Monday, September 23, 2013

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.

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