to run to my parents room and look out the window to the driveway below. An SUV was peeling backwards out into the street. It slammed into the neighbor’s mailbox, righted itself, and then screeched off into the night.

A heavy quiet had fallen over the house again.

After waiting a few, long, tense minutes, I crept back across the hall and peeked into my room. Fran and Jock were where I’d left them, both completely silent. When they stayed that way, I hesitantly approached Fran, who was lying on his side with his little flat cap beside him. I picked him up and, with trembling fingers, squeezed his stomach.

“I love you, Sadie.” Grandpa said warmly.

I put his cap back on his head and gently put him back on the shelf beside Jock and backed out of the room, watching them the whole time with wide eyes. As I rounded the corner, heading downstairs to the phone, I heard Grandpop’s voice trailing after me.

“I love you, Sadie.”

The police arrived a bit later, following my frantic call to 911. I filed a report, leaving out the bit about my talking bears, and allowed them to collect whatever evidence they could. Every so often, I found myself glancing at the stairs, almost like I was expecting a repeat of whatever had just happened. It never came and the cops wrapped it up, leaving me alone again.

When I called my parents to tell them about the break in, they immediately wanted to rush home, but I assured them there was no need.

“Really,” I said, “I don’t think I have anything to worry about.”

“We could be on the next plane.” Mom insisted.

“No, I’m ok. Whoever that guy was, I’m pretty sure he won’t be back.”

It took a few more go arounds, but I eventually convinced them I was safe.

And I felt it, too, for the most part. After the initial shock had worn off and I’d had time to process what had happened, I really was ok. I couldn’t explain it, I couldn’t tell anyone what had happened without sounding crazy, but I knew it had been real and I knew, as long as I had Fran and Jock sitting on the shelf above my bed, I could sleep easy.

A few days later, the cops did find the guy who broke in. He was a coworker of my dad’s who’d overheard he’d be out of town. He thought the house would be empty and easy pickings. When he tried to tell them about the two crazy guys upstairs and their violent threats, they rolled their eyes and laughed at him. He was very surprised to hear that only a twenty-two year old woman had been in the house during his botched burglary.

When I returned home to my apartment a week later, Fran and Jock were with me. I keep them on the tv stand in the living room now, where they have a full view of the front door. Whenever I start to feel a bit anxious about being alone, I’ll give each bear a little squeeze and smile as they speak.

“I love you, Sadie.”

And now I respond. “I love you both, too.”

  1. 2018:  斐讯K3路由器 搭建酸酸乳安全通讯网络(1)

原文網址:https://goo.gl/cphiEq
Fran and Jock
===================
其實我在想,moptt熱門文章旁邊會有一張文章裡面的圖片

我要讓他們困惑為什麼marvel會有小貓咪。

嗯好,正文開始!
===================
我是兩邊家族裡頭最小的那個孩子。雖然沒有人說過,但是我很確定我是「不小心」懷上
的寶寶;太多杯紅酒,和一對年已四十以為安全性行為只是給青少年的夫妻造成的結果。

Oops.

在我出生時,我兩個奶奶都已經過世了,而爺爺們都已年邁且住在不同的州。試著去規劃
一個包含五個家庭的家族旅遊,甚至還有一個嬰兒,是很困難的。不論是預算問題,或是
要讓爺爺們出門的問題。所以大家都偶爾會去拜訪一次爺爺們,可是週期越來越長,頻率
越來越低。

然而,我的父母仍希望我能跟他們建立關係,所以他們會打電話給爺爺們,讓他們可以聽
到我毫無意義的小寶寶嘀咕聲,他們還會寫信給我父母好唸給我聽,作為回信他們會收到
一堆潦草的蠟筆塗鴉。

在我三歲時,他們的健康狀況驟降,一開始是我媽媽那邊的爺爺,後來是我爸爸那邊的爺
爺。媽媽擔心最糟的情況發生,所以買了一對泰迪熊,那種可以錄音的,這樣在你抱它的
時候就會放出來之前錄好的訊息。媽媽希望能紀錄他們兩個的聲音下來。

媽媽那邊的爺爺在我四歲時過世了。在他喪禮的幾天後,我收到一個白色的泰迪熊,它穿
著一件綠毛衣,有著明亮的藍色雙眼,在它的小扁帽下頭閃閃發光。當我捏它時,從它的
肚子那邊會傳來我爺爺低沉的嗓音。

「我愛妳,莎蒂。」

兩年之後,我爸爸那邊的爺爺過世了,而我收到另外一隻暗灰色的泰迪熊,他臉上的縫線
使得他略顯嚴肅。兩條紅色的吊帶拖著他棕色的小短褲。我抱著他睡著,而爸爸幾年後帶
著淚水告訴我,在那天夜裡,他不斷聽到爺爺的聲音從我的房裡傳來。

「我愛妳,莎蒂。」

我給白色那隻起了個名字,佛蘭,而灰色那隻叫裘克,並把他們放在我床上頭的櫃子上,
他們坐在那裏陪伴了我整個童年。但老實說,我對他們並沒有多少感情,他們成了我房間
的背景,就跟檯燈和衣櫃差不多。

從那時候起,我常常從學校回家後,發現我爸爸或媽媽站在床邊,盯著泰迪熊,或者捏他
們一下。即使過了這麼久,他們兩個仍然不斷重複著一樣的句子。

除了那些情況,佛蘭跟裘克在我的童年裡幾乎只是積灰塵的物件。

當我去上大學時,我並沒有把他們一起帶上,一個人出去闖盪。我覺得我父母對於我沒有
把泰迪熊們放在心上感到有點失望,然而我對於爺爺們的記憶全都只是朦朧模糊的,我想
我不過是沒跟我父母對他們有著一樣的情感吧。

當媽媽問我,在我搬到新公寓時想不想要把他們兩個一起帶上,我拒絕了,跟她說他們留
給她會比較好。

「好吧。」她說。「但是,如果妳改變了想法,他們都會一直在這裡等妳。」

我相當有自信我不會的。

再下一次我回到我父母家時是準備要替他們看家,因為爸爸要帶媽媽去一趟很遠的旅遊。
他已經跟她保證他會帶她去三十年了,而他們現在都興奮極了。然而,媽媽都這樣,她也
非常緊張跟擔心。

「假設我們出了什麼事,你知道那些財務文件放在哪對吧?」在開車到機場的路上她大概
問了六次有了。

「知道,就在你床底下的白色箱子裡。」

「地契呢?」

「在你衣櫃底部的防火保險箱裡。」

「還有那—」

「甜心我相信她都知道了。」爸爸說道,向後捏了她的膝蓋一下。

媽媽發出鼻息,並往後坐。「如果你需要任何東西就打給我吧。」

「我會沒事的,別擔心!你們也才去一個禮拜。」

「一個禮拜也可能發生很多事。」她說。

我從後照鏡朝她微笑,她看到後做了個表情,但似乎放心了不少。

在我放他們下車之後,我開回他們家,開始讓自己休息。我把自己的行李箱丟到床上,到
廚房做了些晚餐,接著回去追我最喜歡的節目。已經好久沒有像這樣一個人悠哉的度過整
個星期了,我計畫要活用這段時間。在我吃完之後,我踢了踢腳,伸展一下身體,接著進
入「大懶蟲」模式。

在我開始想睡前,我看了足足三集節目。我看了看電視上的時鐘,現在也才十一點而已;
我真的開始變成一個早睡的老女人了嗎?用想的都覺得可怕!我滾下沙發,關掉電視跟全
部的燈,房子陷入一片黑暗。

即便在這一片寂黑之中,我絲毫感受不到一絲緊張或害怕。我在這棟房子長大的,對它的
了解就好像自己的手背一樣,房子裏頭每一片木板的嘎吱聲都令我安心習慣。我走到我房
間並把燈打開。

距離我上次住在這裡八成過了五年有了,但是我的父母幾乎沒動過房間,除了放了些東西
在衣櫃裡頭。他們說他們不會動是因為這樣我隨時回來都能有地方住。但是我想是因為,
如果改了這個房間任何一樣東西都會讓我已經永遠離開,不在這兒住的這個事實更顯得真
實。

無論如何,我很高興它們能保持原狀。

隨著我開始卸下行李,我的目光轉移到床上的櫃子那。佛蘭跟裘克,彷彿警戒著,坐在我
大半生命下來他們一直都在的座位上。我不禁微笑的走向他們。

我把佛蘭拿下來,調了一下他的扁帽,捏了捏他的肚子。

「我愛妳,莎蒂。」爺爺說。

在把佛蘭放回去後,我對裘克做了一樣的事,他一如以往的帶著嚴肅的表情,即使我彈了
彈他其中一個紅色吊帶。

「我愛妳,莎蒂。」爺爺說。

已經好一陣子沒有聽到他們的聲音了,即使他們對我來說不像父母對他們那般產生共鳴,
我仍很高興他們的錄音還在。

在我洗完澡並換上睡衣之後,我躺上床,眼皮漸沉。

我也不知道是什麼原因讓我在半夜驚醒。惡夢?我想吧,心跳跳的飛快,但我卻記不起任
何細節。我深深地吸了一口氣並翻身,幾乎都要再次睡著了,直到我發現在黑暗中有個黑
色的物件正在我枕頭旁面對著我。

我叫了一聲,並坐起身子,抓了我的手機,最靠近我的光源,並把光照向我的床。

佛蘭正躺在我旁邊。

我不禁笑出聲,搖了我自己一下好除去他剛剛造成的驚嚇並把他撿起來。

「你掉下櫃子了嗎?」我輕聲的問他。我一定是把他放得太邊緣了。

我捏了佛蘭一下。

「滾出去。」

我瞪大眼睛盯著熊,眨了眨眼。我想我一定是比我自己認為的還要睏了。我聽到幻覺。為
了證明這只是我在幻想,我又捏了他一把。

「滾出去。」

這還是爺爺的聲音,但不是以往般輕柔溫暖,卻是冷酷,且激近威嚇的語氣。我把佛蘭丟
出去,他撞在牆壁上。

在我頭上,我聽到另一個爺爺更嚴肅的聲音。

「滾出去。」

我翻過身來盯著裘克。他還在他的原位,卻面向門的方向,不同於原本面向正前方。是我
把他擺成那樣的嗎?我也不記得。

「滾出去!」佛蘭又發出爺爺的聲音,而這次更大聲。

「滾出去!」裘克附和著。

他們兩個的聲音來來去去,越來越大聲,直到我把手摑在自己眼上,跳下床。我想要大叫
,但是聲音卻因恐懼塞在喉頭。我在我黑暗的房間裡奔跑,後頭跟著我已經過世的爺爺們
的聲音。

「我知道你在下面!」裘克用爺爺的聲音大吼。

我傻住了。在下面?在櫃子下面?我斜眼從我肩膀那瞄去,看見那隻灰色的泰迪熊正輕微
的在上頭往床下面看著。我需要離開我的房間。我需要離開這棟房子!我猛然打開我的門

「我看到你了!」佛蘭用爺爺的聲音說道。

我快奔出走廊,淚水從我臉上流下。我根本搞不懂發生了什麼事,我發瘋了?還是我在做
夢?我只知道我童年的兩個玩具現在正在用嘶吼的威脅我,而我必須遠離它們。我轉向樓
梯。

「你再走任何一步,我會確保那是你的最後一步!」裘克大聲喝道。

「滾出去!」佛蘭嘶吼著。

從樓下的某處,傳來地板一聲咖吱聲。

有其他人在房子裡頭。

它們根本不是在對我吼!我現在百感交集,雖然困惑但是解脫,卻同時有了新的恐懼。它
們正對著樓下的入侵者大吼,就當他逐漸往上走,朝著我來時。

「滾出去!」我的爺爺們一起嘶吼著。

慌亂的腳步聲從樓下傳來。有東西摔在客廳上,發出巨響,接著撞在廚房。後門猛地關上
,外面傳來車子引擎發動的隆隆聲。

我跑進我父母的房間,看向窗外。一臺運動休旅車正快速倒車到街上。它撞上了鄰居的郵
箱,導正之後揚長而去,駛進黑夜之中。

房裡再度陷入死寂。

在等了好一段時間之後,我爬回走廊,窺視我的房間。佛蘭跟裘克仍在原位,寂靜不語。
我遲疑的走近佛蘭,他的扁帽掉在他的後面。我把他拿起來,然後用我顫抖的手指,捏了
他的肚子一下。

「我愛妳,莎蒂。」爺爺溫暖的說道。

我把他的扁帽放回他的頭上,輕輕的把他擺回櫃子上,就在裘克的旁邊。我慢慢的步出房
間,眼睛瞪圓的盯著他們。當我在轉角要往樓梯走下到電話那兒時,我聽到爺爺的聲音從
後面傳來。

「我愛妳,莎蒂。」

在我那通胡言亂語的報警電話後警方來了。我填了份表格,但是沒提到我會說話的泰迪熊
們,同時允許他們進去蒐集他們想要的任何證物。我發現我自己呆站在樓梯上,就好像我
希望剛剛發生的事情能再發生一次。然而並沒有,同時警方搜索完並離開了,再次的留下
我一個人。

當我打給爸媽跟他們講關於小偷闖入的事情之後,他們迫切的想要趕回家,但我跟他們說
現在沒那個必要了。

「真的,」我說,「我覺得我沒什麼需要擔心的了。」

「我們可以直接搭下一個班機回家。」媽媽堅持的說道。

「不,我沒問題的。不管那傢伙是誰,我很確定他不會回來了。」

雖然花了點時間,但我最後終於說服他們我是很安全的。

而我是真的感到安全的。在從原本的驚嚇之中釋放之後,我花了點時間去思考究竟發生了
什麼事。我卻沒辦法解釋,也沒辦法在聽起來不像瘋子的情況下跟別人說,但我知道都是
真的,也知道只要佛蘭跟裘克還坐在櫃子上,我就能安穩的睡覺。

幾天之後,警方捉到了那個小偷。他是我爸的一個同事,聽說我爸要出遠門一陣子,就想
說房子裏頭八成會沒人而決定下手。當他試著告訴警方樓上有兩個瘋子跟那些強烈的威脅
時,警方翻了白眼笑而置之。他聽到當天房裡只有一個二十二歲的女人時簡直是錯愕極了

當我在一周後回我自己的公寓時,我帶上佛蘭跟裘克。我現在把他們放在客廳的冰箱上,
這樣他們就能看遍整個前門。每當我一個人感到焦慮或孤單時,我都會捏一下他們兩個,
看著他們微笑,隨著他們說道:

「我愛妳,莎蒂。」

這次我回了。

「我也愛你們。」

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