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Sie sind hier: Home » Girl Friday – the Book of Bad » Girl Friday – the Book of Bad 24. Renoir Through The Mirror

Gabbi WernerGirl Friday – the Book of Bad 24. Renoir Through The Mirror

Von | 24.01.2014, 9:01 | Kein Kommentar

How to make sense of Frankfurt? Gone to the museum, looked into a mirror, got the picture. It makes you wonder.

Welcome. To the stories I told in many hotelrooms. To a man who had trouble falling asleep. A business deal. He paid for my words.
Here they are.


I decided I would go to the museum. Someone had told me it had one of the Vermeers, so I gathered, this would be time well spent.

The Vermeer was simply beautiful: The Geographer. A young man is leaning over his desk, looking out of the window. He is measuring a map. He looked so inquisitive, optimistic, it made me feel slightly better. I dwelled through the rooms. Ruysdael, Rembrandt, the 17th century.
Manet, Munch, Courbet, the 19th. When I made my way to the 20st century room I passed a mirror. I had not looked into the mirror that morning and thought I might still have my make-up on from the day before, leaving stains all over my face. It  often happens, I forget to check how I look in the morning, realising some time late in the afternoon that I still wear yesterday´s make up, smeared all over me. I had a smudge of black under my left eye and wiped it away with my fingers and some spit.
My eye got caught by a disturbing painting hanging on the opposite wall: two women, one dressed in black, the other in white, and a man who was lighting a cigarette, sitting at a table in bright sunlight, surrounded by flowers. The woman´s white dress was covered with blood stenches. In her hand she held intestines. Both the women and the man were smiling most euphorically. I turned around to look at the picture. It was a Renoir,  but there was no blood, no innards. The woman in the white dress held a small vial of sorts. I looked at the mirror again. I could make out the red stains in the reflection. I walked to the painting and looked at the mirror from that angle. Again, red stains on the dress. I tried to find out if there was some light in the ceiling which could cause this aberration. Nothing. I paced through the room to see if the other paintings had a similar effect in the mirror, but I could not detect anything. A group of students entered the room, and I rushed out, I did not want them to see me behaving oddly.
I took a taxi to the hotel, it was early, not even three o clock. I started to panic. What if R. would not want to see me tonight either? I had no credit card, I would not be able to book myself an earlier flight back home, I had hardly any cash with me, the magnetic strip of my bankcard did not work. I wouldn’t be able to take a train. I would be a hostage in this hotelroom for two more nights. I dared not go back on the street. I had no idea how it could have happened that I saw the blood on this woman´s dress. It had looked so real. And it had not disappeared after I saw the real picture. The mirror had kept showing the same image to me.
I set the alarm at 7 p.m., R. would not call earlier. I went into the bathroom to have another bath. I kept adding hot water and bath foam, kept refreshing the water, as if I wanted to rinse the reverberation of that distorted image out of my skin.
When I finally encouraged myself to get out of the bathtub, I saw the message from R. 9 o clock. It was six. Three more hours. I could do that. I had to. I lay down and slept a littleThen I hurried to his room.
He had bought me a present. An ipod. „You like it? I have already put some songs on. You like music so much, I think this is good for you.“
I loved it. I had always enjoyed my Walkman. You hear a song whilst walking, it feels as if you are in your own videoclip. Every street you pass, the people you see, you decide the close ups or the wide angles, the pace, and no one knows they are being filmed by your eyes.
R. explained the ipod, how you could shuffle songs, or choose just one artist, or a genre. How you could scroll through it. He showed the songs he had already put on: the Beatles, the Police, lots more Eighties stuff, and one song by Duncan Browne: „The Wild Places„. 
I thanked him. It truly was a superb gift. The white sleek design, and the music too. He looked genuinely happy when I held the ipod. Sitting there with him, I finally started to feel safe.
I asked him how he was doing, if everything was all right, why he hadn’t called for me yesterday.
„Why, did you miss me?“
He got up, and went to his suitcase. He started rummaging through the paperwork.
„Where are my glasses, here.“
He did not put his glasses on but went to the bathroom instead, locked the door and let the tap run. He unlocked the door.
„Do you think I am a selfish man? I mean, do I strike you as selfish? I always thought that being a bit egotistic is the root of all happiness but I wonder.“ 
He looked at me for some kind of validation.
„Lately there seems to be this kind of ambivalence in me….. Do you know what that word means, ambivalence?“
„Oh, but I know many words.“
„Yes, you do. That is what you are here for, to give me your words. And put them in a nice order, so that they make sense. I never seem to make sense as soon as I leave my work. The negotiations and the numbers, I can trust them. My thoughts, I don´t want to have to worry about.“
He laughed shortly. „Do you have any favourites, you know, number one words?“

To be Continued. Next Friday. Every Friday. From 09.00h.

Link to German Translation: click  Girl Friday – Buch des Bösen 24. Renoir im Spiegel

Artwork: Gabbi Werner

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