Fresh Start

by Kerry J. Heckman

The night before her first day of community college, thirty-one-year-old Daphne spent an hour putting together an outfit that looked like what she thought other people might wear. She preferred to wear a cheerful mix of patterns and colors, but as her mother often told her with the warmth and compassion only a mother can express, “no one likes a weirdo.” In the morning Daphne put on an ill-fitting black skirt and white button-up shirt, only to realize when she was already in the car and running late that she looked less like a typical college student and more like a waitress. When she arrived at Minneapolis Community and Technical College she dug around in her trunk and pulled out a bright green and purple winter scarf to help her look less like a violinist, but it was still August, so she just looked like a street person. From the trunk she also pulled out her new plaid backpack and the folder she acquired at orientation with her schedule and campus map. As she turned to walk toward the T Building for her first freshman algebra class she felt as if her wildest dreams were coming true.


Kerry J. Heckman lives and writes in Chicago.