2012-06-21 10:02





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By Barbara Simmons

We should not have been surprised to end up in a hospital on that blustery[1] night, as my partner and I were both in our 60s and hospitals had all too frequently become destinations. The tally had been fairly even: him—quintuple bypass surgery; me—major thoracic surgery; his turn again.[2]

But, in between the melodrama[3], we were having a great life together. Both divorced since our 30s, we’d been living together for 14 years, our faith restored in the idea that just the right person could exist, and that fits of hysterical laughter could be part of every day.[4] We were two productive[5] people enjoying days filled with work, family and friends.

Yet, that night driving down snowy streets to the hospital, it seemed, well, like the perfect ice storm had come to finally freeze our happy home. It began when the phone rang at 12:30 a.m. “Get to the hospital immediately,” my partner’s new doctor told him. “I just reviewed the EKG[6] you took 12 hours ago and it reveals a heart attack has occurred—you need to go to hospital, now.”

The emergency room doctor, a woman who looked pubescent, hooked my partner up to some formidable-looking cardiac equipment, drew blood, and said with authority, “It will be a while before we know anything definitive.”[7]

The two of us settled[8] into our area and talked softly. We talked about the need to cancel this and that plan, and about how to tell the kids that there was yet another health emergency.

Night turned into day. The ER was now busy with pastel uniforms coming and going.[9] A beige plastic breakfast tray left for hours, more needles, more tests, and specialists and nurses poking here and there.[10] We should have become used to the antiseptic[11] hospital smell by then, but it stayed as a reminder of where we were. No news. So we did what we do best—we chatted, read, held hands and waited.

And then, around two in the afternoon, my partner said: “If I were to die, would you be happier if we had been married—because I would.” I really did not have to think, so I just smiled and said “yes.” And he said, “Would you marry me?” And I said “yes.” What an unusual sight we must have made—seniors looking so happy and laughing loudly in an ER.

Just after four, a new shift arrived and a doctor we had not seen before introduced himself and said: “There is nothing wrong—you have not had a heart attack.” Not knowing whether to be furious with the original misdiagnosis, or grateful with the outcome, we chose grateful.[12] And here we were, engaged: It might have been a death-bed proposal—but we were giddy with our decision.[13]

We settled on a date three weeks away and shopped together for our wedding rings. He chose his white gold band quickly and with glee;[14] I selected mine because it looked so cheerful, so hopeful. He asked what I thought of having both rings engraved[15] with Love, Always.

I had no idea how long “always” would be at our ages, but I shared the passion behind the sentiment. And I knew this ring represented something far different than the wedding ring of my embittered[16] first marriage. That one, a wide gold band, was lying by itself in a jewel box. Strange that a ring purchased by such a young couple should hold less hope than the one I was about to wear, for possibly much less time.

My former husband and I had met in our 20s, had had a long-distance relationship during the school year, and after making up following a summer breakup,[17] he proposed a quick wedding. I knew how I felt—I was sure I was over-the-moon[18] happy. I shushed[19] the diffident voice in my head.

I could still clearly recall greeting my former husband as he arrived at my parent’s home for our garden wedding, and flinching as I heard him say, “Is it too late to back out[20]?” He laughed, I went into denial. And why did I not allow a moment of question even after seeing the “Just Divorced” sign he and his mother had attached to the back of our honeymoon car?

There is no way to escape pondering[21] a first marriage when about to enter a second. Now, four decades later, what I felt for my new husband-to-be was the joy of truly knowing him, and knowing that he understood love—how to feel it, how to give it. I too had learned how to love a man, and love myself. And I knew that we had the “in sickness” part of our vows down pat[22]. We were ready for each other.

And so, on yet another blustery day, my four-month-old grandson, dressed in a tiny tuxedo, lay cradled in his mother’s left arm while she linked mine with her right.[23] Slowly, the two accompanied me toward my love, who was dressed in a new suit that covered his happily beating heart.


1. end up:(尤指经历一系列意料之外的事情后)最终处于……;blustery: 大风的。

2. tally: 得分,此处指进医院的次数;even: 势均力敌的,水平相当的;quintuple: 五倍的;bypass surgery: 心脏搭桥手术,旁通管手术;thoracic: 胸的。

3. melodrama: 情节剧。

4. fit:(感情的)冲动,一阵发作;hysterical: 歇斯底里的。

5. productive: 富有成效的。

6. EKG: 【医】心电图。

7. pubescent:(男孩或女孩)处于青春期的;hook: 把……固定在……;formidable-looking: 看起来吓人的;cardiac: 心脏;draw blood: 抽血;definitive: 确定的。

8. settle:(使)处于舒适的位置。

9. ER:=emergency room,(医院的)急救室;pastel:(色彩)浅的,柔和的。

10. beige: 浅棕色的,米黄色的;poke: 戳。

11. antiseptic: 消毒的,杀菌的。

12. furious: 狂怒的;misdiagnosis: 错误的诊断;grateful: 感激的;outcome: 结果。

13. engaged: 已订婚的;death-bed: 临终床;proposal: 求婚;giddy: 激动不已的。

14. white gold: 人造白金(金、镍、钯等的合金,制首饰用);band: 圈,环;glee: 高兴,兴奋。

15. engrave: 在……上雕刻(文字或图案)。

16. embittered: 怨愤的,满腹牢骚的。

17. mak up: 讲和;breakup:(婚姻或关系的)破裂。

18. over-the-moon: 非常高兴的。

19. shush: 使安静,使肃静。

20. back out: 变卦,打退堂鼓。

21. ponder: 仔细考虑,深思。

22. have sth. down pat: 对某事滚瓜烂熟,对某事熟悉得可随口说出。

23. tuxed:(在正式场合穿的)男士无尾礼服上衣;cradle: 轻轻地抱着。

(来源:英语学习杂志 编辑:中国日报网英语点津 陈丹妮)



















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