Peirene puts on her dark shades and retrieves a big sunhat from underneath her desk.
‘Where are you’re going?’ The rain is pelting down on the sky-lights of our new office, so I’m curious to know what the Nymph is up to.
‘Nowhere special.’ She pulls the hat over the left side of her face and heads towards the door. ‘Just to the loo,’ she then adds and disappears. A few minutes later she’s back. Still in shades and hat. Although I notice that now the sunhat covers the right side of her face.
‘This is very peculiar behaviour,’ I can’t help commenting.
‘I’m trying my best,’ the Nymph mumbles in reply.
‘What? To pretend that it is sunny outside?’
‘No.’ Peirene rolls her eyes .‘I’m trying to pretend that that poster,’ she points with her head to the wall just outside our office, ‘isn’t hanging there. And since I can’t avert my eyes, I have to shade them from its sight as much as possible.’
I’m shocked. That poster is of me! It’s a stunning 1m x 2.20m banner that hung from the ceiling in the entrance hall of the literary festival in Bangladesh in 2015 announcing my appearance on stage. Afterwards the organisers gave me the banner as a souvenir. And ever since then I have been dying to hang it up somewhere. I might never be such a celebrated star ever again. And so, I might as well be proud of that moment. And now with the new office I finally have found the perfect wall for it.
‘You are just jealous,’ I shrug my shoulders as if her comment didn’t affect me and turn back to the computer.
‘Me and jealous,’ she sighs. ‘You misjudge me. Did I tear your poster down? Rip it up? Burn it to ashes? No! Instead I accept things as they are’ She shuts her lips, breathes deeply and returns to her desk.
After a while I ask: ‘So you think that having the poster there right next to our office door is a bit embarrassing?’ I have to admit this had crossed my mind. Peirene nods her head.
The next morning I have decided to take the poster down. In its place I hang a poster of Fra Angelico’s Annunciation.
I feel Peirene’s hand resting with approval on my shoulder. ‘I like the Archangel Gabriel hovering by our door. Perhaps he is waiting to come in and read the first book in our 2017 “East and West” series?’
With the help of an ancient Greek nymph and now an archangel too, we should have an excellent year.
By Meike Ziervogel
Image by isterik 32, creative commons.
This blog was originally published as part of Peirene Press‘s series Things Syntactical. The Pain and Passion of a Small Publisher on 30 January 2017.