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【美文】女儿的午餐袋

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【美文】女儿的午餐袋
 One morning, Molly handed me two bags. One regular lunch sack, and the one with the duct rape and staples and paperclips.
  “Why two bags?”“The other one is something else.”“What’sin it?”“Justsomestuff. Takeitwith you.”I stuffed both sacks into my briefcase, kissed the child, and rushed off.
  At midday, while hurriedly scarfing down my real lunch, I tore open Molly’s bag and shook out the contents. Two hair ribbons, three small stones, a plastic dinosaur, a pencil stub, a tiny seashell, two animal crackers, a marble, a used lipstick, a small doll, two chocolate kisses and 13 pennies.
  Ismiled. How charming. Risingtohustleoff, I sweptthe desk clean into the wastebasket—leftover lunch, Molly’s junkandall.Therewasn’tanythinginthereIneeded.
  That evening Molly came to stand beside me while I was reading the paper.“Where’s my bag?”“What bag?”“You know,the one I gave you this morning.”“I left it at the office, why?”“I forgot to put this note in it.”She handed over the note.“Besides,Iwantitback.”“Why?”“Those are my things in the sack, Daddy, the ones I really like. I thought you might like to play with them, but now I want them back. You didn’t losethebag,didyou,Daddy?”Tears puddled in her eyes.
  “Oh, no, I just forgot to bring it home,”I lied.“Bring it tomorrow, okay?”As she hugged my neck with relief, I unfolded the note that had not gotten into the sack:“I love you,Daddy.”
  Oh. And uh-oh. I looked long at the face of my child. She had given me her treasures—all that a 7-year-old held dear. Love in a paper sack, and I had missed it—not only missed it, but had thrown it away because“there wasn’t anything in there I needed.”It wasn’t the first or the last time I felt my Daddy permit was about to runout.
  It was a long trip back to the office, the pilgrimage of a penitent. I picked up the wastebasket and poured the contents on my desk. I was sorting it all out when the janitor came in to do his chores.
  “Lose something?”“Yes, my mind.”“It’s probably in there, all right. What does it look like and I’ll help you find it.”I started not to tell him, but I couldn’t feel any more of a foolthanIwasalready,so I told him.
  He didn’t laugh.“I got kids too.”So the brotherhood of fools searched the trash and found the jewels, and he smiled at me and I smiled at him.
  After was hing the mustard off the dinosaur and spraying the whole thing with breath freshener to kill the smell of onions, I carefully smoothed out the wadded ball of brown paper into a semi-functional bag and put the treasures inside. I carried the whole thing home gingerly, like an injured kitten. The next evening, I returned it to Molly. No questions asked,no explanations offered. After dinner, I asked Molly to tell me about the stuff in thesack,and so she took it all out apiece at a time and placed the objects in a row on the dining room table. Everything had a story, a memory, or was attached to dreams and imaginary friends. I managed to say“I see”very wisely several times. And,asamatteroffact,Ididsee.
  To my surprise, Molly gave the bag to me once again several days later. Same ratty bag. Same stuff inside. I felt forgiven,and trusted and loved.And alittle more comfortable wearing the title of father. Over several months, the bag went with me from time to time. It was never clear to me why I did or did not get it on a givenday.
  In time Molly turned her attention to other things. She foundothertreasures,lost in terest in the game,grewup.
  Me? I was left holding the bag. She gave it to me one morning and never asked for its return.And so I have it still.
  The worn paper sack is there in the box. Left from a time when achild said,“Here, this is the best I’ve got. Take it, it’s yours.Such as I have,give I tothee.”
美文 女儿的午餐袋 一天早上,女儿莫利递给我两个袋子。一个是每天的午餐袋,另一个是用粗胶带、订书针和几枚回形针封着的袋子。

  “怎么有两个袋子呀?”“另一个装的是别的东西。”“里面是什么?”“只是一些东西,你带着嘛。”于是我把两个袋子都塞进了我的公文包,亲了亲孩子就赶忙出了家门。

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