'Ripples' by Jacqueline Pye
She once bit her baby brother, and it had felt good. The smack was nothing compared to the satisfaction. The little sod never gave anything back, just take, take her parents’ love, all those presents and the cloying attention of strangers. There were other times, but nobody knew.
From then on, when she saw a baby there was this urge to damage it and she would have to turn away since it was too late now to get away with it. Of course she grew up certain that there would never be any of her own.
Now she is standing on the jetty, watching the ripples on the lake, and thinking of Mal and his relentless questioning: “Still no sign then?”
Give it time, she’d say softly, digging her fingernails hard into her palm. She loved Mal, she really did, but had never talked to him about It. She wanted their relationship to stay just as it was, yet she sensed that Mal was cooling; he hinted that a baby might bring them closer again (but not that it would bring back his love).
Another boat passes, and as she stares at its undulating wake the churning nausea strikes, then acrid vomit fills her throat. Leaning over the railing, she throws up into the water. But once again she knows there will be no baby; when the time is right it will join its foetal siblings within the grey-green depths of the lake, leaving just a momentary ripple for a life that never was.