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新视野大学英语 读写教程第四册 unit3-b

2011-07-29    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

A Blind Man Helped Me See the Beautiful World

It was late afternoon when the chairman of our Bangkok- based company gave me an assignment: I would leave the next day to accompany an important Chinese businessman to tourist sites in northern Thailand. Silently angry, I stared at my desk. The stacks of paper bore witness to a huge amount of work waiting to be done, even though I had been working seven days a week. How will I ever catch up? I wondered.

After a one-hour flight the next morning, we spent the day visiting attractions along with hundreds of other tourists, most of them loaded with cameras and small gifts. I remember feeling annoyed at this dense collection of humanity.

That evening my Chinese companion and I climbed into a chartered van to go to dinner and a show, one which I had attended many times before. While he chatted with other tourists, I exchanged polite conversation in the dark with a man seated in front of me, a Belgian who spoke fluent English. I wondered why he held his head motionless at an odd angle, as though he were in prayer. Then the truth struck me. He was blind.

Behind me someone switched on a light, and I could see his thick silvery hair and strong, square jaw. His eyes seemed to contain a white mist. "Could I please sit beside you at the dinner?" he asked. "And I'd love it if you'd describe a little of what you see."

"I'd be happy to," I replied.

My guest walked ahead toward the restaurant with newly found friends. The blind man and I followed. My hand held his elbow to steer him, but he stepped forward with no sign of hesitation or stoop, his shoulders squared, his head high, as though he were guiding me.

We found a table close to the stage. He ordered half a liter of beer and I ordered a grape soda. As we waited for our drinks, the blind man said, "The music seems out of tune to our Western ears, but it has charm. Please describe the musicians."

I hadn't noticed the five men performing at the side of the stage as an introduction to the show. "They're seated cross-legged on a rug, dressed in loose white cotton shirts and large black trousers, with fabric around their waists that has been dyed bright red. Three are young lads, one is middle-aged and one is elderly. One beats a small drum, another plays a wooden stringed instrument, and the other three have smaller, violin- like pieces they play with a bow."

As the lights dimmed, the blind man asked, "What do your fellow tourists look like?"

"All nationalities, colors, shapes and sizes, a gallery of human faces," I whispered.

As I lowered my voice further and spoke close to his ear, the blind man leaned his head eagerly toward me. I had never before been listened to with such intensity.

"Very close to us is an elderly Japanese woman," I said. "Just beyond her a yellow-haired Scandinavian boy of about five is leaning forward, his face just below hers. They're motionless, waiting for the performance to start. It's the perfect living portrait of childhood and old age, of Europe and Asia."

"Yes, yes, I see them," the blind man said quietly, smiling.

A curtain at the back of the stage opened. Six young girls appeared, and I described their violet- colored silk skirts, white blouses, and gold-colored hats like small crowns, with flexible points that moved in rhythm with the dance. "On the tips of their fingers are golden nails perhaps 8 centimeters long," I told the blind man. "The nails highlight each elegant movement of their hands. It's a delightful effect."

He smiled and nodded. "How wonderful — I would love to touch one of those golden nails."

The first performance ended just as we finished dessert, and I excused myself and went to talk to the theater manager. Upon returning, I told my companion, "You've been invited backstage."

A few minutes later he was standing next to one of the dancers, her little crowned head hardly reaching his chest. She shyly extended both hands toward him, the brass fingernails shining in the overhead light. His hands, four times as large, reached out slowly and held them as though they were holding up two tiny birds. As he felt the smooth, curving sharpness of the metal tips, the girl stood quite still, gazing up into his face with an expression of wonder. A lump formed in my throat.

After taking a cab back to the inn, with my Chinese guest still with the others, the blind man patted my shoulder, then pulled me toward him and embraced me tightly. "How beautifully you saw everything for me," he whispered. "I can never thank you enough."

Later I thought: I should have thanked him. I was the one who had been blind, my eyes merely skimming the surface of things. He had helped me lift the veil that grows so quickly over our eyes in this busy world, to see a whole new realm I'd failed to appreciate before.

About a week after our trip, the chairman told me the Chinese executive had called to express great satisfaction with the trip. "Well done," the chairman said, smiling. I knew you could do the magic."

I was not able to tell him that the magic had been done to me.



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