(one)    After finishing the first bottle of hot Guinness, my tongue quivers. Neck recoiling into chin. The bitter taste is nastier than forewarned. Bey, I hope dis work yinno, I exclaim to Niesha the minute I could catch my breath. This moment is nothing like Grammy making me cerasee. It don’t settle the same: missed periods / the dark of my best friend’s closet / with three-for-sevens I had to beg Uncle Tony to buy. Wa y’all guppies know ‘bout man beer?

(two)    The more I drink, the more I become drunk in doubt. Wondering whether these old wives – who I imagine never even drank from a bottle – was right about lizards, and fish dreams and these kitchen remedies. Niesha reassures me. Say her big cousin do it before, so it mussy did work. While I finish the second one, Niesha gets up to reach under her skirt and pull down her blouse. Two a dem should be good, man. She leaves, folding open the wooden closet, Hurry go straighten up before dey know we missin! I stay behind and shoot for three.

(three)  Uncapping the bottle in a hasty motion, the elixir froths and crackles inside my mouth. Small leaks drip to stain a dark amber on my crest. I een ready, I thought. To swell. To weather the storm of awkward stares. To navigate that sea of disappointment. Alone. The day you get pregnant is the day you move out, are Mummy’s words playing over and over in my head. And I. Am just. Not Ready. To be Statistic. To be seen as Single Mother. He doesn’t want to be around. And we are not Us anymore.

*

Downing three bottles of Guinness / swallowing as if it’s water / breathing as if it’s air / my feeble thumbs, praying / to knock a guppy out of this circle / of being.


TANICIA PRATT

© Rewrite 2020