Translation of Yang Jiang’s Cadre School Diaries – Notes on Leave Taking – P4

shuangyashan_maj_lampa

我们到了预定的小吃店,叫了一个最现成的砂锅鸡块——不过是鸡皮鸡骨。我舀些清汤泡了半碗饭,饭还是咽不下。

只有一个星期置备行装,可是默存要到末了两天才得放假。我倒借此赖了几天学,在家收抬东西。这次放是所谓“连锅端”——就是拔宅下放,好像是奉命一去不复返的意思。没用的东西、不穿的衣服、自己宝贵的图书、笔记等等,全得带走,行李一大堆。当时我们女儿阿圆、女婿得一,各在工厂劳动,不能叫回来帮忙。他们休息日回家,就帮着收拾行李,并且学别人的样,把箱子用粗绳子密密缠捆,防旅途摔破或压塌。可惜能用粗绳子缠捆保护的,只不过是木箱铁箱等粗重行李;这些木箱、铁箱,确也不如血肉之躯经得起折磨。

We arrived at the small food shop we had agreed upon and ordered the speediest dish of clay pot chicken chunks – it was all bones. I ladled some clear broth onto the half eaten bowl of chicken but I still couldn’t get it down.

There was just one week to purchase supplies but Mocun was only given leave for the last two days.  In the end I had to cut class for a few days so I could stay home and pack his things. This leave taking was being called, “everything but the kitchen sink”——it was uprooting the entire home to be sent down, like receiving orders to go and never return. Things we didn’t use, clothes we never wore, precious books and notes; all of them had to be taken, the luggage was piled up into a great heap. At the time, our daughter, Ayuan, and our son-in-law, Deyi, were working in factories, so we couldn’t call them to help out. On their day off they came to assist with the luggage, and they even copied what others were doing and used thick ropes to tie it up ever so tight, in case it should fall and break or be crushed on the road. Unfortunately the protection those thick ropes afforded stopped at the bulky iron and wooden trunks; in terms of torment, those metal and wooden trunks simply could not match the resilience of human flesh.

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