One from the trenches

It was 40km from the nearest small town.
About 5km down a gravel track off the main road.
The track serviced all the farms.
I was home with one of my flatmates
drinking because that’s what you do at university,
when your assignments are in
and exams are over.

You go to the beach
and you work on the farm
to pay your rent.
You drink paintstrippingly cheap wine.

You wax lyrical
about how you’re going to
change the world.

Because everyone else has it wrong.
Right?

In this little house
on a buffalo farm
in the middle of nowhere
surrounded by said buffalo
making buffalo noises,
there was a noise outside.
Unfamiliar.

We investigated.
There’s this goat just hanging out.
Doing important goat shit.
So we found some rope
and tried to make a lasso
and eventually did.
I lassoed the goat.
It only took about 100 tries.
Then that goat wasn’t going anywhere.

This couple walk up the track
looking for their goat.
We say “We’ve found your goat.”

“She was trying to run away, but I lassoed her!”
I add helpfully. Because sometimes I’m funny.

They were Scottish, the thickest Scottish accents I’ve ever heard.
And as I’m handing over the goat
(which is rightfully mine because of whole lassoing thing)
I ask if the goat has a name.
Because I’m clearly attached to it by now.
Twenty minutes to form a lifechanging friendship.

The woman says
in her thick, thick Scottish brogue
“Yes, it’s Geraldine!”
But because I was a bit drunk.
and heartbreakingly young and self centred
I thought she said Cheridan
and I was all “That’s my name!”

And for the rest of my stay there,
the next six months,
the Scottish neighbours called me Geraldine.

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