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A Girl
by Cian Manning

It’s a spring evening in the countryside. A twenty-first birthday party in full swing; a game of hurling (it is Kilkenny), a meal and now all the lads take turns at comedic ‘one up man-ship’. In a nice way obviously, there were only two black eyes and a broken finger after three or four performances. The heckling wasn’t that bad either. I can still remember my aunt verbally abusing me when I tried to tell one about the ‘Chicken crossing the road’ aged four. ‘You call that a joke, your face has a better punch line than that’ she said. That sort of experience stands you in good stead; I haven’t had to get a stitch since for telling a joke.

Though on this evening, while eating my chicken nuggets at the kiddies table...yes, I know what you’re going to say...what is a twenty year old doing at the kiddies table? Well I just like the colouring and jigsaws so there! I often complete many of them on my own; don’t let the age seven guide on the puzzles fool you. My concentration on fitting the last piece of the SpongeBob picture is interrupted by what I could only describe as a presence. I don’t hear her coming. I don’t see her coming. But all of a sudden I sense this presence, her presence. It feels like one of these great novel moments or film sequences, like when Grace Kelly appears for the first time in ‘Rear Window’. The moment I actually see her face and hear her voice I fall to pieces.

She’s a young teacher, and now I am actually behaving like a seven year old with a jigsaw. What’s worse is not only is she a mature smart professional woman but she’s also funny! I can’t remember many of my primary school teachers being funny, let alone mature and smart. While talking to her, well really she talking to me all I can manage is giggling, the conversation goes:

‘So what do you do?’

‘I’m a student...’ with a noise that I’m not even sure a twenty year old male should be able to omit without punching himself in the testicles, but it’s more akin to a Michael Jackson ‘ah-he’. From this point my part in the conversation goes incredibly downhill; with me having to leave the embarrassing situation for a nappy change...I mean a visit to the restroom. I should really give seven year olds more credit it, was more like the behaviour of a four and a half year old.

There was little of my pride to salvage. So before heading to my bed with my rattler and Teddy Bear (I hear it’s a hipster thing...) we head into ‘Town’. ‘Town’ becomes one of these mythological things, more a state of mind then a place. The bright lights of New York combined with the debauchery of Sodom and Gomorrah and you have a night of biblical proportions ahead in Waterford...well you get the idea. 

Then comes the second of those film sequences the climax; a resolution to our story. The dance floor is buzzing and yours truly pounds it like an Adonis of the jive. Michael Flatley may have done Riverdance but he can’t claim to have danced a jig reel to the hostile crowds that inhabit the parish hall in Mooncoin.

And there she is; this is the moment. I whisk her in to my arms, twirl her like she has never been twirled before and then utter the vague but ‘Dirty Dancing-esq’ “So what do you say...” Arm in arm we leave, happily ever after. Role the end credits.

Sadly, instead of being the all conquering hero, I attempted a jig before falling on my backside. Not only my pride but now my arse is bruised and the moment passes. At least I have Ted my bear waiting for me at home, he always understands.