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E-Books (english-e-reader), Men and Women (1)

Men and Women (1)

Children see more than their parents realize. They may not always understand what they see, but they have sharp eyes and long ears. They also know when things aren't right.

The daughter of this house is young enough to believe in Santa Claus at Christmas - but old enough to want to fight on her mother's side...

My father takes me with him to places. He has artificial hips, so he needs me to open gates. To reach our house, you have to drive up a long narrow road through a wood, open two lots of gates and close them behind you so the sheep won't escape to the road. I'm good at that sort of thing. I get out of the Volkswagen, open the gates, my father drives through, I close the gates behind him and jump back into the passenger seat. To save petrol, he lets the car roll downhill, then starts the engine and we're off to wherever my father is going on that particular day.

He's always looking for a bargain, so sometimes we go to a garage for a cheap spare part for the car. Sometimes we end up in a farmer's dirty field, pulling up young plants we've bought, to take home and grow on our land. On Saturdays, my father goes to the market and examines sheep for sale, feeling their bones, looking into their mouths. If he buys a few sheep, he puts them in the back of the car, and it's my job to keep them there. Da often stops for a meal on the way home. Usually he stops at Bridie Knox's, because Bridie kills her own animals and there's always meat there. The handbrake doesn't work, so when Da parks outside her house, I get out and put a stone behind the back wheel.

I am the girl of a thousand uses.

Bridie lives in a smoky little house, without a husband, but she has sons who drive tractors around the fields. They're small, ugly men whose rubber boots have been mended many times. Bridie wears red lipstick and face powder, but her hands are like a man's.

'Have you a bit of food for the child, missus? There's no food at home,' Da says, making me feel like a starving African child.

Ah now, says Bridie, smiling at his old joke. 'That girl looks well-fed to me. Sit down and I'll make some tea.'

To tell you the truth, missus, I wouldn't say no to a drop of something. I've come from the market, and the price of sheep is shocking, so it is.'

He talks about sheep and cattle and the weather and how this little country of ours is in a terrible state, while Bridie cuts big, thick slices off a large piece of meat. I sit by the window and keep an eye on the sheep in the car. Da eats everything in sight, while I build a little tower of biscuits, lick the chocolate off and give the rest to the sheepdog under the table.

When we get home, I clean out the back of the car where the sheep have been.

'Where did you go?' Mammy asks.

I tell her all about our travels while she and I carry heavy buckets of cattle feed across the yard. Da milks the cow. My brother sits in the sitting room beside the fire and pretends he's studying for his exams next year. My brother is going to be somebody, so he doesn't open gates or clean up dirt or carry buckets. All he does is read and write and do mathematics. He is the intelligent one of the family. He stays in there until he is called to dinner.

'Go and tell Seamus his dinner's on the table,' Da says.

I have to take off my rubber boots before going in.

'Come and have your dinner, you lazy bollocks,' I say.

'I'll tell Da,' he says.

'You won't,' I say, and go to the kitchen, where I put small, sweet garden peas on his plate, because he won't eat boring winter vegetables like the rest of us.

In the evenings, I do my homework on the kitchen table, while Ma watches the television we hire for the winter. On Tuesdays she never misses the programme where a man teaches a woman how to drive a car. Except for a rough woman living behind the hill who drives tractors, no woman we know drives. During the advertising break, her eyes leave the screen and travel to the shelf above the fireplace, where she has hidden the spare key to the Volkswagen in an old broken teapot. I am not supposed to know this. I sigh, and continue drawing in the River Shannon on my map.

The night before Christmas, I put up signs. I write THIS WAY SANTA on large pieces of paper. I'm always afraid he will get lost or not bother coming because the gates are too much trouble. I attach the signs to a post at the end of the road, to both gates, and to the door of the sitting room. I put a glass of beer and a piece of cake on the table for him.

Daddy takes his good hat, with a feather in it, out of the cupboard, and puts it on. He looks at himself in the mirror and pulls it on further, to hide his baldness.

'And where are you going?' Mammy asks. 'It's Christmas Eve, a time to stay at home with the family.'

'Going to see a man about a dog,' he says and bangs the door.

I go to bed and have trouble sleeping. I am the only person in my class Santa Claus still visits. But every year I feel there's a greater chance that he won't come, and then I'll be like the others.

I wake early and Mammy is already lighting the fire, smiling. There's a terrible moment when I think maybe Santa didn't come because I said 'you lazy bollocks', but he does come. He leaves me the Tiny Tears doll I asked for, wrapped in the same wrapping paper we have. Santa doesn't come to Seamus any more. I suspect he knows what Seamus is really doing all those evenings in the sitting room, reading magazines and drinking the red lemonade out of the drinks cupboard, not using his intelligence at all.

Only Mammy and I are up. We're the early birds. We make tea, then I help her with the cooking. Sometimes we dance round the kitchen. Seamus comes down to investigate the parcels under the Christmas tree. He gets a dartboard as a present. He and Da throw darts, while Mammy and I put on our coats and feed the cattle and sheep and look for any newly laid eggs.

'Why don't they do anything to help?' I ask her.

'They're men, that's why,' she says simply.

Because it's Christmas morning, I say nothing. I come inside and a dart flies past my head.

'Ha! Ha!' says Seamus.

'Bulls-eye,' says Da.

The day before New Year, it snows. It is the end of another year.

I eat some leftover Christmas food for breakfast and fall asleep watching a film on the television. I get bored playing with my Tiny Tears doll, so I start playing darts with Seamus. When I get a good score, he calls it lucky.

I've had enough of being a child. I wish I was big. I wish I could sit beside the fire and wait to be called to dinner. I wish I could sit behind the wheel of a car and get someone to open the gates for me. Vroom! Vroom! I'd drive away fast.

That night, we get ready for the village dance. Mammy puts on a dark-red dress. She asks me to fasten her pearl necklace for her. She's tall and thin, but the skin on her hands is hard. I wonder if some day she'll look like Bridie Knox, part man, part woman.

Da doesn't make any effort. I have never known him take a bath or wash his hair. He just changes his hat and shoes. Seamus wears a pair of tight black trousers and boots with big heels to make him taller.

'You'll fall over in your high heels,' I say.

We get into the Volkswagen, Seamus and me in the back. Although I washed the inside of the car, I can still smell sheep-dirt. I hate this smell that drags us back to where we come from. Because there are no doors in the back of the car, it's Mammy who gets out to open the gates. I think she's beautiful, with her pearls around her neck and her red skirt flying out as she turns around. I wish Da would get out. I wish the snow would fall on him, not on Mammy in her good clothes. I've seen other fathers holding their wives' coats, holding doors open for them. But Da's not like that.

The village hall stands in the middle of a car park. Inside there's a slippy wooden floor and benches around the walls, and strange lights that make white clothes seem very bright.

Everyone we know is there, including Bridie with her red lipstick, and Sarah Combs, who only last week gave my father a glass of wine and took him into the sitting room to show him her new furniture.

There's a band playing dance music, and Mammy and I are first on the floor. When the music stops and restarts, she dances with Seamus. My father dances with the women he knows from his trips. I wonder how he can dance like that, and not be able to open gates. Old men in their thirties ask me to dance.

They tell me I'm light on my feet. 'Christ, you're like a feather,' they say.

After a while, I get thirsty and Mammy gives me money for a lemonade and some raffle tickets. A slow dance begins, and Da walks across to Sarah Combs, who rises from her bench and takes her jacket off. Her shoulders are bare; she looks half-naked to me. Mammy is sitting with her handbag on her knees, watching. There is something sad about Mammy tonight; it's all around her, like when a cow dies and the men come to take it away. Something I don't fully understand is happening; a black cloud seems to hang in the air. I offer her my lemonade, but she just drinks a little and thanks me. I give her half my raffle tickets, but she doesn't care. Da has his arms round Sarah Combs, dancing close and slow. I go to find Seamus, who's smiling at a blonde I don't know.

'Go and dance with Sarah Combs instead of Da,' I say.

'Why would I do that?' he asks.

'And you're supposed to be intelligent,' I say. 'Bollocks.'

I walk across the floor and tap Sarah Combs on the back. She turns, her wide belt shining in the light.

'Excuse me,' I say, like when you ask someone the time.

She just giggles, looking down at me.

'I want to dance with Daddy,' I say.

At the word 'Daddy' her face changes and she loosens her hold on my father. I take over and dance with him. He holds my hand tight, like a punishment. I can see my mother on the bench, reaching into her bag for a handkerchief. Then she goes to the Ladies' toilets. There's a feeling like hatred all around Da. I get the feeling he's helpless, but I don't care. For the first time in my life, I have some power. I can take over, rescue, and be rescued.

There's a lot of excitement just before midnight. Everybody's dancing, knees bending, handbags waving. The bandleader counts down the seconds to New Year and then there's kissing all round.


Men and Women (1)

Children see more than their parents realize. 子供たちは両親が理解している以上のものを見る。 Дети видят больше, чем думают их родители. They may not always understand what they see, but they have sharp eyes and long ears. 彼らは彼らが見ているものを常に理解しているとは限らないかもしれませんが、彼らは鋭い目と長い耳を持っています。 They also know when things aren't right. 彼らはまた、物事が正しくないときを知っています。 Они также знают, когда что-то не так.

The daughter of this house is young enough to believe in Santa Claus at Christmas - but old enough to want to fight on her mother's side... この家の娘は、クリスマスにサンタクロースを信じられるほど若いが、母親の側で戦いたいと思うほどの年齢に達している... Дочь этого дома достаточно молода, чтобы верить в Санта-Клауса на Рождество, но достаточно взрослая, чтобы хотеть сражаться на стороне своей матери...

My father takes me with him to places. 父は私をどこかへ連れて行ってくれます。 Мой отец берет меня с собой в разные места. He has artificial hips, so he needs me to open gates. 彼は人工股関節を持っているので、門を開けるには私が必要です。 У него искусственные бедра, так что ему нужно, чтобы я открыл ворота. To reach our house, you have to drive up a long narrow road through a wood, open two lots of gates and close them behind you so the sheep won't escape to the road. 私たちの家にたどり着くには、森の中の細長い道を車で進み、2 か所の門を開けて、羊が道に逃げないように後ろで閉めなければなりません。 Чтобы добраться до нашего дома, вы должны проехать по длинной узкой дороге через лес, открыть два множества ворот и закрыть их за собой, чтобы овцы не убежали на дорогу. I'm good at that sort of thing. 私はそういうのが得意です。 Я хорошо разбираюсь в таких вещах. I get out of the Volkswagen, open the gates, my father drives through, I close the gates behind him and jump back into the passenger seat. 私はフォルクスワーゲンから降りてゲートを開け、父が車で通り抜け、私は彼の後ろでゲートを閉め、助手席に飛び乗りました。 Я выхожу из фольксвагена, открываю ворота, отец проезжает, я закрываю за ним ворота и прыгаю обратно на пассажирское сиденье. To save petrol, he lets the car roll downhill, then starts the engine and we're off to wherever my father is going on that particular day. Чтобы сэкономить бензин, он позволяет машине катиться вниз по склону, затем запускает двигатель, и мы едем туда, куда в этот день собирается мой отец.

He's always looking for a bargain, so sometimes we go to a garage for a cheap spare part for the car. Он всегда ищет выгодную сделку, поэтому иногда мы идем в гараж за дешевой запчастью для машины. Sometimes we end up in a farmer's dirty field, pulling up young plants we've bought, to take home and grow on our land. Иногда мы оказываемся на грязном поле фермера, вырывая купленные нами молодые растения, чтобы забрать их домой и вырастить на своей земле. On Saturdays, my father goes to the market and examines sheep for sale, feeling their bones, looking into their mouths. По субботам отец ходит на рынок и рассматривает овец на продажу, ощупывая их кости, заглядывая им в рот. If he buys a few sheep, he puts them in the back of the car, and it's my job to keep them there. Da often stops for a meal on the way home. Папа часто останавливается перекусить по дороге домой. Usually he stops at Bridie Knox's, because Bridie kills her own animals and there's always meat there. Обычно он останавливается у Брайди Нокс, потому что Брайди убивает своих животных и там всегда есть мясо. The handbrake doesn't work, so when Da parks outside her house, I get out and put a stone behind the back wheel. Ручной тормоз не работает, поэтому, когда Да припарковалась возле своего дома, я выхожу и кладу камень за заднее колесо.

I am the girl of a thousand uses. Я девушка тысячи применений.

Bridie lives in a smoky little house, without a husband, but she has sons who drive tractors around the fields. Бриди живет в прокуренном домике, без мужа, но у нее есть сыновья, которые водят тракторы по полям. They're small, ugly men whose rubber boots have been mended many times. Это маленькие уродливые мужчины, чьи резиновые сапоги много раз чинили. Bridie wears red lipstick and face powder, but her hands are like a man's. У Брайди красная помада и пудра, но руки у нее как у мужчины.

'Have you a bit of food for the child, missus? — У вас есть немного еды для ребенка, миссис? There's no food at home,' Da says, making me feel like a starving African child. Дома нет еды, — говорит папа, заставляя меня чувствовать себя голодающим африканским ребенком.

Ah now, says Bridie, smiling at his old joke. А теперь, говорит Брайди, улыбаясь своей старой шутке. 'That girl looks well-fed to me. «Эта девушка кажется мне упитанной. Sit down and I'll make some tea.' Садись, а я заварю чай.

To tell you the truth, missus, I wouldn't say no to a drop of something. По правде говоря, миссис, я бы не отказался ни от капли чего-нибудь. I've come from the market, and the price of sheep is shocking, so it is.' Я пришел с рынка, и цены на овец шокируют, так оно и есть.

He talks about sheep and cattle and the weather and how this little country of ours is in a terrible state, while Bridie cuts big, thick slices off a large piece of meat. Он говорит об овцах и крупном рогатом скоте, о погоде и о том, в каком ужасном состоянии находится наша маленькая страна, а Брайди отрезает от большого куска мяса большие, толстые ломтики. I sit by the window and keep an eye on the sheep in the car. Я сижу у окна и смотрю на овец в машине. Da eats everything in sight, while I build a little tower of biscuits, lick the chocolate off and give the rest to the sheepdog under the table. Папа ест все, что попадается на глаза, а я строю башню из печенья, слизываю шоколад, а остальное отдаю овчарке под столом.

When we get home, I clean out the back of the car where the sheep have been. Когда мы возвращаемся домой, я вычищаю заднюю часть машины, где были овцы.

'Where did you go?' 'Куда ты ушел?' Mammy asks.

I tell her all about our travels while she and I carry heavy buckets of cattle feed across the yard. Я рассказываю ей все о наших путешествиях, а мы с ней тащим по двору тяжелые ведра с кормом для скота. Da milks the cow. Папа доит корову. My brother sits in the sitting room beside the fire and pretends he's studying for his exams next year. Мой брат сидит в гостиной у камина и делает вид, что готовится к экзаменам в следующем году. My brother is going to be somebody, so he doesn't open gates or clean up dirt or carry buckets. Мой брат будет кем-то, поэтому он не открывает ворота, не убирает грязь и не таскает ведра. All he does is read and write and do mathematics. Все, что он делает, это читает, пишет и занимается математикой. He is the intelligent one of the family. He stays in there until he is called to dinner. Он остается там, пока его не позовут обедать.

'Go and tell Seamus his dinner's on the table,' Da says. — Иди и скажи Симусу, что его ужин на столе, — говорит папа.

I have to take off my rubber boots before going in. Я должен снять резиновые сапоги, прежде чем войти.

'Come and have your dinner, you lazy bollocks,' I say. — Идите обедать, ленивые болваны, — говорю я.

'I'll tell Da,' he says.

'You won't,' I say, and go to the kitchen, where I put small, sweet garden peas on his plate, because he won't eat boring winter vegetables like the rest of us. — Не будешь, — говорю я и иду на кухню, где кладу ему в тарелку мелкий сладкий горошек, потому что он не будет есть скучные зимние овощи, как все мы.

In the evenings, I do my homework on the kitchen table, while Ma watches the television we hire for the winter. По вечерам я делаю уроки на кухонном столе, а мама смотрит телевизор, который мы взяли на зиму. On Tuesdays she never misses the programme where a man teaches a woman how to drive a car. По вторникам она никогда не пропускает программу, где мужчина учит женщину водить машину. Except for a rough woman living behind the hill who drives tractors, no woman we know drives. За исключением грубой женщины, живущей за холмом, которая водит трактор, ни одна женщина, которую мы знаем, не водит машину. During the advertising break, her eyes leave the screen and travel to the shelf above the fireplace, where she has hidden the spare key to the Volkswagen in an old broken teapot. Во время рекламной паузы ее взгляд покидает экран и направляется к полке над камином, где она спрятала запасной ключ от «Фольксвагена» в старом сломанном чайнике. I am not supposed to know this. Я не должен этого знать. I sigh, and continue drawing in the River Shannon on my map. Я вздыхаю и продолжаю рисовать реку Шеннон на своей карте.

The night before Christmas, I put up signs. В ночь перед Рождеством я расклеивал плакаты. I write THIS WAY SANTA on large pieces of paper. I'm always afraid he will get lost or not bother coming because the gates are too much trouble. Я всегда боюсь, что он заблудится или не удосужится прийти, потому что ворота доставляют слишком много хлопот. I attach the signs to a post at the end of the road, to both gates, and to the door of the sitting room. Я прикрепляю знаки к столбу в конце дороги, к обоим воротам и к двери гостиной. I put a glass of beer and a piece of cake on the table for him. Ставлю ему на стол стакан пива и кусок торта.

Daddy takes his good hat, with a feather in it, out of the cupboard, and puts it on. Папа достает из шкафа свою хорошую шляпу с пером и надевает ее. He looks at himself in the mirror and pulls it on further, to hide his baldness. Он смотрит на себя в зеркало и натягивает его дальше, чтобы скрыть лысину.

'And where are you going?' 'А ты куда?' Mammy asks. 'It's Christmas Eve, a time to stay at home with the family.' «Сегодня канун Рождества, время оставаться дома с семьей».

'Going to see a man about a dog,' he says and bangs the door. «Иду к человеку по поводу собаки», — говорит он и хлопает дверью.

I go to bed and have trouble sleeping. Я ложусь спать, и у меня проблемы со сном. I am the only person in my class Santa Claus still visits. Я единственный человек в классе, которого до сих пор посещает Санта-Клаус. But every year I feel there's a greater chance that he won't come, and then I'll be like the others. Но с каждым годом я чувствую, что все больше шансов, что он не придет, и тогда я буду как все.

I wake early and Mammy is already lighting the fire, smiling. Я просыпаюсь рано, а мама уже зажигает огонь, улыбаясь. There's a terrible moment when I think maybe Santa didn't come because I said 'you lazy bollocks', but he does come. Наступает ужасный момент, когда я думаю, может быть, Санта не пришел, потому что я сказал «ленивые болваны», но он действительно пришел. He leaves me the Tiny Tears doll I asked for, wrapped in the same wrapping paper we have. Он оставляет мне куклу Tiny Tears, о которой я просила, завернутую в ту же оберточную бумагу, что и мы. Santa doesn't come to Seamus any more. Санта больше не приходит к Симусу. I suspect he knows what Seamus is really doing all those evenings in the sitting room, reading magazines and drinking the red lemonade out of the drinks cupboard, not using his intelligence at all. Я подозреваю, что он знает, что на самом деле делает Симус все эти вечера в гостиной, читает журналы и пьет красный лимонад из буфета с напитками, совершенно не используя свой интеллект.

Only Mammy and I are up. Встаем только мы с мамой. We're the early birds. Мы ранние пташки. We make tea, then I help her with the cooking. Мы завариваем чай, потом я помогаю ей с готовкой. Sometimes we dance round the kitchen. Иногда мы танцуем на кухне. Seamus comes down to investigate the parcels under the Christmas tree. Симус спускается вниз, чтобы исследовать посылки под рождественской елкой. He gets a dartboard as a present. Он получает дартс в подарок. He and Da throw darts, while Mammy and I put on our coats and feed the cattle and sheep and look for any newly laid eggs. Он и папа бросают дротики, а мы с мамой надеваем пальто, кормим крупный рогатый скот и овец и ищем только что отложенные яйца.

'Why don't they do anything to help?' — Почему они ничего не делают, чтобы помочь? I ask her.

'They're men, that's why,' she says simply. — Они мужчины, вот почему, — просто говорит она.

Because it's Christmas morning, I say nothing. I come inside and a dart flies past my head. Я захожу внутрь, и дротик пролетает мимо моей головы.

'Ha! Ha!' says Seamus.

'Bulls-eye,' says Da. «В яблочко», — говорит папа.

The day before New Year, it snows. Накануне Нового года идет снег. It is the end of another year. Это конец еще одного года.

I eat some leftover Christmas food for breakfast and fall asleep watching a film on the television. Я ем остатки рождественской еды на завтрак и засыпаю, смотря фильм по телевизору. I get bored playing with my Tiny Tears doll, so I start playing darts with Seamus. Мне надоедает играть со своей куклой Tiny Tears, поэтому я начинаю играть в дартс с Симусом. When I get a good score, he calls it lucky. Когда я получаю хороший результат, он называет это удачей.

I've had enough of being a child. Мне надоело быть ребенком. I wish I was big. Хотел бы я быть большим. I wish I could sit beside the fire and wait to be called to dinner. Хотел бы я сидеть у огня и ждать, пока меня позовут к обеду. I wish I could sit behind the wheel of a car and get someone to open the gates for me. Хотел бы я сесть за руль машины и попросить кого-нибудь открыть мне ворота. Vroom! Врум! Vroom! I'd drive away fast. Я бы уехал быстро.

That night, we get ready for the village dance. Этой ночью мы готовимся к деревенскому танцу. Mammy puts on a dark-red dress. She asks me to fasten her pearl necklace for her. Она просит меня застегнуть ей жемчужное ожерелье. She's tall and thin, but the skin on her hands is hard. Она высокая и худая, но кожа на руках жесткая. I wonder if some day she'll look like Bridie Knox, part man, part woman. Интересно, станет ли она когда-нибудь похожей на Брайди Нокс, наполовину мужчину, наполовину женщину.

Da doesn't make any effort. Папа не делает никаких усилий. I have never known him take a bath or wash his hair. Я никогда не видел, чтобы он принимал ванну или мыл голову. He just changes his hat and shoes. Он просто меняет шляпу и туфли. Seamus wears a pair of tight black trousers and boots with big heels to make him taller. Симус носит пару узких черных брюк и сапоги на большом каблуке, чтобы сделать его выше.

'You'll fall over in your high heels,' I say. — Ты упадешь на своих высоких каблуках, — говорю я.

We get into the Volkswagen, Seamus and me in the back. Мы садимся в «фольксваген», Симус и я сзади. Although I washed the inside of the car, I can still smell sheep-dirt. Хоть я и помыл машину внутри, но все равно чувствую запах овечьей грязи. I hate this smell that drags us back to where we come from. Я ненавижу этот запах, который тянет нас туда, откуда мы пришли. Because there are no doors in the back of the car, it's Mammy who gets out to open the gates. Поскольку в задней части машины нет дверей, Мамочка выходит, чтобы открыть ворота. I think she's beautiful, with her pearls around her neck and her red skirt flying out as she turns around. Я думаю, что она красивая, с жемчугом на шее и красной юбкой, развевающейся, когда она поворачивается. I wish Da would get out. Я хочу, чтобы папа вышел. I wish the snow would fall on him, not on Mammy in her good clothes. Я хочу, чтобы снег падал на него, а не на маму в ее хорошем платье. I've seen other fathers holding their wives' coats, holding doors open for them. Я видел, как другие отцы держали пальто своих жен, держа перед ними двери. But Da's not like that.

The village hall stands in the middle of a car park. Ратуша стоит посреди автостоянки. Inside there's a slippy wooden floor and benches around the walls, and strange lights that make white clothes seem very bright. Внутри скользкий деревянный пол, скамейки вдоль стен и странные огни, из-за которых белая одежда кажется очень яркой.

Everyone we know is there, including Bridie with her red lipstick, and Sarah Combs, who only last week gave my father a glass of wine and took him into the sitting room to show him her new furniture. Все, кого мы знаем, там, включая Брайди с ее красной помадой и Сару Комбс, которая только на прошлой неделе дала моему отцу бокал вина и отвела его в гостиную, чтобы показать ему свою новую мебель.

There's a band playing dance music, and Mammy and I are first on the floor. Группа играет танцевальную музыку, и мы с мамой первые на площадке. When the music stops and restarts, she dances with Seamus. Когда музыка останавливается и возобновляется, она танцует с Симусом. My father dances with the women he knows from his trips. Мой отец танцует с женщинами, которых он знает по своим поездкам. I wonder how he can dance like that, and not be able to open gates. Я удивляюсь, как он может так танцевать и не открывать ворота. Old men in their thirties ask me to dance. Старики лет тридцати приглашают меня танцевать.

They tell me I'm light on my feet. Они говорят мне, что я легок на ноги. 'Christ, you're like a feather,' they say. «Боже, ты как перышко», — говорят они.

After a while, I get thirsty and Mammy gives me money for a lemonade and some raffle tickets. Через некоторое время мне хочется пить, и мама дает мне денег на лимонад и лотерейные билеты. A slow dance begins, and Da walks across to Sarah Combs, who rises from her bench and takes her jacket off. Начинается медленный танец, и папа подходит к Саре Комбс, которая встает со скамейки и снимает куртку. Her shoulders are bare; she looks half-naked to me. Ее плечи обнажены; она мне кажется полуголой. Mammy is sitting with her handbag on her knees, watching. Мама сидит с сумочкой на коленях и смотрит. There is something sad about Mammy tonight; it's all around her, like when a cow dies and the men come to take it away. Что-то грустное сегодня с мамой; это все вокруг нее, как когда умирает корова, и мужчины приходят ее забрать. Something I don't fully understand is happening; a black cloud seems to hang in the air. Происходит что-то, чего я не совсем понимаю; кажется, что черная туча висит в воздухе. I offer her my lemonade, but she just drinks a little and thanks me. Я предлагаю ей свой лимонад, но она только немного выпивает и благодарит меня. I give her half my raffle tickets, but she doesn't care. Я даю ей половину своих лотерейных билетов, но ей все равно. Da has his arms round Sarah Combs, dancing close and slow. Папа обнимает Сару Комбс, танцуя близко и медленно. I go to find Seamus, who's smiling at a blonde I don't know. Я иду искать Шеймуса, который улыбается незнакомой мне блондинке.

'Go and dance with Sarah Combs instead of Da,' I say. — Иди потанцуй с Сарой Комбс вместо папы, — говорю я.

'Why would I do that?' he asks.

'And you're supposed to be intelligent,' I say. — А ты должен быть умным, — говорю я. 'Bollocks.' «Чушь».

I walk across the floor and tap Sarah Combs on the back. Я иду по полу и хлопаю Сару Комбс по спине. She turns, her wide belt shining in the light. Она оборачивается, ее широкий пояс сияет на свету.

'Excuse me,' I say, like when you ask someone the time. — Извините, — говорю я, как когда спрашиваешь у кого-то время.

She just giggles, looking down at me. Она лишь хихикает, глядя на меня сверху вниз.

'I want to dance with Daddy,' I say. «Я хочу потанцевать с папой», — говорю я.

At the word 'Daddy' her face changes and she loosens her hold on my father. При слове «папа» ее лицо меняется, и она ослабляет хватку моего отца. I take over and dance with him. He holds my hand tight, like a punishment. Он крепко держит мою руку, словно в наказание. I can see my mother on the bench, reaching into her bag for a handkerchief. Я вижу свою мать на скамейке, тянущуюся в сумке за носовым платком. Then she goes to the Ladies' toilets. Затем она идет в женский туалет. There's a feeling like hatred all around Da. I get the feeling he's helpless, but I don't care. Я чувствую, что он беспомощен, но мне все равно. For the first time in my life, I have some power. Впервые в жизни у меня есть сила. I can take over, rescue, and be rescued. Я могу взять верх, спасти и быть спасенным.

There's a lot of excitement just before midnight. Незадолго до полуночи много волнений. Everybody's dancing, knees bending, handbags waving. Все танцуют, колени сгибаются, сумки машут. The bandleader counts down the seconds to New Year and then there's kissing all round. Руководитель оркестра отсчитывает секунды до Нового года, а потом все целуются.