Finally, for the first time in my life, I was going to move into brand-new house and it was an absolute beauty. I spent hours upon hours walking up and down the hallway just looking at that sunken living room. I had never actually seen one of those before and always thought they were only for rich people. It sure made me proud to now have one for my very own. I smiled real big and then put a foot down onto the first step, which led down onto the beautifully carpeted living room. Then I carefully looked to make sure I did not get any dirt on the golden colored carpet. Then I removed my shoes and walked all around the living room, feeling the soft, new, thick carpet beneath my feet. I met the real estate agent for the last time, signed the final papers and he handed me the keys. I jumped into my car and rushed as fast as I could to my rented mobile home to get the family and start the moving-in process. That was a very good day in my life, because no one in my family would ever have to live on the streets like I did as a young boy when running away from that abusive Florida orphanage. This house would be kept in brand-new condition, and would last forever and ever—so that all my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren would always have a nice, new looking place to live, no matter what.
终于，我人生中第一次要搬进一所全新的房子。这所房子绝对称得上是美伦美奂。 我来来回回地在走廊上走了几个小时，就为了观看那沉降式的客厅。我以前从没亲眼见过沉降式的客厅，也总觉得那只是属于有钱人的。现在我却也拥有了这样一个客厅，当然备感自豪。我笑容灿烂，伸出一只脚踏在第一级台阶上，台阶下面是铺着漂亮地毯的客厅。我小心翼翼地观看着，避免把一丁点的尘土留在金色的地毯上。接着我脱掉鞋子，在客厅里来回地走，尽情感受着脚下那柔软、厚实的新地毯。 我与房地产中介见了最后一次面，签好最终的文件后，他把房子的钥匙交给了我。我跳进车里，以最快的速度驶向我租来的活动房屋，我要去那里接我的家人，并着手搬进新家。 那是我生命中极其美好的一天，因为从此以后，我的家人决不会像童年的我那样住在大街上了——小时候，我逃离那个我备受虐待的佛罗里达孤儿院后，就住在大街上。我要让这所房子始终保持在崭新状态，让它永久长存。这样一来，我所有的子孙和曾孙们就可以一直住在一个崭新而漂亮的地方了。
That held true year after year and about five years later, we sold that immaculate house for top dollar. There was not a spot or smear or hole anywhere in that beautiful house. Not even on the walls could you find a small nail hole that would have held a picture. I was supposed to meet with the real estate agent who was selling our house later that evening and when I arrived, I was surprised to find the new owners of the house standing in the driveway. I parked my car, walked up and began talking with the older couple. “This house is in perfect condition,” said the old man. “Perfect in every way. Not even a nail hole in any of the wall” I told him proudly. “It’s really too bad that nobody lived here,” said the old woman. “I lived here for five whole years” I said with a great big smile on my face. “No. You didn’t live here for five years. You just stayed here for five years” said the old lady. All the way home I thought about what she said. What did she mean? How could they not be happy about buying a house in perfect condition and without any holes in the walls? I was very puzzled. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I quickly pulled over to the side of the road and just sat there thinking. The old lady was absolutely right.
年复一年，事情一直如我想象中一样发展着。大约五年后，我们以最高的价格卖掉了这所完美的房子。这所漂亮的房子里没有留下任何一处斑点、污渍或是小洞，甚至在墙上你也找不到一个曾因为挂过画而留下的小钉孔! 那晚稍晚些的时候，我约了正在帮我们卖房子的房地产中介见面。当我到达的时候，惊讶地发现房子的新主人正站在车道上。我停好车子，走上前去，开始和这对年长的夫妇攀谈起来。 老先生说：“这所房子堪称完美，”“无论从哪一个角度看，它都是完美无瑕的。房子的任何一面墙上甚至找不到一个钉孔。”我骄傲地告诉他。 “没有人住过，真是太可惜了!”老太太说。“我在这里整整住了五年呢。”我大笑着告诉她。“不，你并没有在这里‘住’了五年，你只是在这里‘待’了五年而已。”老太太回应道。 回家的路上，我一直在思索着老太太的话。她为什么会那样说呢?他们能买到一所保持得如此完好，墙上连一个小孔都没有的房子，不是应该很高兴吗?我百思不得其解。突然，答案像砖头一样砸醒了我。我赶紧把车停靠在路边，坐在那里思考起来。老太太的话是完全正确的!
Just because you stay in a house, it doesn’t mean you really lived in it. Not unless you put your heart into it, enjoy it and do the things that make you happy while you are there—like walking into the living room and seeing pictures of the kids and the smiling faces of the grandchildren or watching them yelling their little lungs out under the sprinkler in your front yard, and yes maybe even a picture of the old dog who decided to go to the bathroom on that beautiful carpet. I sat there alone biting my bottom lip and feeling very much ashamed of what I had done by having lost five years of my life, not to mention what I had taken from my family without even realizing it. Living really is much more than just remembering yesterday with only your mind. It is walking into your home and living for today with your heart and your eyes. Those holes in the wall, when all the furniture is gone and the house is completely bare, are memory holes and without any memorie “You didn’t really live there. You just stayed there.” Today, our home in Brunswick, Georgia has so many darn pictures of kid grandkid friends and dogs on the walls that it might collapse one day. And if it does that will be very sad for me.
仅仅因为你搬进了一所房子里，并不意味着你真正在那里安家，除非你住在房子里的时候，全身心投入、乐在其中，并做着令自己快乐的事情。例如，走进客厅，看看墙上那些记录着子女以及孙辈们的灿烂笑容的照片，或者看看他们在前院的喷水头下扯着喉咙大喊的照片，甚至还可以看看一张老狗在那美丽的地毯上撒尿的照片。 我独自坐在那里，咬着下唇若有所思：我浪费了生命中的五年时光去保持房子的完好。对此，我羞愧不已。更不用说我从家人那里剥夺了许多快乐，而自己却根本没有意识到。活着，不仅仅意味着在脑海里留下昨天的印记，还意味着走进家里，用真心、用双眼度过每一个“今天”。有一天，当所有的家具都移走了，这所房子也变得空荡荡时，房子墙上的那些孔洞就是记忆的痕迹。没有任何记忆，那就会像老太太所说的“你并不曾真正‘住’在那里，你只是在那里‘待’过而已。” 现在，我们的新家位于佐治亚州的不伦瑞克。家里的墙上挂满了照片，有子女们的，孙辈的，朋友的，还有小狗的，我真担心钉了那么多钉子后，墙壁也许有一天会坍塌。如果真的发生那样的事，我会非常伤心的。