Unit 07 On Duty……………………………………………109
The young soldier, stationed on guard at a foreign city street corner, sheltered himself from the biting late evening wind by standing back against the lee(背风的)side of a small, one storey building, occasionally peering around to view the large crowd that had gathered on the main street.
He didn’t know why the people were there, nor did he care; after all, it wasn’t his country, and none of his concern. He had been in the Army for only six months, enlisting on the same day when he had turned eighteen, and he didn’t understand the local language or any of the country’s dialects. He could speak only a few words and phrases, just enough for him to occasionally purchase some of the local food and beverages.
The commander had told him to watch the assembly, and if they began to get rowdy(粗暴的)and appear to get out of control, he should immediately inform his partner, now stationed across the street, for reinforcements, garrisoned(驻守)just two blocks away. Looking at the disorder on the street, he thought, it must be some kind of protest for some radical cause or other.
He also thought about home, half a world away, and of a girl named Lisa, whom he planned to marry during his next leave. Six more months and he would be a married man. The thought made him smile.
Suddenly, about a block up the street, the crowd emitted up a loud roar, awakening the young soldier from his marital daydream. Back into reality, he quickly scanned the area, noticing that many of the people were pointing towards a woman in the middle of the street, coming from the darkness, like an aerial statue floating above the crowd. He saw a bearded man ahead of the woman, looking as if he was towing her along. Perhaps the woman sat upon a cart or some other wheeled device, but the soldier couldn’t tell in accuracy because too many people blocked his view. Occasionally, through small gaps between the many bodies in front of him, he could see the woman’s waist, and she appeared to be pregnant.
When the shouting became louder, the young soldier kept a watchful(警惕的)eye on the couple as they drew nearer, and at the same time he tried to guess the crowd’s mood, but he couldn’t find out if it was good or bad. He quickly checked his weapon, just in case he might have to defend himself. Then he turned his attention to a group of five dubious and nasty-looking young men standing nearby, ones that he had seen drinking liquor earlier in the evening. He was watching them carefully to make sure they didn’t throw anything handy that might cause harm to the passing couple. Soon, the man and woman came directly in front of the young soldier and the five men, but instead of causing trouble, the drunken five began to wave their arms over their heads and cheer.
Noticing the cheers, the woman turned her head and looked directly at the five men for an instant, then her gaze quickly shifted to the young soldier. Although she smiled when she nodded her head at him, the soldier could sense a deep pain in the woman’s eyes. Fascinated by what he saw, he continued to stare at the woman, his eyes locked onto hers. He couldn’t tear his gaze away. Suddenly, a feeling of solemnity seeped(渗入)into the core of him like a wave of warm water, something that he had never experienced before. A moment later the woman broke the eye contact, and then she and her male companion disappeared, melting into the crowd and proceeding down the street towards one of the local inns.
After a short while, the crowd became quiet and began to disperse.
Within fifteen minutes the young soldier stood sober alone, looking up and down an empty street. A moment later, he noticed three well-dressed men coming out of the darkness, traveling from the same direction as the bearded man and pregnant woman, heading directly towards him. At that same instant he heard his commander’s voice behind him, “soldier, you’re relieved of your duty here. Fall in.”
Marching back to the barracks(军营)in formation with the rest of the sentinels(哨兵),the young soldier looked up at the clear night sky, wondering if the woman with the mournful eyes and peaceful smile had noticed the extremely bright stars overhead.内容来自 听力课堂网：http://www.tingclass.net/show-8583-246969-1.html