I wasn't listening, though. I was thinking about something else--something crazy. "You know what I'd like to be?" I said. "You know what I'd like to be? I mean if I had my goddam choice?"
"What? Stop swearing."
"You know that song 'If a body catch a body comin' through the rye'? I'd like--"
"It's 'If a body meet a body coming through the rye'!" old Phoebe said. "It's a poem. By Robert Burns."
"I know it's a poem by Robert Burns."
She was right, though. It is "If a body meet a body coming through the rye." I didn't know it then, though.
"I thought it was 'If a body catch a body,'" I said. "Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around--nobody big, I mean--except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff--I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy."
Χόλντεν παλιόφιλε, δεν ξέρω για σένα, εγώ πάντως το βρήκα το Γκράαλ της μετεφηβικής μου ζωής. Τώρα είμαι στο σικαλοχώραφο, αλλά δεν είμαι φύλακας. Φύλακας δεν υπάρχει πουθενά, κι εγώ πηγαίνω γραμμή στον τρελογκρεμό.