In the Ways of Many Things

Well… not to tell tales or anything, but she did get herself pregnant when she was sixteen or so. Which didn’t sit well with her family, since they were what you could call established and liked to think of themselves as better than that; plus they weren’t any too keen on the boyfriend who’d been keeping a low profile since he found out about it. The best thing, they figured, was for her to go away and have the baby and give it up, with as little fuss as possible.

Fine by her, she still being young enough and reckless enough to want to sow her wild oats more than look after a baby and all.

They bruited it about that she’d gone to stay with relatives in the country to broaden her mind, that being the sort of thing you’d expect from young fashionable debs, and packed her off to her cousin’s, a rambling sort of place with a little bit of river running through it. In the latter days, when she was huge and unmanageable, she liked to walk along the river throwing stones at the water and cursing the baby inside of her for making her fat and slow.

The god of the river came out and talked to her, and she thought he was just a drippy young man, but liked the looks of him for all that. They got to be friends.

“You’re givin’ it away?” said he.

“Yeah,” she said. “Somebody’ll adopt it, I guess.”

“Why not lemme have it? I kinda like the idea of havin’ a kid.”

“What’re you going to do with a baby?” She laughed. “Nobody in high school ought to have a baby.”

“I’m older than I look,” quotha, and then she saw him as he really was, and was afraid.