Dark rolling wafts of charcoal cotton form a blanket over my head. Like someone leaning on the tips of their toes on a cliff edge, its weight in water tumbles to the ground around me. The huge drops or rain bounce on the pavement, my reflection already forming on the glistening tarmac. I’m standing just a few metres past the traffic lights, and give my thumb a rest by burying it deep into the comfort of my oversized combat coat, glad of the protection it provides.
I smile sardonically to myself remembering why my mother avoided walking with me into town. A girl with an asymmetric hairdo in many colours wearing an army jacket wasn’t someone you’d be proud to be seen with, let alone admit was your daughter.
I’m proud of my coat. I’ve spent many hours designing and embroidering a dragon embroiled with a tiger on the back of it. If only my mother knew that I was making a smokey living embroidering others’ army jackets. The Bob Marley album cover was more than a challenge. He’s pleased with the outcome, paying in weed, not coins, to be true. But I’m not that materialistic.
The traffic moves and my thumb braves the heavy shower of rain. A small car pulls up and I thank the goddess for my fortune.
“You going to the uni?” he asks. I’m not the only one who hitches a ride at this spot, it’s the main road to the town’s university. I note an agricultural instrument on the passenger seat and hesitate. The driver purposefully removes it.
“I’ll just be moving that for you, I wouldn’t want you coming to any harm.”
I’ve got the weirdo.
It’s pouring with rain, so I take my chances and get in the car. It has the fusty smell of a hay barn. It’s not long before I sneeze. I excuse myself and try to change the subject to the horrendous weather. It helps to overcome most socially awkward situations.
But I’ve got the weirdo.
“I don’t suppose you know what that’s for?” He asks while nodding at the instrument that now resides by my feet.
I look at the man pointedly. He’s known around campus. I’m not the first he’s offered a lift to.
“Not only do I know what it is, but I also know how to use it.”
I await his reaction.
It seems like we’re now moving in slow motion, but we’ve only travelled two hundred metres. He pulls up, stops the car and states that this is as far as he’s going.
Here I am again, thumb braving the rain. I suppose I should worry about missing yet another lecture, but I don’t.
Albeit bedraggled, my coat steaming clouds in the warmth of the university canteen, I have a laugh with my friends who enjoy the telling of the story. The instrument had been a burdizzo*.
*A burdizzo is an implement that breaks the blood vessels to the testicles, leading to their deterioration. It is used on farm animals, for example bulls, and has also been used in cases of self-castration.
I don’t know how to use it.