One of her girls.
There is a statue on Cannery Row in Monterey. The two female figures represent “Madam” Flora Woods, who made everybody happy and was known for her generosity, and one of her girls.
Without explanation or apology. Flora ran a brothel, and made everybody happy, and was generous. And here is one of her girls, who worked in the brothel and made her living — accepted money — in exchange for sex or intimacy or time with men.
I think this is the most kind presentation of this work I have ever seen, and it pleases me.
And this also pleases me:
The girl sits alone, relaxed, smiling, looking up to the sky and across the bay.
Steinbeck, at the top, looks down on everyone. The other figures are entrepreneurs, a marine biologist, and Chinese fisherman. They look down, engaged in conversation with each other, or drawn to the creature in hand, or looking towards the passersby.
Only the girl looks up. She is unburdened. She has her own world. She looks beyond you. She is at peace in herself and the world. She is free, independent, happy.
Of all the figures depicted, she is my favorite.
I fall in love with her, which is to say, I fall in love with a part of myself.