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2007年07月19日    来源:   字体:   打印

  lesson20 Zero Hour:Forty-Three Seconds over Hiroshima

  Zero hour:Forty-three seconds over Hiroshima Peter Goldman

  1.On a brilliant summer's morning in 1945,Kaz Tanaka looked up into the sky over Hiroshima and saw the beginning of the her world.She was 18 then,and herr mind was filled with teenage things.She had wakened with a slight fever,just bothersome enough to keep her hom from her job in a war plant.But she felt well enough to be up and about;her father had asked her to wather a tree in front of their house.She ran across the courtyard and let herself out of the front gate.A girlfriend was standing across the street.Kaz waved,and the two were gossiping happily when they heard the drone of a B-29 bomber six miles up.It was a minute or so before 8:15.

  2.The plane did not frighten Kaz.For one thing,Hiroshima had gone almost untouched by the air war.For another,Kaz had been born in Colifornia,and although her father had returned to Japan while she was still in diapers,she liked to tell people she was the American in the family.She even felt a kind of distant kinship with the B-29s that flew regularly overhead,bound north for Tokyo and other targets.She waved at the plane.“Hi,angel!”she called.

  3.A white spot appeared in the sky,as small and innocent-looking as a scrap of paper.It was falling away from the plane,drifting down toward them.The journey took 43 seconds.

  4.The air exploded in blinding light and color,the rays shooting outward as in a child's drawing of the sun,and Kaz was flung to the ground so violently that her twooo front teeth broke off;she had sunk into unconsciousness.Kaz's father had been out back tending the vegetable,in his undershorts.When he came staggering out of the garden,blood was rrunning from his nose and mouth.By the next day the exposed parts of his body would turn a chocolate brown.What had been the finest house in the neighborhood came crashing down.

  5.Kaz had herself been bit in the back by the flying timber.She left nothing .People were only shapes in dense,gray fog of dust and ash.A mushroom cloud towered seven miles over the remains of the city,the signaturfe ofr a terrifying new age.Kaz never saw it.She was inside it.

  6.Kaz Tanaka had wakened in a grightening new world——a world whose dominant sound was a silence broken only by the cries of the dying.The very air seemed hostile,so thick with dust and ash that she could barely see.She found her girlfriend nest to her.

  7.“What happened?” they both blurted at once.There were no answer' no one knew.

  8.“Are you hurt?”Kaz asked.

  9.“No,I can get up,” her girlfriend answered.

  10.“Thank heaven!” Kaz said.She struggled to her own feet then,and took her first steps on to the ruin of her life.

  11.That life had been a comfortable one,wanting in nothing—not,at least,until the war.Kaz's father had been born to a family of some wealth and social position in Hiroshima,and had migrated to America in the early 1920s in the spirit of adventure,not of need or flight;he never intended to stay.He moved back to Hiroshima at 40;it was expected of him as the sole male heir to their name.But he brought his American baby girl with him,and a life-style flavored with American ways.

  12.The house he built was a spacious one.There was courtyard in front of the place and two gardens in back,one to provide vegetables,one to delight the eye in the formal Japanese fashion.One of the two living-rooms was American,with easy chairs instead of tatami,and so were the kitchen and bathroom fittings.Dinner was Japanese,the family sitting on the floor in the traditional way.Breakfast was American,pancakes or bacon and eggs,taken at the kitchen table.

  13.When news came that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor,Kaz's father retired to his garden and stayed all day,shaking his head and refusing to speak to anyone.But he could not shut the war out of the sheltered world he had built for himself and his family.His children went to the factories part time.Food was short;his vegetable garden became less a hobby than a necessity,helping feed not only his own house hold but his neibghbors as well.

  14.What remained of the life he had made was blown to bits though his home was more than a mile from the hypocenter.He was working on the side facing zero,and had the front of his body burnt.His flesh,when Kaz touched him,had the soft feel of a boiled tomato.

  15.Kaz was anxiously waiting for the return of another member of her family when a tall figure appeared where the gate had been.“He's back!”she shouted;her brother,at six feet,towered over most Japanese men,and she knew at a glimpse that it was he.But when she drew closer,she could barely recognize him through his wounds.His school had fallen down around him.He had struggled to a first-aid station.They had splashed some medicine on the wounds,tied them with a bandage and sent him on his way.For a moment,he stood swaying at ruins of the gate.Kaz stared at him.

  16.Later,when night fell,Kaz and her brother made for the mountains;a friend from Kaz's factory lived in a village on a hill behind the city and had offered to take them in.It was midnight by the time they found her place.Kaz looked back. The city was on fire.She was seized with fear,not for herself,but for her parents.She left her brother behind,and was running down the hillside toward the flames.The streets were filled with the dead and the barely living.She kept on running,knowing only that she had to be home.

  17.Kaz's family had been luckier than most.Her father had to lie out doors on a tatami with his burns,and her brother's wounds refused to close.But they had at least survived,and they began,painfully,to rebuild their lives.They had two wells for water and an uncle who lived on an island off the coast brought them a great sack of food every week.Kaz's father found a carpenter willing to raise a new house out of the wreckage of the old in exchange for whatever wood had left over.The house more nearly resembled a hovel.Kaz could see the first snowflakes of winter through cracks between the boards on the roof.By the standards of Hiroshima after the bomb,it was a mansion.

  18.In time the visible wounds healed.The burns on Kaz's father's chest left scars which looked like maps of Japan and Amercia,side by side the way they ought to be,and when the subject of the bomb came up,he resisted blaming anyone.“The war”he would way,“is finished.”

  19.But as the others were recovering,Kaz had fallen ill with all the symptoms of radiation sickness.The disease was one of the frightening aftershocks of the bomb;the scientists in Los Alamos were surprised by its extent——they thought the blast would do most of the killing.Kaz felt as if she was dying.She ran a fever.She felt sick and dizzy,almost drunk. Her gums and her bowels were bleeding.She looked like a ghost.“I'm next,”she thought matter-of-factly;she was an 18-year-old girl waiting her turn to die.

  20.On the first day of 1946,Kaz's mother was determined that Kaz would spend at least a bit of it on her feet.It was an old superstition among the Japanese that a person would spend the entire year as he or she spent New Year's Day.A neighbor helped.They got her outside,and propped her upfight for a few mintes.The medicine worked better than anything in the doctor's bag,since the only known treatment for radiation sickness was rest.As winter gave way to spring and spring to summer,Kaz began to mend.

  21.The illness had not really left her;it had gone into hiding,instead,and the physical and mental after effects of August 6,1945 would trouble Kaz all the rest of her life.