Sunday, March 11, 2012

[Translation] Chapter 3(1) Sealed with a Kiss Novel

This translation process is making me realize how grateful I should be toward the original scriptwriter of SWAK drama. She changed the novel from being Xiao Shan-centric to focus a lot on Mo Shaoqian. I honestly would not want to watch to entire drama devoted to Tong Xue weeping and moping over her first love. There is just TOO MUCH Xiao Shan in the novel and not enough Mo Shaoqian. LOL. Even though Xiao Shao doesn't show up in every scene, his presence is still quite omnipotent because Tong Xue keeps on talking/thinking about him.

下午的时候莫绍谦的司机给我打了一个电话,照例问要不要到学校来接我。这是莫绍谦的做派,他用的人永远像他一样,表面上总是维持了最大的礼貌与客气。我也客气地答说不用了,我会自己回去。莫绍谦虽然很少在这个城市停留,但身为资本家,哪怕他十天半月也用不了一回,他仍旧有车有司机在这里,就好比他有房子有狗有我在这里……我的名字,排在可爱的后面。
In the afternoon, Mo Shaoqian’s chauffeur calls me and inquires out of routine if he needs to come to my school to pick me up. This is Mo Shaoqian’s style. The people he hired never fail to act like him as well. On the surface, they always insist on maintaining propriety and behave with the utmost courtesy. I politely reply that he doesn’t need to come. I can go back myself.
Mo Shaoqian comes to this city infrequently and can be away for 10 days to 2 weeks. But since he is a rich capitalist, he still keeps a car and a chauffeur here. Like how he still has a house, a dog, and me here. .. Keep in mind, my name is listed behind Loveable. 

傍晚时分我穿过人声嘈杂的校园,同学们行色匆匆,去食堂或者水房。抱着书拎着开水瓶奔忙在路上,常常一个寝室结伴同行说说笑笑,总是校园的一景。如果莫绍谦不来,我通常是住在宿舍里,这个时候也应该打水吃饭,耳朵里塞着MP3,写明天要交的实验报告。
In the evening, I pass through the busy crowd on campus. Everyone seems to be in walking hurriedly, probably heading to the cafeteria or the water room. The scene of students carrying their books in one arm and using another to hold an empty water container is a common sight on campus. These students busily rush from one place to another, often accompanied by their fellow roommates chitchatting away in a heated conversation. When Mo Shaoqian is not around, I would usually stay in my dorm room. Like these students, I would also be getting water and running about with my ears plugged up listening to MP3.

在过马路的时候我差点被车撞了,因为站在街心的斑马线上,我好像看到了萧山。我说好像是因为我没有看真切,只是对面人行道上有个相似的背影,远远一晃就不见了。但我再也迈不开步子,隔着滔滔的车流,熙攘的长街,我不知道是眼睛在骗自己,还是理智在骗自己,只是失魂落魄。也许我今天就不应该想起他,不应该想起过去的那些事。两所大学挨得这样近,我从来没有看到过他,一次也没有。三年来他就像个水泡,成功地消失在一望无际的人海,然后我就安然地,自以为是地,觉得自己再也不会遇见他。
While I cross the street, a car almost hit me because I was standing on the street median of the zebra-stripe crossing and I thought I saw Xiao Shan. I cannot say with certainty because I didn’t see him clearly. I only saw the back of a figure that resembled him on the other side of the street. It was just a short glimpse from a far distance, and then he was nowhere in sight. I could not even take another step forward because of heavy flow of car traffic that separated us and the huge width of the street. I’m not even sure if my eyes were lying to me or if my own logic was lying to me. 

I feel lost, confused, and completely out of my senses. Perhaps I shouldn’t have thought of him. I shouldn’t have thought of the past. Even though our universities are situated extremely close to each other [1], I never saw him, not a single time. In the past three years, he became like a water bubble, successfully evaporated into the endless sea of people.  And so I assured myself and assumed that I would never see him again. 

[1] Even though the author never explicitly stated the name of Tong Xue’s university in the novel, it is still pretty evident she’s attending Peking University in Beijing (the Chinese equivalent of Harvard). Xiao Shan should be studying at Tong Xue’s neighbor school, Tsinghua University (the MIT equivalent in China). Both schools are located literally next to each other, only separated by a single street. 

我朝着人影消失的方向追了过去,追出很远很远一段距离,明明知道他不会在哪里,最后终究徒劳地停下来,即使是他又能怎么样呢?
I head toward the direction that I last saw the man. I trail a great distance in the same direction, despite clearly knowing he won’t be there anymore. In the end, I give up in futility. Even if that back belongs Xiao Shan, what’s the use? 

在地铁车厢里,我靠在扶手柱子上,想起很多年前那个晚上,和萧山追赶最后一班地铁,那时候心跳的声音似乎还咚咚地响在耳畔。直到现在我才明白,原来命运曾如此清晰地预知,从一开始我就和萧山错了方向,从此后再也去不了想去的地方。
In the subway passenger car, I lean against the handrail and reminisce about the night many years ago when Xiao Shan and I ran after the last scheduled train. The sound of our beating heart still resonates clearly in my ears. I finally realize at this moment that fate was once very clear about our future.  From the start, Xiao Shan and I took the wrong direction, and from then onward, we could never go back to the place we wanted to head to. 

回到别墅,莫绍谦让我换衣服出去吃饭,也好,今天我的情绪糟透了,如果单独跟他呆在家里,真怕自己会露出什么破绽来。到了那间会所制的餐厅,才知道他为什么要带我来。因为今晚这顿饭,简直是二奶展览会。一张桌子上统共才四个男人,倒带着五个女伴,其中一位还带了两位如花似玉的姑娘。我跟着莫绍谦刚进包厢,就听到旁人打趣那人:“王总今天好兴致,一炮双响啊。”
When I return to the mansion, Mo Shaoqian asks me to change my clothes for dinner. It’s better this way. I’m really in a bad mood today. If I have to face him alone at home, I fear I may inadvertently show something and break my pretense. 

Once we arrive at the restaurant in the exclusive club, I realize why he is taking me here. Tonight’s dinner is practically an exhibition of rich man’s mistresses. There are only four men seated at the table, but there are five women. One of the men has two beautiful ladies seated at his sides. When Mo Shaoqian and I enter the private room, we hear someone teasingly say, “Director Wang is feeling quite the interest tonight. The cannon fires with two roars.”

这位王总我认识,前天还在新闻里头跟市长一块儿剪彩呢。
I recognize this Director Wang.  He was in the news two days ago because he participated in this ribbon-cutting event with the city’s mayor 

不能怨我大惊小怪,因为莫绍谦以前没带我出来见识过这种场面。正式的应酬当然没我的份,我又不是原配。像这类不正式的应酬,估计他也嫌我长得不够艳压群芳,又是学生,上不了台面拿不出手。所以我也是刘姥姥进大观园,头一回。
I’m totally not overreacting, because Mo Shaoqian has never taken me to these types of dinner parties. Formal social gatherings have nothing to do with me because I’m not even his wife. For informal gatherings such as this dinner, I suspect he probably think I’m too unworthy in appearance to compete with all the beautiful women out there.  I’m still a student after all, definitely not good enough for public display and showoffs.

今天请客的就是王总,因为他坐在主人位,我那点礼仪培训知识没忘光,还知道哪是主位哪是客位。鲍参翅肚这帮人估计早吃腻了,所以点的菜都还挺清爽,做法也挺独到,口味自然没得说。这几个人似乎也没什么正事要谈,不外乎吃吃喝喝。我怕说错话让莫绍谦不高兴,所以多吃菜少吭声。没想到王总带来的那两个女孩子,不过和我差不多年纪,长得是美若天仙,喝起酒来那叫深不可测。左一杯右一杯,轮番替那位王总向诸人敬酒,尤其对莫绍谦是左右夹击舌灿莲花,也不知道王总是上哪儿找来的这两个尤物,比所谓红楼二尤有过之而无不及。看了这酒席上诸人的阵势,我才后知后觉地明白今天主客是莫绍谦,其他人都是来作陪的。但那二尤八面玲珑处处周全,也没冷落了任何一位客人,几个男人都被她们哄得心花怒放,连带几位女伴都眉开眼笑,除了莫绍谦。那倒也不是她们没本事,而是莫绍谦一贯这个德性。大概是莫绍谦那不冷不热的样子让二尤生了挫败感,不知怎么话锋一转,二尤就关心起我来。其中一个捧着杯子,细语腻声的十分亲热:“这位妹妹以前没见过,今天初次相见,我就先干为敬好了。”
The man treating everyone to dinner is Director Wang, because he’s sitting at the main host’s seat. I didn’t forget all of my training in the rules of etiquette. I still understand how the host and guests are arranged to sit at the dinner table. 

I think these men probably grew tired of eating expensive seafood delicacies because all the dishes they ordered are exquisitely refreshing and uniquely cooked. The taste is unquestionably flawless too. The men appear not to have anything serious to talk about and are more concerned with the food and drinks.
Since I’m afraid I would say something wrong and cause embarrassment to Mo Shaoqian, I just focus my attention on the food and keep what I say to the minimum. The two ladies that Director Wang brought with him are breathtakingly beautiful creatures that look around my age. Their impressively high alcohol tolerance is shocking as well. Both are holding their wine cup and toasting the guests to the left and right on behalf of Director Wang. 

Toward Mo Shaoqian, they seem particularly attentive and talkative. I wonder where Director Wang found these two seductive goddesses. They are certainly on par with the You Sisters in Dream of the Red Chamber [2]. After some observations of everyone’s behavior at this dinner party, I slowly realize that Mo Shaoqian is the guest of honor while all the others were just invited to accompany him.  

[2] One of the four classic Chinese novels. The You Sisters are famous for their loose behavior and flirtatious seductiveness. 

The two "You Sisters" suavely entertained everyone with their wits and considerate attentiveness. Not a single guest felt left out. Not only did they manage to humor several men to break out into roaring laughs, even the ladies at the dinner table smile with laughter in their eyes, except for Mo Shaoqian.

It's not that the "You Sisters'" aren't socially savvy enough to humor him. It's because Mo Shaoqian has been accustomed to being “Mo Shaoqian.” I guess his lukewarm attitude probably caused a sense of failure for the two women. Without warning, they begin to shift their attention toward me. The one hold a wine glass, in a very delicate and affectionate tone, said "I haven't seen this little younger sister before.  Since today is our first meeting, let’s have a toast."

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