‘Well’ I said. ‘Where shall we go now? Let’s go and have supper somewhere.’
Anna said, ‘No, let’s go back to your house.’
I replied, ‘Very well. All right.’
Anna always wanted to go back to my house, she never wanted to go out with me. I figured it was because she wanted to earn a little extra cash instead of me spending my money somewhere else.
I brought her to a small room on the ground floor, there was whisky if she was thirsty and a bit of sandwiches if she was hungry. Anna didn’t look to happy in this room, she kept staring around and glancing back at me, I couldn’t help myself, every time she looked at me I had a little smirk.
Anna said, ‘Germaine is awfully pretty.’
‘She’s old.’ I replied.
‘I bet she isn’t; I bet she isn’t any older than Vincent.’
‘Well, that is old for a woman. Besides, she’ll be blowsy in another year; she’s that type.’
Poor Anna, she doesn’t realize that soon, she’s going to be too old to continue doing what she is doing, guys are just going to lose interest and she won’t be able to do anything about it.
‘Anyways, she was funny about English people,’ she said. ‘I like what she said, rather.’
‘I was disappointed in Germaine,’ I said. ‘I didn’t think she could have been such a damned bore. She was simply kicking up a row because Vincent couldn’t give her all the money she asked for, and as a matter of fact he’s given her far more than he can afford – far more than anybody else would have given her. She thought she had her claws well into him. It’s a very good things he’s going away.’
These girls nowadays just ask for too much money, it’s not like what it used to be, where whatever the guy gives, the girl accepts. And if Anna thinks she’s getting a penny more than what I want to give her, she’s dumber than I think she is. She’s getting what I give her and there’s no negotiating, there’s no “please more money”, my word is final and that’s it that’s all.
‘Oh, he’s given her far more than he can afford?’ she asked.
I said, ‘By the way, why did you tell Vincent about Southsea? You shouldn’t give yourself away like that.’
‘But I didn’t.’
‘But my dear, you must have. Otherwise, how could he have known?’
‘Well I didn’t think it mattered. He asked me.’
She really shouldn’t give out information like that, luckily it was with somebody I know. I swear she’s like a little child, she doesn’t know when to say no to a question, she doesn’t know when to lie. I don’t get why she had to lie to me, she could lie to me but she couldn’t lie to Vincent. The fact that she told Vincent wasn’t as disappointing compared to the fact that she lied to me.
‘My God, do you consider yourself bound to answer every question anybody asks you? That’s a tall order.’ I said.
‘I don’t like this room much,’ she said. ‘I rather hate it. Let’s go upstairs.’
If she wants to act young and foolish, so can I. ‘Let’s go upstairs, let’s go upstairs. You really shock me sometimes, Miss Morgan.’ I swear, sometimes I wonder if it’s only me who has to go through stuff like this.
She was silent, it looked like she had something on her mind, and she looked a bit frightened. I didn’t want to ask her anything because I didn’t really care for her response anyways, I got what I wanted, now all I have to do is pay her and she’ll be gone.
As she was getting up she said, ‘You don’t know how miserable I am about your hand.’
‘Oh that! It doesn’t matter.’
The clock was ticking as the room grew silent, tic… tic… tic. It was annoying me, looked like she heard it too.
She sobbed to me, ‘Listen don’t forget me, and don’t forget me ever.
I replied, ‘No, I won’t ever, I tell you”
How could I forget her, she costed me a pretty penny. She is so naïve thinking what we have might last forever. Oh what I would give to be young and naive again just like her.
I lifted her bag off the table, I put the amount of money she deserved. I saw her looking at me from the corner of my eye. But every time I glanced back, she looked away.
I said, ‘I don’t know whether we can meet again before I leave London, because I’m going to be most awfully busy. Anyhow, I’ll write to you tomorrow. About money. I want you to go away for a change somewhere. Where would you like to go?’
I had to let her down easy, I don’t want to see her before I leave to London, I’m finished with her now, I had my fun.
‘I don’t know, I’ll go somewhere.’
I turned around and asked, ‘Hello, is anything wrong? Don’t you feel well?’
She took a long pause.
She said, ‘I’m all right. Goodbye for now. Don’t bother to come with me.’
‘Of course I’m coming with you,’ I said.
I escorted her down the stairs and opened the door for her, the least I could do for the last time seeing her. I stopped a cab for her.
Then I said, ‘Come back here for one minute. Are you sure you’re all right.’
I knew she wasn’t okay but if she doesn’t want to tell me, how am I supposed to know what she’s thinking. I can’ read her mind.
‘Well, good-bye, I said, I coughed. ‘Take care of yourself’
‘Bless you,’ I said and coughed again.
‘Oh yes. Oh rather’, she said.
She put her head against the window in the taxi, I stared at it for as long I could’ve seen it. I had a good time with her, as much as she’s a little too childish to have a conversation with. She makes me happy in other ways. A small part of me is going to miss teaching her little things about life, but another part is so relieved that I won’t every have to see her again.
The scene I selected is where Walter and Anna go back to Walter’s house and they sleep together. I decided to recreate this scene through Walter’s perspective. The scene takes place between the pages of 75-77. The reason I chose this scene was because it was one of the scenes in the novel that really stood out for me. The reader gets to see both Anna being naïve and how much of an asshole Walter can be, whether it being commenting on the age of women or making comments on how girls shouldn’t have the right to get paid more if the man doesn’t agree. Although at times he acted father figure with Anna, it was evident that he did not really care for her. Anna’s poor choice of men is a continuous theme in this novel, Walter proves this theme and this scene in particular reinforces it. I picked up the fact that Walter is an arrogant piece of shit that doesn’t care for Anna. When Walter made a comment about how Vincent didn’t have enough to pay Germaine, he was actually talking about him and Anna, on age 75. Another example was when Anna stated; “I knew that he felt very strange with me and that he hated me, and it was funny sitting there and talking like that, knowing he hated me.” (83) showing her bad judgment in men.
It was not quite easy to assume what Walter was thinking. Although I had a good idea, there was always that doubt that what I was putting down wasn’t what Jean Rhys intended the readers to interpret. The bad choice of men was obvious but putting it in affect was harder than expected. I feel like I did a decent job capturing the spirit of the novel. I captured the terribleness of the men in Anna’s life as well as Anna being young and naïve. I led more towards the bad selection of men being in this scene because to me it was more evident. Despite the fact that it was a creative project and I know I had a lot of freedom when recreating the scene, I decided to keep the dialogue the exact same because I felt that it would be better to show the bad selection of men to keep the same point that Jean Rhys had. The other idea I had was to rewrite the dialogue to demonstrate to the readers what Walter really wanted to say. However, I stuck with the same dialogue by reason of being scared to have changed the story excessively.
One thing I couldn’t mention in the creative project was that Anna was looking out the window watching the men water the streets because it happened when Anna was by herself. Anna states that the streets smelled like animals just bathed, comparing London to the West Indies. Anna doesn’t like it in London; London is a dark, negative, alien city compared to her home country in the West Indies.