2012-11-05 14:04
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What is the moral (寓意) of the story?

Going home

I first heard this story a few years ago from a girl in New York. Probably the story reappears every few years, to be told in one form or another. However, I still like to think that it really did happen, somewhere, sometime.

They were going to Florida—three boys and three girls. After they got on the bus, they began talking about the golden beaches in Florida.

As the bus passed through New Jersey, they began to notice Vingo. He sat in front of them, dressed in a plain suit, never moving, silent, his dusty face masking his age.

Deep into the night, the bus stopped at a café. Everybody got off except Vingo. He sat in his seat, and the young people began to wonder about him.

“We’re going to Florida,” she said. “I hear it’s really beautiful.”

“It is,” he said quietly, as if remembering something he had tried to forget.

In the morning, they awoke outside a café, and this time Vingo went in. The girl insisted that he join them. He seemed very shy. When they returned to the bus, the girl sat with Vingo again, and after a while, slowly and painfully, he told his story. He had been in jail in New York for the past four years, and now he was going home.
早晨,他们在咖啡馆外面醒来。这时候Vingo 进来了。女孩坚持让他加入。他看上去很害羞。当他们回到车里时,女孩又和Vingo坐在一起,过了一会,他开始讲述他的故事,缓慢而痛苦。过去四年,他都在纽约的监狱度过,现在他要回家了。

“Are you married?”

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?”

“Well, when I was in jail, I wrote to my wife,” he said. “I told her that I was going to be away for a long time, and that if she couldn’t stand it, if the kids kept asking questions, if it hurt too much, well, she could just forget me, I’d understand. I told her she didn’t have to write to me. And she didn’t. Not for three and a half years.”

“And you’re going home now, not knowing?”

"Yeah,” he said shyly. “Well, a week before I was released from jail, I wrote to her again. We used to live in Brunswick, and there’s a big oak tree standing in front of the town. I told her that if she’d take me back, she should put a yellow    handkerchief    on the tree, and I’d get off and come home. If she didn’t want me, just forget it.”

“Wow,” the girl exclaimed, “wow!”

She told her friends about the story. As the bus approached Brunswick, Vingo showed them a picture of his wife and three children—the woman was beautiful and the children were cute.

Now they were 20 miles from Brunswick, and the young people took over window seats on the right side, waiting for the approach of the great oak tree.

Then Brunswick was ten miles away, and then five. Then, suddenly, all of the young people were up out of their seats, screaming and shouting and crying, doing small dances of joy. All except Vingo.

Vingo sat there stunned, looking at the oak tree. It was covered with yellow handkerchiefs, like a banner of welcome billowing in the wind. As the young people shouted, Vingo rose and made his way to the front of the bus to go home.