You wait for the ripples to clear.

One moment, another second, two. A laugh rumbles from your chest and echoes in your mouth, as you stare down the seemingly impossibly deep water. You look for shadows (there's none), you look for silhouettes (there's none).

You tell yourself tall tales just so you won't realize—

—that you're waiting for him to come back.

(because you're not.

you're not.)

It takes you a minute to realize that, just like everyone around you, he isn't doing what you want him to do.

You discern that this is because your brother, just like everyone around you, is a fool.

He deserves this. He deserves this.

(it serves him right, for all the things he's called you, before the sea called him home.)

But there's a hole gaping in your chest, and it aches, it aches, and you bite your lip to keep from crying out. A second more and your knees buckle and you're on the ground, shaking, because a part of you looks back on what you've done and—

(what have you done?)

(what have you done?)

There's bile in your mouth and your eyes are as wet as the water before you. You don't heave. You don't yell. You don't scream and cry and curse.

(this is not how he's raised you, after all.)

You bottle everything up because you know of no other option; besides, there's no one to tell, even if you want to.

(you don't.)

The death of your brother is your silent victory, and the rippling waters is a witness to your triumph.

(you tell yourself you want this, you want this, and a few minutes more - you believe it.)