I remember that shy Scottish guy, the sweet one made entirely of self effacing awkwardness. It was part of his charm that he could not hide his blushes, his shaking hands or the darting eyes as he glanced furtively around him. I remember the time he cooked for me and bought wine for the first time, an attempt to woo, an attempt to impress. I remember giggling and attempting to calm his nerves as he realised the wine bottle had a cork, not a screw top as he’d assumed. The thought of trying to ask someone in his dorm to borrow a cork screw was horrifying to him- actual human contact- fuck no. So I went and banged on doors as he cringed in his bedroom berating himself for his ineptitude. Must have been the only dorm where no bugger seemed to drink, so I came back empty handed but with news that his neighbours were friendly- he should speak to them sometime. We watched youtube videos of people showing their methods for opening a bottle of wine, without the obvious means..they all looked sure to make some mess. How did we get into the wine, that part of my memory is blurry, due to the wine or the passing of time- but get in we did. I remember him saying how he just wished he could be more of a smooth guy. I wasn’t sure what it meant to him to be smooth, but I told him he didn’t need to be, to stop trying. If we’d had a perfect meal and perfect wine without bits of cork floating in it, if we’d had fancy wine glasses instead of the colourful plastic beakers to drink out of, if it hadn’t all been so human, so funny and charming I would probably not recall that night as well as I do today or with a fond smile on my face.

Screw being smooth or cool or trying to impress. I’ll have my wine with cork in it over that any day.


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