An excerpt from the novel I started last year during NaNoWriMo that I'm just now getting around to editing. Follow the blog for more updates on my work in progress. Gloria stands up with a dramatic flourish, touching her belly. “Ralph and I are having a baby.”

I drop my fork and stifle a bellow. “Are you joking?”

“Why would I joke about that?”

“Because you don’t want kids. You don't even like children.”

My sister sits back down, staring at me with a familiar hatred. It's the same look Jerry's wife gave me. I cannot hold her gaze and I cannot look at anyone else for fear of reflecting the abomination onto an innocent. I know now that looks can kill. I pick apart my food instead.

Ralph clears his throat. “Gloria and I have been planning this baby for a long time,” he says.

“We built the house with children in mind,” she adds.

“Now you’re going to have more than one?” I say. Isolde squeezes my leg under the table in warning.

“Well, one at a time,” she says. My head spins, threatening paroxysm. Gloria isn’t allowed to have it all. She already possesses a career she loves, a house so new and clean you could eat off of the floor, and a handsome husband who squeezes her every time she walks by. I may have none of those three things, but I have three babies, three boys, three reasons that my life isn’t a total loss. The candle light blurs and my heart burns in the inferno that becomes envy if it goes unchecked for too long. My plate is full and my appetite has returned to its usual void. My stomach feels heavy and if I were alone, I would stick my finger down my throat and vomit. Vomiting is like a release for me, like a sneeze or an orgasm or a bloody cut.