A young boy faces the impossible,task of trying to
soften the blow of tragic news.
YOU GO YOUR WAY, I'LL GO MINE
The messenger got off his bicycle in front of the house of Mrs. Rosa
Sandoval. He went to the door and knocked gently. He knew almost imme-
diately that someone was inside the house. He could not hear anything, but
he was sure the knock was bringing someone to the door and he was most
5 eager to see who this person would be--this woman named Rosa Sandoval
who was now to hear of murder in the world and to feel it in herself. The
door was not a long time opening, but there was no hurry in the way it
moved on its hinges. The movement of
the door was as if,whoever she was, she
had nothing in the world to fear. Then
the door was open, and there she was.
To Homer the Mexican woman was
beautiful. He could see that she had
been patient all her life, so that now,
after years of it, her lips were set in a
gentle and saintly smile. But like all
people who never receive telegrams the
appearance of a messenger at the front
door is full of terrible implications.
Homer knew that Mrs. Rosa Sandoval
was shocked to see him . Her first word
was the first word of all surprise.She said"Oh," as if instead of a messen-
ger she had thought of opening the door to someone she had known a long
time and would be pleased to sit down with. Before she spoke again she
25 studied Homer's eyes and Homer knew that she knew the message was not
a welcome one.
"You have a telegram?" she said.
It wasn't Homer's fault. His work was to deliver telegrams. Even so ,
it seemed to him that he was part of the whole mistake. He felt awkward
30 and almost as if he alone were responsible for what had happened. At the
same time he wanted to come right out and say, "I'm only a messenger,
Mrs.Sandoval. I'm very sorry I must bring you a telegram like this, but it
is only because it is my work to do so. "
"Who is it for?" the Mexican woman said.
35 "Mrs. Rosa Sandoval, 1129 G Street," Homer said. He extended the
telegram to the Mexican woman, but she would not touch it.
"Are you Mrs. Sandoval?" Homer said.
"Please," the woman said. " Please come in. I cannot read English. I
am Mexican. I read only La Prensa which comes from Mexico City." She
40 paused a moment and looked at the boy standing awkwardly as near the
door as he could be and still be inside the house.
"Please, " she said, "what does the telegram say?"
"Mrs. Sandoval, " the messenger said, "the telegram says-"
But now the woman interrupted him. " But you must open the tele-
45 gram and read it to me, " she said. " You have not opened it. "
"Yes, ma' am, " Homer said as if he were speaking to a school teacher
who had just corrected him.
He opened the telegram with nervous fingers. The Mexiean woman
stooped to pick up the torn envelope, and tried to smooth it out.As she did
50 so she said, "Who sent the telegram - my son Juan Domingo?"
"No, ma' am. " Homer said. "The telegram is from the War Depart-
"War Department?" the Mexican woman said.
"Mrs.Sandoval," Homer said swiftly, "your son is dead. Maybe it's a
55 mistake. Everybody makes a mistake, Mrs. Sandoval. Maybe it wasn't
your son Maybe it was somebody else. The telegram says it was Juan
Domingo. But maybe the telegram is wrong."
The Mexican woman pretended not to hear.
"Oh, do not be afraid," she said. "Come inside. Come inside. I will
60 bring you candy." She took the boy's arm and brought him to the table at
the center of the room and there she made him sit.
"All boys like candy," she said. "I will bring you candy." She went
into another room and soon returned with an old chocolate candy box. She
opened the box at the table and in it Homer saw a strange kind of candy.
65 "Here, " she said. "Eat this candy. All boys like candy. "
Homer took a piece of the candy from the box, put it into his mouth,
and tried to chew.
"You would not bring me a bad telegram, " she said. "You are a good
boy--like my little Juanito when he was a little boy. Eat another piece."
70 And she made the messenger take another piece of the candy.
Homer sat chewing the dry candy while the Mexican woman talked.
"It is our own candy," she said, "from cactus.I made it for my Juanito
when he come home, but you eat it. You are my boy, too. "
Now suddenly she began to sob, holding herself in as if weeping were a
75 disgrace. Homer wanted to get up and run, but he knew he would stay. He
even thought he might stay the rest of his life. He just didn't know what
else to do to try to make the woman less unhappy ,and if she had asked him
to take the place of her son, he would not have been able to refuse, because
he would not have known how. He got to his feet, as if by standing he
80 meant to begin correcting what could not be corrected and then he knew the
foolishness of this intention and became more awkward than ever. In his
heart he was saying over and over again, "What can I do? What the hell
can I do? I'm only the messenger. "
soften / v. (cause to) become soft (er) or gentle
tragic / a. very sad,unfortunate;of or related
to tragedy 悲惨的；悲剧的
messenger / n. a person employed to deliver telegrams,
letters or parcels 送信人；电报投递员
gently ad. softly 轻轻地
immediately / ad. at once
eager / a. marked by strong interest or impatient
hinge / n. 铰链
whoever / pron. no matter who 无论谁，不管谁
saintly / a. like a saint; very holy 像圣徒一样的;圣洁的
implication / n. 含义
shock / vt. cause unpleasant or angry surprise to (sb.)
deliver / vt. take (sth.) to the place where it must go
awkward / a. uncomfortable 尴尬的
Mexican n. &a. 墨西哥人；墨西哥(人)的
pause / vi. stop for a short time 暂停，中止
interrupt / vt. stop (sb. speaking) by breaking in 打断
nervous / a. 神经质的；紧张的
ma'am / madam ( used in direct address )
smooth vt. make smooth or smoother 把...弄平
department / n. 部门；系
swiftly / ad. rapidly, quickly 快速的；敏捷地
chocolate / n. 巧克力(糖)
chew / vt. crush (food) with the teeth
cactus / n. 仙人掌 ?
sob / vi. cry with short, quick breaths 啜泣;呜咽
disgrace / n. shame 耻辱;丢脸的人(或事)
unhappy a. not happy
hell / n. 地狱
Phrases & Expressions
heetr of have knowledge of or receive information
be responsible for be the cause of 应对...负责的
come out (with) speak out 大声的说,清楚的说
smooth out make smooth(er)
hold oneself in control one's feelings
take the place of act or be used instead of , replace 代替,取代
get to one's feet stand up
over and over again very often, repeatedly 反复地,再三地
Rosa Sandoval / 罗莎.桑多瓦尔
Mexica City / 墨西哥城(墨西哥首都)
Juan Domingo / 胡安.多明哥
the War Department (美国)陆军部(旧称)
Juanito / 胡安尼特(Juan的呢称) Proper Names