The Bottle
By Jennifer Skuse

Bottle of red wine being uncorked

Bottle of red wine being uncorked from Freepik. Background photo created by rawpixel

You're hiding me away again. You know they check the cupboards now. We’ve ended up in a never ending game of hide and seek. You cottoned on to buying the same brand now so it looks like I was opened on Monday. Not that that was opened on Monday and drunk on Monday then replaced on Tuesday which will be replaced on Wednesday in this carousel of corkscrews.

The mint tea after is a nice touch. They’ll assume you’re looking after your health after all, digestion relief. Makes your breath smell like peppermint. Or is it a sleepy tea tonight? As if that would calm your heartbeat or stop the 3am sweats. Just a light sleeper, are we? Or is the world still spinning?

You’ve been to courses, now — you know what I should taste like and tell your friends about the relevant pairings. A connoisseur not just a lush. You tell them we should all go on a little tour, how fun, how social, how much easier to hide in plain sight. But I taste the same after the third glass and you stopped caring long ago. Small, independent vineyards have been swapped out for Aldi and Tesco. Store brands are just as good, aren’t they? Or has your bank account necessitated a cheaper brand? I came on a menu once now I’m always on offer. Every little helps after all.

Sober September this time. That’ll go as well as Dry January I’ve no doubt. Four days, was it? Then you had a hard day at work and out I came. You’ve always had a hard day. I’m surprised you don’t keep a mini me in your handbag just in case. I know you’ve thought about it. A quick swig at lunch. The French drink wine for lunch, why can’t you? Pop in a mint afterwards or bring a toothbrush along. Oral hygiene is something to be celebrated.

What you don’t realise is they’ve only ever found me by accident. They haven’t figured it out you see. I look the same to them so they assume it’s just a glass a night. Honestly, they have so much going on I doubt they would care anyway. But you care. You care desperately and so here we are — I’m being stuffed behind the pasta at the back, ready to be retrieved stealthily on bin day, wrapped in newspapers and flyers to stop the clinking as you put me out onto the street.