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The Story Collector

发布者:  时间:2021-05-29 12:32:44  浏览:

The Story Collector

Amber             黄泽凝            190110405


Ryan was a poor boy, as all the villagers in the town knew. At the moment he was born, he lost his mother. Ryan's father could not bear the remoteness and poverty of the town, and so finally abandoned Ryan and left the town secretly one night when Ryan was less than one year old. However, Ryan, who could only giggle in his cradle, was carried home by a widow neighbor, Mrs. Nina.


People in the town said Nina was foolish in doing this because of her miserable condition. Her husband died of lung disease after they had just married, leaving only a meager winery for Nina to make a living. She had lived alone for thirty years. Her hair was greying and her back was bent. She picked grapes and made wine by herself, thereupon hauling the barrels to the fair with a battered wooden cart. Her legs weren't working very well and moved slowly. Fortunately, Mrs. Nina was good at making wine, but the money she earned was barely enough to live on. The fact that she was struggling financially to raise a child added insult to injury. But Nina did so anyway.


Ryan grew up under the parentage of Mrs. Nina and never complained about life. He also learned how to make wine from Mrs. Nina and became her assistant. At the age of seven, while helping Lady Nina sell wine at the fair, Ryan was fascinated by a storybook and surreptitiously slipped it into his clothes. But he was caught red-handed by the bookseller. Without any word of reproach, Mrs. Nina apologized to the bookseller and spent all of her money to buy the storybook. Not only that, she sent Ryan to the elementary school in town the next day. Ryan enjoyed the school time because he could use the new words he had learned to read that wonderful storybook. Through this book, he learned about the world outside of the town. Instead of working day after day in the town, the world outside was like a huge pocket filled with colorful candies; nobody could see what it tasted like from the wrapping. Ryan took that storybook with him everywhere. He thought stories could cure everything and take him anywhere.


In order for Ryan to go to school, Mrs. Nina had to work even harder. Despite Ryan coming home from school to help, her gerontic body was overwhelmed, and she became seriously ill. When Ryan was eighteen, Mrs. Nina passed away. Before she died, she told Ryan that she expected him to do whatever he wanted and live a happy life. Ryan sat alone in the yard, looking at the stars overhead and thinking for a long time. The only thing he eager for were stories. There were fifty-three little stories in his storybook, but Ryan knew them all by hear, and they were not enough for him. He was desperate for the world outside the town because that meant more stories for him to discover. Hence, he planned to leave the town to find more diverting stories. Over the years, he had learned from Mrs. Nina how to make wine, and it was the only way he had in which he could maintain his life. After selling the house and winery to an old couple, he bought a big car and used the barrels of wine and tools for making wine to turn it into a mobile pub so he could drive anywhere and still make wine. Ryan drove off to begin his journey with a photo of himself and Mrs. Nina and his favorite storybook.


The first place he came to was a prosperous city. It was a Summer night with a trace of cool breeze. No sooner had he parked his car than a sorrowful man in a black suit came to buy wine. After a few drinks, the man started a conversation with Ryan. So, Ryan collected his first story, a story about business card. “My wife passed away a year ago”, he said, “My wife and I had been a married for more than ten years. One day, we went to visit friends on the other side of the city. When we got back, it was getting late, and so came the last bus, So I told to my wife to push through the front and I would push through back door because it was so crowded. My wife nodded in agreement. I stood in the middle of the car, squeezed in by the front door, feeling very uncomfortable. Suddenly, a hand silently grasped mine. I knew by feeling that it was not my wife's hand for hers certainly was not so warm, soft, delicate, and moving... I wished I could have kept riding that bus until dawn.”


With these words, the man's face began to sink into sadness. “I couldn't help wondering what kind of woman she was. Had she noticed me? What was her name? How could I get in touch with her? Suddenly, a light flashed in my mind, and I quietly took out one of my business cards and put it in that lovely hand. The train finally arrived at the station. I got out of the car reluctantly. My wife, getting off the other side of the car, did not seem to notice. When we were crossing the road, a motorcycle rushed at us like crazy. My wife hesitated for a moment, and then her body suddenly struck me. I quickly picked up my wife, who was covered in blood, and ran to the hospital. At dawn, the doctors came out and told me that they have already done their best but had been unsuccessful, and that my wife wanted to see me one last time. When I walked into the room, one of my wife's hands clenched into a fist. Then the hand opened like a movie in slow motion, and my business card slipped down silently...”


After saying, the man covered his face and wept bitterly, “I used to think that marriage was like a glass of water to me, which could quench my thirst but was tasteless, but later, I understood that it is like a glass of wine; it needs be carefully brewed and slowly tasted, only in this way you will not miss the sweet taste.” After a while, he drank up his wine and stumbled out into the night. Ryan recorded the story in his story collection, stayed in the city for one more night, and then drove away.


Far from the bustling city, Ryan drove straight on. He didn't know how long he had been driving. After about a day and a night of driving, Ryan parked his car in a small park. After talking to one of the staff there, he realized it was a cemetery. He decided to stay there for a day. There were all sorts of people coming in and out of the yard, but they all looked equally sad. Ryan dug out the picture of Mrs. Nina and stared at it for a long time until a woman interrupted him. The woman looks at the car and asks Ryan: “Do you sell wine?”. Ryan added his head and gave her a glass of wine.

“I have never met a liquor merchant in the cemetery”, said the woman.

Ryan smiled: “Because there are so many stories here; both the living and the dead have their own stories. Maybe you'd like to share something with me?”


The young woman shared her son's story with Ryan. She got pregnant soon after she married her husband. After a long ten months, the eagerly awaited baby was born. She and her husband gave him all their energy, time, and love. Unfortunately, the truth always deviates from the ideal. Their child died merely three weeks after birth. Despite their grief, she and her husband decided to come to the cemetery and write an epitaph for their baby. Ryan also saw that epitaph, which read: “Under the tombstone is our lovely baby. He neither cried nor made any noise. He lived only twenty-one days and cost us forty dollars. He came into this world, looked around him, was not satisfied, and went back. No matter how long he stayed, we still love and will remember him forever.”


The farther Ryan traveled, the more stories he gathered. One day, Ryan came to a scenic tourist town. He pulled up next to a hotel where many tourists stayed. People stayed in this little hotel, maybe for days, maybe for months, the journey never ends. Another name for travel is escape, escape from reality. Life always has some disturbance, just like the clutter of luggage, scattered on the ground. No matter what you've been through, pack your suitcase and head to the next station.


A few days later, a gentlemanly man, with a huge traveling backpack and his bicycle, checked into the hotel. As he went downstairs, Ryan was squinting his eyes to enjoy the sunlight. The man saw Ryan's mobile pub and seemed curious. "That looks good. Give me a drink," the man asked as he sat down beside him. He seemed interested when he heard that Ryan was a story collector. So, he shared his own story with Ryan. The man was the founder of a bicycle company. He said, "There is only one way to prove love, and that is to do something for it. So, I chose to start a business, I chose bicycles. Cycling makes me more tolerant and accept all kinds of things in the world." As a cycling maniac, he had ridden five continents on some of the most beautiful roads in the world. In South France, Argentina and South Africa he rode, listening to the sound of the wind. “On my first trip to France, I encountered three of the worst things for cyclists in one day: a wreck, getting lost, and rain. It was awful. But I saw a man by the side of the road hunting in the rain, and I asked him why he hadn't gone home when the weather was so bad, and all he said was, 'Sunny is fine weather, so why not rain? ' Since then, I have never been afraid of rain. Even when I rode in Argentina for ten days, it rained all the way, but I had the feeling that I saw the most magical side of Latin America and learned the magical realism written by Marquez. None of the beautiful travel guide photographs can compare with the real experience of the moment.”


They seemed to get along well and spent the afternoon talking, Ryan returned his story with a beautifully wrapped bottle of wine with Ryan's signature: Ryan, the Story Collector. After writing down this story, Ryan wrote a question below: What is a landscape? And there is the answer: It is all the things you can see right now.


In the long journey of collecting stories, Ryan kept going ahead. Blessedness, sadness, regret, upset, indignation...  his thick and still growing more and more thick story collection recorded every moment of the people. Sometimes, Ryan looked at everything around him tranquilly and found that what happens to us repeats itself in everyone's life. Every time sorrow, every time tears, every time love, as we go ahead to experience step by step till the end of life.


"Vagrancy is the destiny of life," Ryan said. Without his parents' love and guidance, without Mrs. Nina, he learned to warm himself by stories. Time after time again, he stood by his mobile pub, bidding farewell to the departing guests who had just warmly embraced him. As if everyone had a story to tell, they walked into the pub, told their life's secrets with Ryan, and immortalized them in a stranger's story book.


Ryan is leaving, too. It's time to move on. Although he does not know the way back, he knows his fate should be vagrantly.


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