I don’t always choose red wine. Red wine sinks, and makes a barrel of my body. It turns my purple eyelids heavy, and my pink tongue, purple. I drink a glass in the garden and watch the cracks in the patio or the pegs on the line: the ones that are so old that opening breaks them, belonging to tenants long-gone.
Sometimes white wine wins. It is strong and acidic, demanding the drinker to stay alert. White wine matches white blossoms, which match dinner in the garden, which matches white wine. Pollen tickles the inside of the nose and bees hum upon a bed of weeds, the one littered with dead bluebells.
Gin is a nice drink. Gin and tonic, lemon and ice. Sometimes, lime instead; the green semicircle that bobs atop a stream of bubbles which tingle like television static upon the tongue. Gin and tonic is the sound of the lawnmower three gardens down, or the fizzy fear which hangs as an undercurrent on a Sunday.
I don’t like cider, for now. Cider smells too much like opal reflections upon the top of a glass, which shines yellow holding the new pint you just bought: but nonetheless, has a bug in it. The first sip of that sputtering mist. It smells of the ringleader of your group grabbing the outside table, ‘the nice one’ that’s big enough for you all to gather around. When the first pint becomes a couple of pints, it is that round feeling of fullness. When that couple of pints becomes several more and everyone watches everyone waddle to the bathrooms, traipsing back via the bar with lopsided smiles. Empty glasses are stacked, and so towers are built: followed by an inevitable tumble, and a collective roar. Damp foreheads are dizzy with the promise of an endless evening under the warm touch of the sun. Each hand is animated with glass in the air and broad grins broken. Cider smells like waking up with pink cheeks and freckled arms, hair bleached and mouths suspended open, yawning.
Now freckles are from pacing the patio, in clothes that wear patterns which haven’t seen the outside in months.
Either way, in the morning, my stomach is a soup bowl. We no longer wake up in a heap of friends, with matted hair upon anonymous faces in the white light through the curtains. Sickness raged through stomachs as a collective tsunami between us. Cups of tea were distributed as were rough blankets. Cigarettes butts littered the garden as mascara littered our lashes. We propped ourselves up on cold counters, with windows open and phones on silent. Faces smiled and told each other, goodbye, see you soon.
I don’t like cider, and I won’t like it, until we drink it again.
– Emily Black