Freshman Again

I literally lost my breath today.  I went to a Scottish Dancing class for the first time and the instructor taught me more about the balls of my feet than I had ever learned – or cared to notice – before.  At one point, while I was furiously trying to keep apace with the dancers, I slipped and fell like a bar of soap down to the floor (catching myself with my right arm, barely – just barely).  The girls I was with did not hesitate to laugh out loud – affectionately, I would care to hope.  I pilfered one of my typical “Kenny faces” (my classic “no biggie” shrug I’m sure many of you are familiar with) as I desperately tried to play off the situation.  No luck – they just kept laughing and laughing… and soon I began to laugh too.

It’s been like that, except on repeat every day, now for the past two-and-a-half  weeks.  Edinburgh is built like a fantasy lover’s board game – Gothic steeples gracing the skyline as endless smoke-sieved bay windows look out upon the playfully winding roads, the grand Edinburgh Castle, one thousand years of elder glory, overlooking it all like a sentinel in the night.

I’ve written pretty extensively about the “freshman feeling,” but that was all in relatively theoretical terms, freshman year distant enough such that I could view the first-year experience in tired, jaded, old junior eyes.  But no such distance separates me now from the viscerality of what it means to be unloading that minivan, moving into your dorm, kissing your mother goodbye once again.

Or what it means to fumble your keys on the first day you move in, locking yourself out of the apartment and having security come in to let you in – and charging you a $%*#Q&%*Q&F TWENTY pounds for the trouble!

Or what it means to come into class two minutes late, and have the entire lecture hall of 250 onlookers staring directly at you as you make way too much noise trying to find a seat, soaking in the judgment like a sweaty sponge, like the clumsy brick you are.

Or what it means to dance the night away at a dance they taught you ten minutes ago, with a girl who knows, according to my calculations, zippo, zilch, about you, except that you have high cheekbones and dimples when you smile.

It takes my breath away.

-Kenny

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