The wind and rain are passionate tonight. So much so that Sebastian dances in my hand as I parade across the greasy streets. He jives in the evening gale of Market Street, switching to a tango as I stride down Oxford Road before honouring the Royal Northern College of Music, on our right, with a brief waltz.
While Sebastian has his fun, I keep an eye on the competition. It is lacklustre tonight; battered and worn commuters desperately cling to their untamed beasts, struggling to control the excitable mustangs and their passion for freedom.
Later, a sharp gust spooks Sebastian and he tries to bolt away in the direction of the Student’s Union. I am prepared though and, with a delicate flick of my wrist, snap him back into place. Not a single raindrop touches my head.
But taming Sebastian was not always this easy. In his youth, he would bark at the storms; throwing his body with wild abandon into the winter gusts. But we’ve come to know each other since those teething days.
I have since learned about his tenacious streak. Now, I know how to reign him in all manner of gales; the angles, the wrist position. It’s all in the wrist.
But, it’s not just about Sebastian. A master knows how to read the wind. Knows how to predict its whims and learn its preferred paths through the city streets. It has taken me twenty years.
“You’ll never amount to anything,” he once screamed at me, whisky dribbling from his chin. He stormed across the room, snatching up my drawing from the floor.
“What’s this?” he demanded.
“It’s my lion, daddy,” I replied.
“Lions?” he bellowed.
“I want to train lions.”
He snorted Bells across the floor in disgust before screwing up my lion and throwing it into a corner.
“You couldn’t even train an umbrella,” he shouted as he left the room.
In. Your. Face.