‘Peirene, we need to go!’ I call. I’m standing at the bottom of the stairs, ready to leave. It’s Sunday and it’s the first outing of our Roaming Store after a long winter break. We are kick-starting our summer book selling season with a stall at
Alexander Palace Farmer’s market. Moreover, Peirene and I will train Jack, one of our three new booksellers today.
‘I’m coming, just a minute.’
The minute passes, another minute passes. No Peirene. I’m starting to lose my patience. ‘Peireeeene!’ I shout. ‘Hurry!’
The Nymph appears at the top of the stairs, wearing nothing but her knickers and bra. ‘I just don’t know what to wear.’ Her voice is shaking.
I can’t believe my eyes. Half an hour ago she was dressed in jeans, T-Shirt, jumper, flat shoes – the perfect outfit for a long day at the stall. What’s got into her?
I rush up the stairs. The content of her entire wardrobe is spread out onto the bed. ‘It’s such a beautiful day out there. Jeans and T-Shirt are all you need today,’ I say.
‘That’s precisely my issue.’ She points out of the window to the cloudless blue sky. ‘It’s going to be 28 degrees today. A heatwave in early May. This weather has taken me by total surprise. I want to wear a nice summer dress, not my old jeans. But I don’t know which one. Somehow nothing from last year looks right any longer.’ She bends over the pile, lifts up one dress after the other, looks at it briefly, then sends it flying over her shoulder onto to floor. ‘Too boring… too short…too long… too see-through.’ Eventually she throws herself belly down on to the bed. ‘I can’t do this. I’m not doing the stall today. I can’t possibly appear on German TV in jeans. I need to look at least as good as my books.’
Ah! That’s what the drama is all about. I suddenly understand. ‘It’s not German TV who are making the feature about us, it’s German radio,’ I say coolly. I hate to shatter her dreams about TV stardom, but we really need to get going.
She sits up, wiping away her tears. ‘Are you making this up just to get me out of the house? ’ I shake my head.
As we are heading out of the front door – the Nymph back in jeans and T-Shirt – she turns to me: ‘I was wondering… since it’s not often that Ancient Green Nymphs are heard on the radio, do you mind, if I talk and you keep quiet in the background?’
And so a radio star is born. You can listen to her on Deutschlandradio Kultur in June.
By Meike Ziervogel
Image by David Quigley, 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 9 May 2016.