Lukas Steiner

The Waves - Jinny

Jinny, The Waves by Virginia Woolf


In 1984 I was on family vacation in this small town in England. It had nothing really special but the garden stage in the park. The people used it for everything, and on that Friday evening, for a play by the local church. They played David and Goliath. But I am already getting ahead. The story started already in the early afternoon when I saw the most beautiful girl, sitting on the stairs, leaning on the pillar and reading a book. My father had to call after me to keep up, since I could not tear my eyes of her. In the evening I hoped to see her at the play, so I could get to know her. But to my disappointment she wasn’t among the spectators. I later saw her, to my delight, on the stage in the band that played. After the play I told my family I would stick around in the park and then meet them later on. I went to search for her, hoping she would stick around so I would get a chance to meet her. It took me so long and I nearly lost hope. But then I saw her again, reading beneath the elm tree in the centre of the park.  I think that was the hardest moment in my life, gathering all my courage to walk up to her and interrupting her reading. She told me that her name was Jinny but was rather repellent to my advances, because she wanted to continue reading. Before sending me away, she told me that she would be here again tomorrow, if I wanted to join her. She then went back to reading and ignoring me. So after a couple of moments I withdrew and told her I’d be back in the morning.

On that Saturday morning I made sure to be up 1 hour before sunrise, took a shower and went to the elm tree. To my frustration she was not there yet. So I sat down, leaning on the elm tree and facing the now closed garden stage. It had a blackish not completely opaque metal curtain in front of some shiny secondary one. While I was waiting for her arrival I had the pleasure to see the opening, while the sun rose to my right, illuminating the stage. At 7 o ‘clock this first layer was lifted and the golden curtain reflected the sunlight and radiated like a star, a magical moment, but still no Jinny.

The gentle breeze of the morning wind made the curtain ripple like the see. And it made me aware that it was not 1 but 2 curtains where I could enter the stage in between, which I promptly did, hoping she would be there.

She wasn’t there either, but I had that space in between the central square and the round golden curtain for myself. I walked around that square in hope to see her sitting again against one of the 4 pillars, but I had no luck either. At around 8 o ‘clock the golden curtain was lifted as well as 3 of the 4 black ones in the middle, preparing the stage for a presentation. I helped with placing the chairs since I had nothing better to do, still hoping she would arrive at any moment.

Very disappointed I went back to my family for lunch, but always having her on my mind. In the evening there was a movie shown in the middle square, using one curtain as screen and the other 3 to close out the room as in a real cinema. You could enter by the 4 corners.

After the movie “The Muppets Take Manhattan” I went back to the elm tree, waiting in vain for her arrival.  The wind grew stronger and it started to rain. I moved from under the tree to seek shelter under the stage roof, only to realize that it actually had no roof. While I got wet and wetter, I came to terms that she would not come back and decided to go back. Soaking wet I walked towards home, flanking the elm tree.

And there she was, standing in the rain, smiling and then turning around and walking away towards the town, so I followed her till I caught up. Silently as the tempest grew stronger and stronger we walked back into town.