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    鹭鸶儿,细高个的瘦骨美人,涂着红红的唇膏,绑着蓝色的阿婆头巾,因为疏忽了而穿着一只蓝袜和一只绿袜的她,是我们认识的惟一喜欢玩的大人。她带着她的狗波波散步,一个人大声笑。那个鹭鸶儿。她不需要别人陪她一起笑。她就那么笑。

    她是埃德娜的女儿,拥有隔壁那所大房子的女人,前后加起来有三套公寓。每个星期埃德娜都会冲着某个人尖叫,每个星期都有人得搬走。有一次她赶出去一个怀孕的女人,只因为她养了只小鸭……那可是只漂亮的小鸭。可鹭鸶儿住在这里,埃德娜不能赶走她,因为鹭鸶儿是她的女儿。

    鹭鸶儿是有一天忽然来到的,像是不知从哪里冒出来的。安琪·法加斯正在教我们怎么吹口哨。然后我们就听到有人在吹——美妙得像皇帝的夜莺——我们回头的时候,鹭鸶儿就在那里了。

    有时我们去逛街就带上她。可她从来不进店里去。如果她进了店,就会不停地四下张望,好像一头第一次被关进屋子里的野生动物。

    她喜欢糖。我们去宾尼先生的杂货店时,她会给我们钱帮她带一些。她说要看清是那种软糖再买,因为她的牙齿疼。然后她答应下星期去看牙医,可下星期到了,她也没去。

    鹭鸶儿能在每一处看见美丽的事物。有时我正在跟她讲一个笑话,她会停下来说:月亮多美呀像个气球。或者有人在唱歌时,她会指着几朵云彩说:看,马龙·白兰度。或者一个眨眼睛的斯芬克司女妖。或者我左脚的鞋子。

    有一次埃德娜的几个朋友过来拜访,问鹭鸶儿愿不愿意和他们去玩宾戈牌。汽车发动机嗡嗡响着,鹭鸶儿站在楼梯上想要不要去。我应该去吗,妈?她对着二楼纱窗后面那个灰色的影子发问。我不管,纱窗说,你想去就去。鹭鸶儿看着地面。你怎么认为,妈?做你想做的,我怎么知道?鹭鸶儿又看了看地面。开着发动机的汽车等了十五分钟,然后他们走了。那晚我们拿出那副纸牌来时,我们让鹭鸶儿发牌。

    如果她想的话,鹭鸶儿本来可以成为很多种人的。这不仅是因为她口哨吹得好,她还很会唱歌和跳舞。她年轻的时候有很多工作机会,可她从来没做过。她结婚了,搬进了城外一所漂亮的大房子里。我弄不明白的一件事情就是,为什么鹭鸶儿住在芒果街上,她本来可以不住的;为什么她有自己的真正的大房子却要睡在她妈妈的客厅沙发上?她说她只是来看看,下周末她丈夫会来接她回家。可周末来了又去了,鹭鸶儿还在这里。这没什么。我们很高兴,因为她是我们的朋友。

    我喜欢给她看我从图书馆带出来的书。书很棒,鹭鸶儿说,然后就用手抚摩起来,似乎她可以像读布莱叶盲文一样地读它们。很棒,很棒,可我再也不能读书了。我头痛。我下星期得去看眼科医生。我过去写过童书的,我告诉过你吗?

    一天我把“海象和木匠”<span class="" data-note="《爱丽丝镜中奇遇记》里的一首长诗。叙述一群年幼无知的小牡蛎在海象和木匠的诱骗下爬上海滩,最后塞了他们牙缝的故事。"></span>全都背了下来,因为我想让鹭鸶儿听听。“日光光,耀海洋;光芒万里长……”鹭鸶儿看着天空,好几次她的眼睛变湿了。我终于背到了最后几行:“无人应一嗓,此事不荒唐:可怜小牡蛎,个个被吃光……”她看着我,久久不开口。最后她说,你有着我见过的最漂亮的牙齿,然后便走到里面去了。<samp>99lib?</samp>

    <h3 class="ter">Edna's Ruthie</h3>

    Ruthie, tall skinny lady with red lipstid blue babushka, one blue sod one green because she fot, is the only grown-up we know who likes to play. She takes her dog Bobo for a walk and laughs all by herself, that Ruthie. She doesn't need anybody to laugh with, she just laughs.

    She is Edna's daughter, the lady who owns the big buildi door, three apartments front and back. Every week Edna is screaming at somebody, and every week somebody has to move away. Once she th<dfn></dfn>rew out a pregnant lady just because she owned a duck……and it was a nice duck too. But Ruthie lives here and Edna 't throw her out because Ruthie is her daughter.

    Ruthie came one day, it seemed, out of nowhere. Angel Vargas was trying to teach us how to whistle. Then we heard someone whistling——beautiful like the Emperor's ni<cite></cite>ghtingale——and wheurned around there was Ruthie.

    Sometimes we go shopping and take her with us, but she never es ihe stores and if she does she keeps looking around her like a wild animal in a house for the first time.

    She likes dy. When we go to Mr. Benny's grocery she gives us moo buy her some. She says make sure it's the soft kind because her teeth hurt. Then she promises to see the dentist  week, but whe week es, she doesn't go.

    Ruthie sees lovely things everywhere. I might be telling her a joke and she'll stop and say:The moon is beautiful like a balloon. Or somebody might be singing and she'll point to a few clouds:Look, Marlon Brando. Or a sphinx winking. Or my left shoe.

    One friends of Edna's came to visit bbr></abbr>and asked Ruthie if she wao go with them to play bingo. The car motor was running, and Ruthie stood oeps w whether to go. Should I go, Ma? She asked the gray shadow behind the sed-floor s. I don't care, says the s, go if you want. Ruthie looked at the ground. What do you think, Ma? Do what you want, how should I know? Ruthie looked at the ground some more. The car with the motor running waited fifteen minutes and then they left. When we brought out the deck of cards that night, we let Ruthie deal.

    There were many things Ruthie could have been if she wao. Not only is she a good whistler, but she  sing and daoo. She had lots of job offers when she was young, but she ook them. She got married instead and moved away to a pretty house outside the city. Only thing I 't uand is why Ruthie is living on Mango Street if she doesn't have to, why is she sleeping on a cou her mother's living room w<tt>.t>hen she has a real house all her own, but she says she's just visiting a weekend her husband's going to take her home. But the weekends e and go and Ruthie stays. No matter. We are glad because she is our friend.

    I like showing Ruthie the books I take out of the library. Books are wonderful, Ruthie says, and then she runs her hand over them as if she could read them in braille. They're wonderful, wonderful, but I 't read anymore. I get headaches. I o go to the eye doctor  week. I used to write children's books once, did I tell you?

    One day I memorized all of“The Walrus and the Carpenter”because I wanted Ruthie to hear me.“The sun was shining on the sea, shining with all his might……”Ruthie looked at the sky and her eyes got watery at times. Finally I came to the last lines:“But answer came there none——and this was scarcely odd, because they'd eaten every one……”She took a long time looking at me before she opened her mouth, and then she said, You have the most beautiful teeth I have ever seen,a inside.

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