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看不见的羁绊:捐精者的孩子们

看不见的羁绊:捐精者的孩子们


我们翻译这篇文章的理由


我不能自诩洞明世事。从过去到今天,我一直是一个寻觅者,但我已不再寻求于星辰和书本之间,而是开始聆听自己血液的簌簌低语。我的故事并不令人畅怀,也不像杜撰的故事那样甜美和谐,它味如痴语、混乱、癫狂和梦幻,就像所有那些不愿再自欺欺人的生活一样。

——《德米安:彷徨少年时》


        

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看不见的羁绊:捐精者的孩子们


作者: Susan DominUs

译者:刘蕊

校对:倪凌晖

策划:唐萧 & 刘蕊


I’m 20. I have32 half siblings. This is my familyportrait

我20岁了,有32个同父异母的兄弟姐妹,这是我的家族照。


It was never a secret in my house that I was conceived with the help of an anonymous sperm donor. For a majority of my childhood, I never really thought about him. But when I was around 11, I went through a period of having questions. My parents — I have two mothers — gave me a photo copy of a questionnaire that was sent to them from the sperm bank they used, California Cryobank. The donor filled it out in 1996, two years before I was born.

我的出生得益于匿名捐精,这在我家从来不是什么秘密。童年大部分时间里,我都没怎么想过亲生父亲这个问题。直到十一岁,我开始有了各种各样的疑惑。当时我的两位母亲给我看了一份加州精子银行发来的问卷复印件,这份问卷是精子捐赠者于1996年填写的,也就是我出生前两年。


I remember carrying the form with me in my backpack, taking it to school and studying it occasionally when I remembered I had it. There was this sense of touch — this person had used his hand to answer these questions; I could see where he had crossed things out. It wasn’t that I was so desperate to imagine who he was; it was enough to have proof that he was real, entangled with who I am and yet, as that document showed, totally separate. The form made him concrete, if inscrutable. It also gave me the sense that there was this larger world, this process and this bureaucracy that my existence was built upon. It was a way to help me understand myself.

记得我把问卷放在书包里,带去学校,偶尔想起来了,就拿出来认真研究。问卷似乎带着触感——我的亲生父亲曾亲手填写这份问卷。我看到他在纸上将字儿划掉的痕迹。并不是说我非常渴望知道他到底是谁。这份问卷的存在足以证明我确实是有亲生父亲的,即便我们骨肉分离,但是他与我之间确实存在着羁绊。这份问卷让亲生父亲谜一般的形象逐渐清晰具体。这份问卷让我意识到一个更大的世界,让我了解捐精过程及其背后的机构组织,它们正是我存在的原因。这份问卷让我了解我自己。


I knew a lot of other children whose parents had used donors to conceive because every summer we went to a camp for same-sex families. Last summer, news traveled through the community that two kids from two families who attended the camp for years had independently gone on to a registry for family members trying to connect with donors or donor siblings. The two discovered that they shared a donor — that they were half siblings.

我认识不少利用捐赠精子怀孕出生的孩子,每年夏天大家都会参加为同性家庭举办的夏令营活动。去年夏天,社区里传闻,夏令营里有两个孩子——他们两家算得上是夏令营的常客了——分别进行了注册登记,试图与精子捐赠者或者是捐赠者的亲人联系,最后发现他们的捐赠者竟然是同一人,也就是说他们是同父异母的兄弟。


Until that moment, it had not really occurred to me — or my mothers, even though one is an ObGyn — that I might have half siblings out there. It makes no sense that we didn’t think about that, because my parents deliberately chose a donor whose sperm had successfully produced at least one live birth, whose sperm had, in a sense, “worked.” I think they were just so focused on thinking about the new family they were creating that they never stopped to think about the implications of the huge, inadvertent social experiment they were joining.

直到那个时候,我和我的母亲们——她们当中有一位还是妇产科医生——才真正意识到我可能有同父异母的兄弟姐妹。要说压根没想到这点是不可能的,毕竟这个精子捐赠者可是母亲们精心挑选出来的,他的精子此前曾成功受孕过一次,或者说“曾起了作用”。或许我的母亲们当时全身心都投入在组建新家庭当中,根本没有功夫停下来想想,自己无意中加入这个大型社会实验后,会有怎样的后果。


The news about the two kids at camp made me curious to find out if I had half siblings that I did not know about. So that same month, last August, when I was 19, I dug up the questionnaire, went to the sibling registry for California Cryobank, the largest sperm bank in the nation, and typed in the donor’s number. I landed on a message board for children of my particular donor and saw about a dozen cryptic user names of various mothers or children who were perhaps hesitant to reveal themselves completely. One jumped out at me — it said jplamb.

那两个孩子的事让我开始好奇自己是不是也有同父异母的血亲,只是我不知道罢了。于是去年八月,也就是他们登记注册的那个月,十九岁的我拿着问卷跑到了美国最大的精子银行加州精子银行,也进行了登记注册,在电脑上出入了精子捐赠者的编号。我登入了为我的捐赠者的孩子们准备的留言板,在上面看见了十几个因为担心暴露自己而匿名的用户,有的是母亲,有的是孩子。突然,我看见其有个用户叫jp兰布。


I grew up in Oakland, but I spent a semester in high school at a program in New York for kids interested in experiential learning, and one friend I made there, I knew, had two mothers who used a sperm donor to conceive him. His name was Gus Lamb. Right away, I texted him to ask if he had registered on the California Cryobank. He said he had. We exchanged donor numbers, and then we knew: We were half siblings.

我是在奥克兰长大的,高中的时候,我去纽约读了一学期的书,参加了一个关于体验式学习的项目。在那里,我结识了一位朋友,他也有两位母亲,母亲利用捐赠精子怀孕生下了他。他的名字叫盖斯·兰布。我立刻发短信问他是否也有在加州精子银行注册过。他说他有。我们彼此交换了捐赠者编号,然后发现:我们确实是同父异母的兄弟。


It was a moment of glee but also of horror. I knew that as a story it was mind-blowing, but it was also disturbing — to have the script switched, to go from friends to brothers. In our experiential-learning program, we were constantly being asked to write personal essays to try to understand our lives. For four months, we were doing that and reading each other’s work and sleeping on the same floor of a dorm, all the while not knowing that we were half brothers — the perversity of that was not lost on either of us.

那一刻既兴奋又可怕。我知道,作为故事,这个剧情确实有趣,但同时也令人不安,剧本突然变了,朋友变亲兄弟。一起学习的那段时间里,我们常常被要求写关于自己的论文来更好地了解自己的人生。那四个月里,我们不停地写论文,互相读对方的论文,就连宿舍都在同一层,但我们根本不知道彼此是有血缘关系的。但是,我们都继承了基因中那股任性固执的性格。


Sheepishly, we both wondered how that was possible: How could we not have somehow known? But at the same time, we both recognized that it didn’t seem so obvious. I had this suspicious feeling that scientists were conducting an experiment, had taken a lunch break and then forgotten to check back. But no one was watching through the two-way mirror, and instead we were stuck looking at each other, reflected and refracted, different people, but the same, mouths agape. If it was an experiment, the variables had not yielded some thrilling result. There had been no instant connection or unbreakable bond, and we easily lost touch when the program ended.

现在想起来实在是太蠢了,怎么可能不知道呢?我们怎么可能没有察觉呢?但同时我们又觉得一切确实是太隐晦了。我甚至怀疑,科学家们正在进行一项基因实验。午餐时间到了,他们忘了回来检查实验进展得怎么样了。但是,我们没有人站在实验室双向镜的后面,观察这个实验。通过反射与折射,我们只能彼此对视。不同的人却又都相似,惊讶地合不拢嘴。如果这确实是一项实验,那么变量并没有带来令人兴奋的结果。没有即时的联络,也没有牢不可破的羁绊,实验一旦结束,我们之间的联系也就丢失了。


We got on the phone, me in California, Gus in Massachusetts. Gus told me that he had never been especially drawn to learning more about the donor siblings. His sister Izzy, however, who had the same donor, had done research for medical reasons after having her appendix out. “There’s tons of siblings,” Gus told me. That was another shock. Many of them, he said, had been in touch for years. Gus and Izzy even had video-chatted with a few.

盖斯在马萨诸塞州,我在加州,我们通了电话。盖斯告诉我,在此之前,他对这种捐精情况下的血缘关系并没有多大兴趣。但他的妹妹伊兹——也是这名精子捐赠者的孩子——在做了阑尾手术后,出于医学原因进行了研究。“我们还有很多很多兄弟姐妹。”盖斯说道。我再一次惊呆了。他们当中不少人已经彼此联系了好多年,盖斯还说道。盖斯和伊兹甚至和几个人视频聊天过。


When we hung up, I told my parents what I’d learned, and they were equally stunned. I felt both curious and anxious about these people and what they exactly meant to me. The sheer quantity of them gave me a feeling of having been mass-produced.

结束通话后,我把这些信息转告给了我的母亲们。她们同样惊呆了。对于这些血亲的存在与意义,我是既好奇又焦虑。数量如此之大,让我觉得自己成了大规模生产下的产品。


Even as I was trying to take this information in, I was realizing that one way I could maybe make sense of all of this was through photography, a medium I’ve been interested in from a young age. I could use the camera as an excuse to meet each sibling and maybe the process of making pictures would help me find some sort of stability, even as I also recognized that conflict, discomfort and maybe even a kind of love would be part of the experience.

我正在试图消化这些信息。很快我意识到,或许可以利用我从小就感兴趣的摄影作为媒介来了解发生的这一切。我可以利用相机作为借口,接近他们每一个人。整个过程可能充斥着矛盾、尴尬、甚至是某种意义上的爱,但拍照或许会让我感到一丝安全。


The first people I planned to shoot were Gus and Izzy. My younger sister, Ruby, who was conceived using a different donor, traveled with me to their home outside Boston. Hanging out with Gus felt familiar and alien at the same time. Our time at that school together was a prologue; now we were beginning again, and this time I was learning about him in a different way. There are some things about a person you can’t understand without seeing the place where they grew up. It’s a type of access and point of view that allows you to see someone in a very vulnerable state: This was their given life, messiness and all, not necessarily the life they want to build for themselves.

我打算先拍盖斯和伊兹。我妹妹露比——她的精子捐赠者和我不是同一人——和我一起前往了盖斯和伊兹位于波士顿郊外的家。和盖斯待在一起的感觉既熟悉又陌生。我们曾一起上学,现在算是重新开始,但这次不一样了。要想彻底了解一个人,你就必须了解他成长的地方,在这里,你可以看见他脆弱的时候是什么样子的。这里有他们的原生生活,他们的混乱不堪,他们的一切,但这不一定是他们想要的生活。


I knew I wanted to try to photograph all the siblings in the environments in which they were raised, and I knew I wanted the images to convey a sense of drama even when depicting quotidian scenes. I decided to learn how to use a view camera, which is a large-format, old-fashioned-looking film camera with bellows. It requires a lot of technical fiddling, focusing and refocusing and finding the right angle, which makes taking pictures incredibly, if not painfully, slow — usually at least an hour. For the siblings, I think taking that kind of photograph was strange, but it also allowed them to sit still and concentrate on the picture as much as I was. The camera makes images that are rich and detailed. I wanted something that was going to feel like the opposite of mass production, that would have none of the slickness that I was starting to associate with the sperm bank.

我想在他们成长的环境中为他们拍照,我希望这些照片即使是在描绘日常生活,也能传达出一种戏剧感。于是,我决定学习如何使用大画幅相机。这是一种外形老式的摄像机,配有伸缩皮腔。这种相机使用的时候有大量的技术要求,对焦,再对焦,找到合适的角度,这意味着整个拍照过程出奇得慢,甚至慢到令人痛苦不已——通常要花上一个小时。用这种方式给同父异母的血亲拍照确实有些奇怪,但这样的话,他们就可以像我一样安安静静地坐着,专注于照片。这样拍出来的照片丰富且细致。我希望这些照片不再让我想到大规模生产,不再让我有精子银行带来的恶心感。


It has a clean, simple, commercial message about helping families and ads that present donors as superheroes, their future babies as geniuses. I wanted to produce something that would be exhaustive and overwhelming, that would complicate the industry’s message — that would refute any simple narratives.

精子银行传达的信息简单、明确、并且商业化,那就是帮助各个家庭,同时把精子捐赠者刻画成超级英雄,把他们未来的孩子刻画成天才。我想要做到详尽而又彻底,深刻地影响整个捐精行业,拒绝任何简单肤浅的解读。


In the picture of Gus and Izzy, they are posed in red plastic lawn chairs that look like blown-up versions of toddler’s chairs. I was after this combination of both a formality — in their almost regal posture — and a whimsy or childishness, as if the chairs had grown up with them.

照片里的盖斯和伊兹坐在红色的塑料草坪椅上,这些椅子看上去像是放大版的婴儿椅。我追求的正是这种结合——高高在上的姿态与异想天开的童真,椅子仿佛是和他们一起长大的。


Gus included me in a group chat that about half the siblings use. From there one led me to another and another until I was in contact with all of them. I kept those exchanges brief, because I wanted to feel the potency of our first encounter.

盖斯把我拉进了一个群聊,近一半的血亲都在这个群里。一个接一个,渐渐的我和他们所有人都取得了联系。我尽可能只和他们进行简短的交流,因为我想要保证第一次见面时的冲击感。


I took Gus and Izzy to the next shoot. It was the first time I met a sibling that I hadn’t already known, and I was suddenly more nervous than I expected. When we all got out of the car, my hand began to tremble so much that I dropped my keys. The physiological betrayal rattled me, because I knew I was going to have to do this about 30 more times. As a way of managing my nerves in the early meetings with siblings, I was immediately focused on the work, on figuring out where we would take the picture and what kind of image would be powerful. We would walk together through various rooms in the house, contemplate our options, before finally deciding on the right place.

我带着盖斯和伊兹一起去了下一个血亲的家。这是我第一次见到不认识的血亲,忽然之间,我变得特别紧张,比预想的还要紧张。下车的时候,我手抖得实在是厉害,车钥匙都给弄掉了。生理上的背叛让我惊慌失措,因为我知道自己还得这样经历三十多次。为了控制自己的紧张情绪,我很快把注意力集中在了工作上,想着在哪里拍照更好,什么样的照片更有冲击力。我们会一间间走过每个屋子,仔细考虑,最后决定最合适的地方。


When I met Sadie, a college student in Portland, Ore., she was living in a single room in a small guesthouse, so there was just one place we could take the picture. We spent most of our time talking and listening to “Best of Motown” from a massive speaker she found on Craigslist. She started hunting through things she had bought in thrift stores that we could use in the picture, like the half-moon visible above her head in the photograph. But she also showed me things about her life that we knew were not going to be in the image: her own photos, an album she made of other people’s abandoned shopping lists.

莎蒂是一名生活在俄勒冈州波特兰市的大学生。和她见面的时候,她正住在招待所的一个小单间里,所以拍照地点别无他选。大部分时间,我们都是在聊天,或者用她在Craigslist上买来的大音响听Best of Motown。她开始翻找在旧货店里买的东西,想要用来拍照,像是照片里她头上的那个半月。她还向我展示了一些她生活中的东西,这些东西并不会出现在照片里:她自己的照片,她用别人丢弃的购物清单做成的小册子。


By then, it had become clear to me that 90 percent of the time that I spent with each sibling needed to be unrelated to the photograph itself. It needed to be about our getting to know each other, about my trying to understand the other person’s life. It couldn’t be rushed. The emotional labor of the project was intended to be almost reparative — a response to the transactional nature of the sperm bank and the financial exchange our parents made in order to create us.

那时,我逐渐清楚地意识到,我和每一位血亲相处,百分之九十的时间都不应该与摄影本身有任何的关系,它应该是我们认识彼此、了解彼此人生的时间,千万仓促不得。精子银行的本质是交易,父母为了孕育我们做了金钱上的交易,而我所付出的辛劳算得上是一种情感上的弥补。


So many of these kinds of half sibling relationships that I’ve heard about are hard to sustain because they’re built over text and social media — the geographical separations become too great, which can make it easier for people to distance themselves. You can’t really get to know someone online, this space where we make our lives more consumable for one another. By meeting in person, there was no hiding.

我听说很多这种形式的血缘关系最终都难以维系,因为它们是建立在短信和社交媒体之上的,地理上相隔的太远,使得人们很容易彼此疏离。在网上,生活变成了卖点,你很难去真正了解一个人。只有通过亲自见面,才能够做到开诚布公。


Over 10 months, I traveled to 16 states to meet and shoot the 32 siblings. (One did not participate.) Sometimes I spent an afternoon, sometimes a few days. I decided not to bring an assistant to help with the light or make the process run more smoothly — even if that would have helped produce the best images possible, technically.

十个月里,我去了十六个州,给三十二个同父异母的血亲拍了照。(其中一个人没来。)有的时候会花上一个下午的时间,有的时候是好几天。最后我决定不带任何助理,不要任何人帮忙照明或是帮忙让整个拍照过程更加顺利,即使从技术角度上来讲,有助理的话,拍出来的照片会更好。


Looking through the camera, I had a feeling I couldn’t shake: that these people were all versions of me, just formed in different parts of the country — but were also strangers who might as well have been picked out of a hat. The camera gave me an excuse to study each person — to look deeply at them in a way that without a camera would have been uncomfortable and socially unacceptable.

透过镜头,我的脑海里一直有这样一种感觉,挥之不去:这些人都是不同版本的我,只是出生在同一个国家的不同地方罢了,但同时他们也是随机的陌生人。相机给了我机会去认识每一个人,去深入了解每一个人。没有相机的话,这种认识与了解必将引起不适,为社会所排斥。


Every once in a while, I would see something eerie about myself in one of the other siblings that could completely scramble my sense of self — the way that one’s neck became splotchy when she was uncomfortable or the way another one bit his lip. Once, I heard a sibling laugh, and it was so much my own laugh that it made the hair on my neck stand up.

每隔一段时间,我总能在某位血亲身上看到一些与我自己相似到可怕的特征,比如有的人不舒服的时候脖子上也会长斑,有的人咬嘴唇的方式和我一模一样。有一次,我听见某位血亲笑了,那几乎就是我的笑声,惊得我脖子上汗毛都立起来了。


In December, I made a trip to Honolulu, where I visited Kelsi Ikeda at the home in which she grew up. It was the first place I traveled by plane, and I remember waking up in her house that first morning feeling disoriented. It was hot, I could feel the breeze of a fan, it smelled different, and I was in a bunk bed. It took me a while to realize where I was. And I remember thinking: Why am I here? Whom can I hold accountable for this feeling? The bank? My parents? The donor? Myself? What am I doing exactly? And what am I trying to accomplish?

去年十月的时候我去了檀香山,在池田·凯尔西长大的地方和她见了面。那是我第一次坐飞机旅行。我记得第一天早上醒来的时候,我整个人天旋地转。天很热,电风扇吹来阵阵微风,空气闻着不太一样,我躺在双层床上,花了好长一段时间才弄清楚自己到底在哪里。我还记得当时我的脑子里全是:我为什么在这里?为什么会有这种感觉?精子银行?我的母亲们?精子捐赠者?我自己?我在干什么?我要做些什么?


At times, committing to a project like this has felt masochistic. I’m generally an introverted person, and it was hard to feel as if I constantly had to be on, performing the most appealing version of myself. Though the feeling of performance quickly dissolved, I still had a recurring sensation of being in a confused state of just-waking-up, of trying to find my place in all these different parts of America as well as in this strange social landscape.

有时候,全身心投入到这件事上有点像是在受虐。我经常不得不表现出自己最有趣的一面,因此人们很难察觉我实际上是个内向的人。虽然这种演戏的感觉很快就会消失不见,但我始终反复挣扎于混乱状态之中,有的时候觉得自己刚刚醒来,有的时候试图在美国各地找到自己的归属,有的时候又试图在这个光怪陆离的社会中寻找自己的一席之地。


I spent four days with Kelsi and her family, enough time that by the end I felt a real affection for them all. In her picture, she’s wearing her prom dress from junior year of high school. It feels funny, even tinged with a hint of embarrassment, to try on the clothes of our past selves. But it helped us get acquainted.

我和凯尔西以及她的家人在一起呆了四天,最后我和他们所有人都产生了感情。照片里,凯尔西穿着高三毕业时的舞会礼服。穿着自己过去的衣服很有趣,也有点尴尬,但是这让我们很快就熟了起来。


During the time I spent with my half siblings, we exchanged secrets. People get very confessional around a stranger who has no stake in their life on a day-to-day basis. We had a connection, which meant they could trust me, but I wasn’t a potential future friend they needed to impress. I was something else — some third thing.

和这些同父异母的血亲相处时,我们会彼此交换秘密。人们会对一个与自己日常生活毫无关联的人开诚布公。我们是有关联的,这意味着他们可以信任我,但同时在未来,我又不太可能会和他们成为朋友,他们不需要讨好我。我是另一种存在——我是第三种存在。


The following month, I met Daniel Claypoole, who could be described as the great connector: He seeks siblings out and sort of holds the group together. He’s social and extroverted and rallies people around the idea of this being a group.

接下来的一个月,我拜访了丹尼尔·克莱普尔,他可以说是一位很棒的中间人。他会主动寻找联络各位血亲,让大家保持联系。他擅长社交,性格外向,到处传递“我们是一个群体”的概念,把大家聚到一起。


He lives in Savannah, Ga., where he had been going to art school, but I met him in Albuquerque. His two younger brothers, Zeke, 14, and Grayson, 4, who both share our donor, live there. His sister, who is 9, and who does not share our donor, was there, too, and she was trying to explain to Grayson who I was. I don’t know if he understood.

丹尼尔生活在乔治亚州萨凡纳市,读的是艺术学校,但我是在阿尔伯克基和他见面的。他有两个弟弟,14岁的齐克和4岁的格雷森,都住在阿尔伯克基,他们也是我同父异母的弟弟。丹尼尔9岁的妹妹也生活在那里,但是她的精子捐赠者和我们不是同一人。丹尼尔的妹妹试图向格雷森说明我是谁,我不确定格雷森听懂了没。


I knew I wanted to make Grayson’s picture on that beanbag chair in their living room. You can’t see it in the image, but the entire wall is covered in a pattern of crosses. I set up one continuous light and instructed Grayson, a typical frenetic little kid, to stay still. Amazingly, he did. Many people find the hot light uncomfortable, but he seemed warmed by it. When we left, he cried, and I felt a pang of guilt. I’m sure he was crying over Daniel, but I also wondered what he made of the word “brother,” which was thrown around when we were introduced, because I knew I would most likely not see him again for a very long time, if ever.

我想把格雷森的照片放在客厅的豆袋椅上。照片里你可能看不出来,但是整面墙实际上是十字花纹的。我在旁边挂了一排小灯,要求格雷森——典型的疯小孩——保持不动。神奇的是,他做到了。很多人都会觉得灯很热,不舒服,格雷森似乎觉得很温暖。我们走的时候,格雷森哭了,我感到一阵内疚。我知道他是在因为丹尼尔才哭的,但我很好奇,在介绍我们是谁的时候,他到底是如何理解“兄弟”这个词的。我知道,可能很长一段时间里,我们都不会再见面,或者说,我们可能再也不会见面了。


Daniel and I drove to Clovis, N.M., to visit the house he grew up in with his grandmother, grandfather and great-grandmother. I wanted to incorporate biographical details in the photograph, like the painting hanging on the wall of his great-great-grandfather, a man with piercing eyes who, he had been told, was the chief firefighter in Clovis. On the bottom left of the photo you can see a dictionary in which his great-grandmother stores the family photos — the wedding and baby pictures are loosely tucked into random pages.

丹尼尔和我开车去了新墨西哥州克洛维斯市,他是在那里长大的,那里还生活着她的祖父母以及曾祖母。我想在照片里加入些传记细节,比如说墙上挂着的他的曾曾祖父的画像。据丹尼尔所知,曾曾祖父有着锐利的双眼,曾是克洛维斯市的消防队长。在照片的左下角你会看见一本字典,里面有丹尼尔曾祖母放着的全家福,结婚照和婴儿照随意地夹在字典里。


Even though Daniel has been in touch with other siblings for many years, I was the first sibling from outside the family that his grandparents had ever met. We felt very close by the end of the visit. I felt so grateful for the way that his grandparents welcomed me, just as so many other families had, giving me a place to sleep, a seat at family dinner. It’s strange to think that I have been in all of their homes, but none of them have ever been in mine or met my parents.

虽然丹尼尔已经和其他血亲们联系多年,但是我却是他的祖父母见过的第一个来自家族以外的兄弟。最后,我们几乎亲密无间。他的祖父母非常欢迎我,对此我也深表感谢。许多其他家庭也是如此,让我睡在家里,邀请我一起用餐。奇怪的是,我去过每个人的家,却没有人来过我家,见过我的母亲们。


I’m always hesitant to call anybody a brother or sister. But many of the other siblings use that language very loosely. I don’t, probably because I already have a sister, and she will always be most important to me.

对于开口叫哥哥、弟弟、姐姐或者是妹妹,我还是很犹豫。他们当中很多人在这方面是很随意的。我不能,或许是因为我已经有妹妹了,她在我心中永远是最重要的。


But I have been struck by the closeness that comes from the intensity of the time that we spent together or, who knows, maybe something more than that. I spent about 12 hours with one of the siblings, Neylan Griffy. She drove me from Denver almost all the way to Kansas to show me where she is from. It was pitch dark, and we talked the whole time. When I was leaving Colorado, and we were saying goodbye, she said, almost with trepidation: “I don’t know if it’s too early to say this, but I heart you.”

我常常震惊于我们之间的亲密感。这种亲密感或许是因为我们曾很长时间待在一起,或许是因为其他更深层次的原因,谁知道呢。我曾和妮兰·格里菲待了大约十二个小时。她开车载着我从丹佛一路到了她的家乡堪萨斯。当时天都黑了,我们一直在聊天。我和她道别,准备离开科罗拉多州的时候,她几乎是小心翼翼地说道:“我不知道这么说是不是太早了,但是我真心很喜欢你。”


She didn’t want to push me or expect anything; she was just expressing her feelings. She was one of the first siblings to connect with others, so she may be more comfortable with that. I laughed and said, “I heart you, too.”

她并不是在逼迫或者期待我回应什么,她只是在表达自己的情感。她是最先主动与其他人联系的血亲之一,所以或许对她来说这么做并不是什么尴尬的事。我笑了笑,回应道:“我也真心喜欢你。”


One of the last siblings I photographed was Dawson Johnson. One of the others found him on 23andMe in January and connected me with him. He’d never communicated with a sibling before me. I took Gus on my trip to visit him, and the three of us met at an IHOP. He pulled up in a massive black truck with oversize wheels. He’s muscular, a taekwondo instructor who was a serious high school wrestler. I wanted to portray that side of him in the picture but also to capture something about his manner, which was gentle. In the photograph we made, I placed him shirtless and beneath the truck, in this vulnerable state.

道森·约翰逊是最后拍照的几个血亲之一。一月的时候,某位血亲在23andMe找到了道森,并且联系了我。在此之前,他从未与任何血亲联系过。盖斯和我一起和道森在IHOP见了面。他开着一辆轮子超大的黑色大卡车,把车停在了路边。道森肌肉发达,是一名跆拳道教练,高中的时候曾是摔跤选手。我想在照片上展现他力量的一面,同时也想展现他绅士的一面。照片里,他赤裸着上身,躺在卡车前,这正是一种脆弱的状态。


At some point, in each sibling encounter, we would inevitably end up talking about the donor. He represented this absence we all had in common, almost a spectral figure hovering above our lives. Some siblings, once they turned 18, had written to the donor and received long letters back. A different sibling told me that although he wasn’t interested in actually contacting the donor, he wished he had the ability to be invisible, to watch over him for one day as he went about his life, a sort of inversion of the dynamic.

有的时候,在和每位血亲聊天的过程中,我们不可避免地会聊起大家共同的精子捐赠者。他缺席我们每个人的生命,却又似幽灵般盘旋于我们每个人生活的上空。有的血亲十八岁后有写信给他,也收到了长长的回信。另一个血亲告诉我,虽然他对和捐赠者取得联系没有什么兴趣,但是他确实希望自己能够有隐形的能力,这样就可以看看“亲生父亲”的一天都是怎么度过的。这算得上是一种单方面的互动吧。


At one point, Izzy got her hands on an audio interview of the donor that the bank made and that another sibling’s mother had. (You can get more information about the donor from the bank — more extensive questionnaire forms or an audio recording — if you pay extra for it.) She, Gus, Kyle Luzzi-Dundon (another sibling) and I listened to the recording one night, huddled in a circle in a sort of séance.

有一次,伊兹拿到了精子银行录的捐赠者和其中某位母亲的采访录音。(只要你愿意多花钱,你是可以从精子银行那获得更多信息的,像是更全面的问卷表或者是录音。)伊兹、盖斯、凯尔·卢奇·邓登(另一名血亲)和我四个人围成一圈一起听了这段录音,像是某种降神会一样。


The bank asks the donor at the end of the audio interview whether he has anything he would like to tell any children conceived with his sperm. Our donor’s response: “I wish them all the luck.” One sibling scribbled that on his bedroom wall during high school in colorful chalk as if it were an inspirational quote. I heard it more as an irreverent provocation: My job here is done. May the odds be ever in your favor.

采访结束的时候,精子银行问捐赠者有没有什么话想说给“他的孩子”听。捐赠者回答:“祝他们好运吧。”某位血亲读高中的时候,用彩色粉笔把这句话写在了卧室墙上,仿佛这是什么鼓舞人心的座右铭一样。在我听来,这更多像是一种无礼的挑衅。我的任务已经结束了,至于你们,就听天由命吧。


Trying to understand what the donor means to me has been complicated. I never planned on trying to contact him, but I ultimately did to let him know about this project. He declined to be a part of it at this stage. To me, it is more interesting for him to remain the missing and invisible figure he has always been. I don’t think he had any idea, at the time he donated his sperm, that he was creating a kind of time capsule that could potentially explode.

试图去理解捐赠者于我的意义,这是一个复杂的过程。我从未想过联系他,但最后我还是让他知道了我做的这些事。他不愿意参与到其中。对我来说,自始至终维持着他从未出现的形象,反倒更好。我认为他在选择捐精的时候,并没有意识到自己在做什么,这个因他而生的时间胶囊随时都有可能爆炸。


For me, there is a strange pleasure in being able to collapse space and time by putting all these people from all these different locations next to one another. For the viewer, there might be intrigue in searching for the similarities and differences among each of us or even just knowing that we are all connected on this deeper, genetic level.

对我来说,折叠时空,将这些来自不同地方的人放在一起,有一种奇特的乐趣。对于观众来说,他们会试着寻找我们每个人的相似处和不同处,或者仅仅是知道我们所有人在基因层面上彼此相联,都十分有趣。


These pictures also capture a transitional stage in most of our lives — we are at the close of adolescence, on the brink of becoming our adult selves. The basketball hoop has fallen in the front yard; the prom dress has been tucked away in the back of the closet; the bicycle with training wheels will soon be thrown out or given away.

这些照片同时也捕捉了我们生命的转折点——我们将告别青春期迈入成人世界:前院掉落的篮球框,衣柜里被遗忘的舞会礼服,很快会被扔掉或者转手送人的装有辅轮的自行车。


The project has no determined end, because other siblings may emerge in the next weeks, months and years. Once, two siblings who hadn’t met yet but who’d seen photos of each other discovered that they were in an airport at the same time. This incident seemed to confirm our paranoia that we might be walking by siblings all the time without knowing it: in the streets, on the subway, at our liberal-arts colleges.

这件事永无尽头,下周、下个月或者是下一年,都有可能会有血亲出现。有一次,两位只见过对方照片的血亲在同一个机场认出了彼此。这件事或许证实了我们的妄想:在路上,在地铁里,在文理学院里,走在我们身边的人很可能就是我们同父异母的血亲,只是我们不知道罢了。


Since finishing the project, or at least this phase of it, I sometimes feel this haze state fall over me, in which other people start to look like me. One day recently, on the subway, a young man about my age sat down across from me. Medium build, dark auburn hair, full lips, one of the most consistent features in all the siblings. I looked at his hands — they were knuckly and slender. They looked so much like mine. I continued to stare and found myself on the brink of asking him an uncomfortable question. But I didn’t, and instead I thought about what it means to be able to see yourself in strangers — if, in the course of this project, my capacity for empathy has grown, has opened me up, or if the whole thing has been secretly rooted in self-interest, a fixation with understanding who I am.

我所做的这件事现在至少是告一段落了,有时候我会有一种恍惚的感觉,觉得其他人开始看起来像我。最近某天,在地铁里,一位和我年纪相仿的年轻男子坐在了我对面。中等身材,深褐色头发,他还有所有血亲都有的一个特征,那就是厚嘴唇。我看了看他的双手,骨节分明,细长消瘦,和我的手很像。我一直盯着他看,几乎忍不住要问他不愉快的问题了。但最后我还是没有问。我开始思考,在陌生人身上看见自己到底意味着什么?见了这么多人,拍了这么多照片,我是不是有变得更加共情、更加坦率?还是说整件事只是为了我自己罢了,只是我执迷于想要弄清楚自己到底是谁?


The photographs have been developed, selected, printed; I stare at them now, see them side by side, I think about the work that made them — and still I’m not sure.

这些照片现在已经冲洗、挑选、打印出来了,一张张并排放着。我正看着这些照片,想着我做的这一切——我始终不确定答案到底是什么。


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  • 本文原载于 The New York Times

  • 原文链接

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/06/26/magazine/sperm-donor-siblings.html

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