occurring or coming into existence after a person's death
Now after thirty-four years, the commemorations and interviews and presentations of
posthumous honors have almost stopped, so that for months at a time Dede is able to take up her own life again.
a group of representatives
Then, the big celebration over at the museum, the
delegations from as far away as Peru and Paraguay, an ordeal really, making that many little party sandwiches and the nephews and nieces not always showing up in time to help.
the state of being unknown
Doesn’t she have seven more months of
In Greek, "an" means "without" and "onoma" means "name"--"anonymous" means "having no known name or identity or known source."
improperly forward or bold
Otherwise, they go on and on, asking the most
not counterfeit or copied
There is a
veritable racket of gratitude on the other end, and Dede has to smile at some of the imported nonsense of this woman’s Spanish.
The Latin "verus" means "true" and the adjective "veritable" emphasizes the noisiness of the gratitude--some of which sounds like nonsense to Dede.
filled with a great quantity
On the back of an envelope left beside the museum phone, she has sketched an enormous tree,
laden with flowers, the branches squirreling over the flap.
in such a manner as could not be otherwise
inevitably ask in one form or another, why are you the one who survived?
decorate with colors
There are the three pictures of the girls, old favorites that are now
emblazoned on the posters every November, making these once intimate snapshots seem too famous to be the sisters she knew.
something given or done as an expression of esteem
She still feels guilty about not continuing Mama’s
tribute of a fresh blossom for the girls every day.
causing distress or worry or anxiety
Over the woman’s shoulder, she sees she has left the door to her room ajar, her nightgown flung with
distressing abandon on her bed.
be superior or better than some standard
My niece Minou tells me I am doing some
transcending meditation, something like that.
apparent power to perceive things not present to the senses
Especially—though he doesn’t say this—if she’s going to censor the
clairvoyance of his several glasses of rum.
having or showing or expressing reverence for a deity
She stresses the verb confessing as if their father were actually being
pious in looking ahead for his daughters.
(Christianity) the Roman Catholic dogma that God preserved the Virgin Mary from any stain of original sin from the moment she was conceived
It was as if I had just heard Jesus had slapped a baby or Our Blessed Mother had not conceived Him the
immaculate conception way.
a journey by a group to escape from a hostile environment
Sinita grabbed her towel and soap dish from her night table and joined the
the quality of being holy
A strange other-worldly light suffuses the house smelling of labor and
in a joyous manner
blithely at the road ahead, quadruplet angels.
with strained or eager attention
intently at Sinita, who glared right back at him.
the act of participating in the celebration of the Eucharist
I started noting the deadness in Padre Ignacio’s voice, the tedium between the gospel and
communion, the dry papery feel of the host in my mouth.
The Eucharist is a Christian ceremony in which bread and wine are consecrated and consumed to remember the Last Supper and Christ's death.
an elementary book summarizing the principles of a religion
All I can think of is the picture in our
Catechism of a valentine with measles.
warranting only temporal punishment
I told her that if I was going to commit a Mortal sin, as lying to a religious can’t be
Venial, the least Minerva could do was tell me what I was risking my immortal soul for.
characterized by care and perseverance in carrying out tasks
I resolve to be
diligent with my tasks and not fall asleep when I say my prayers.
open ceremoniously or dedicate formally
This time I’m
inaugurating my patent leather shoes and a baby blue poplin dress with a little jacket to match.
a journey to a sacred place
She is not coming back until after the Virgencita’s feast day on the 21st as her whole family is making the
pilgrimage to Higuey.
give moral or emotional strength to
Pedrito just cracks his knuckles and
consoles her by saying that they can have another one real soon.
restrain the lusts of the flesh by self-denial and privation
The nuns closed themselves up in their convent for their yearly
mortifications in honor of the crucifixion of their bridegroom and Lord, Jesus Christ.
leave slowly and hesitantly
Sor Asuncion said, as if she had asked a question and I was
tarrying in my answer.
an exemption from some rule or obligation
Papa had said we must wait until I was seventeen, but he consented to giving me those three days of
sadness resulting from being forsaken or abandoned
Snug in my heart, fondling my pearl, I had ignored their cries of
in Catholicism, the place of unbaptized but innocent souls
The poor innocent would be stuck in
limbo all eternity!
intended to honor the memory of someone or something
We joked about all the
commemorative marches and boring speeches we had been spared by leaving this particular weekend.
recall the past
We sang, told stories,
reminisced about this or that.
get involved, so as to alter or hinder an action
intervened before those two could get into one of their fights.
caused to be unloved
I felt a tremor of excitement, as if I were about to meet an
estranged friend with whom I longed to be reconciled.
leave someone who needs or counts on you; leave in the lurch
She would not tell me, but when I guessed, “Another woman?” she sighed, and then said, “Ay, Virgencita, why have you
The question echoes a line from the Bible when Jesus was on the cross and cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"