Revenge of the Girl With a Red Hat
One summer when I was in grad school, I temped in a bank. The work was repetitive--mostly typing addresses into contracts--but I didn't mind it. I had a little cubicle, and I tried to make it mine by pinning up a few postcards that had meaning to me. One day I pinned up Vermeer's Girl With a Red Hat, and one of my coworkers--probably my favorite among them all, come to think of it--looked at it, then at me, and said, "April, you are weird."
That day, I vowed that someday I would find a job where I could pin up my postcard and my coworkers would get Vermeer's girl--would understand why I'd want to look at her day in and day out...a place where neither she nor I would seem particularly weird.
In the many years since, I have carried that same postcard around with me. She's hanging on my wall at work now, right next to The Black Madonna of Montserrat. It took a long time, but I finally found a place where she, and I, can be welcome as we are.
But why didn't I notice, until today, how shrewd her expression is? How she seems to be looking me over, and arriving at the conclusion that I'm--quite possibly--weird? The name of my judgmental coworker escapes me now, but her spirit lives on in Vermeer's girl, getting the last laugh after all.