Issue 76, Fall 1979
I asked at reception for Mrs. Hamer. It always gave me pleasure to use her married name, not the name she was known by. She once told me some of the names she had used in her life to keep her life secret, and I forgot them. To refer to her as Mrs. Hamer, which was a private name, and not Jean Rhys, meant, I suppose, I was a part other private world, the world she wanted to remain forever her world. I wondered why I should want to be a part of it. The receptionist, an old woman with lank hair, looked at the register. Behind her was a mirror and, on either side of the mirror, were white glass shells with lights inside. She said, “I don’t think we have a Mrs. Hamer.” I said, “Jean Rhys.” “Yes,” she said, “she’s waiting in the pink lounge.”
I was carrying a bottle of wine. The carpet of the pink lounge was patterned with large soft pink roses on a grey background. The wallpaper was pink. The floor lamps, lit, had great dark pink shades. Jean was sitting at the corner of a red sofa, under a lamp; she wore a wide-brimmed pink hat.