If you want to make an apple pie from nothing at all, you have to start with the Big Bang and expanding universes, neutrons, ions, atoms, black holes, suns, moons, ocean tides, the Milky Way, Earth, evolution, dinosaurs, extinction-level events, platypuses, Homo erectus, Cro-Magnon man, etc.
the circumstances or condition to which someone is fated
Local Teen Accepts
Destiny, Agrees to Become Doctor
producing no result or effect
My mom says it’s time for me to give up now, and that what I’m doing is
a configuration of stars as seen from the earth
It’s huge—actually eight posters that I taped together—and shows all the major stars,
constellations, and sections of the Milky Way visible from the Northern Hemisphere.
direct and plot the path and position of a conveyance
It even has instructions on how to find Polaris and
navigate your way by stars in case you get lost.
the ultimate agency predetermining the course of events
Today is my last chance to try to convince someone—or
fate—to help me find a way to stay in America.
To be clear: I don’t believe in
fate. But I’m desperate.
having no known name or identity or known source
To her I’m just another
anonymous face, another applicant, another someone who wants something from America.
a mutual or reciprocal deed
interaction with these applicants saves her life just a little.
disappoint, abandon, or prove undependable to
But before that, before he becomes a politician and marries well, before he changes his name to Charles Bay, before he
betrays his good wife and constituents at every turn, before too much money and success and much too much of getting everything that he wants, he will do a good and selfless thing for his brother.
the condition of having good fortune
For most immigrants, moving to the new country is an act of faith. Even if you’ve heard stories of safety, opportunity, and
prosperity, it’s still a leap to remove yourself from your own language, people, and country.
navigational instrument for finding directions
Names are powerful things. They act as an identity marker and a kind of map, locating you in time and geography. More than that, they can be a
hopeful that the best will happen in the future
Bev’s always been relentlessly
optimistic, even in the face of dire odds.
a regional dialect of a language
Maybe you've heard the word irie before. Maybe you’ve traveled to Jamaica and know that it has some roots in the Jamaican dialect,
satisfied or showing satisfaction with things as they are
Everything is all right between you and your god, and therefore between you and the world. To be irie is to be in a high and
content spiritual place. In the word, you hear the invention of religion itself.
Anyone looking in at us from the outside would think things are
a powerful circular current of water
Local Teen Trapped in Parental
Vortex of Expectation and Disappointment, Doesn’t Expect to Be Rescued
turning in the opposite direction
My whole life it’s been the opposite. Why can’t you be more like your brother? This
Reversal of Fortune is not good for either of us.
an elaborate and systematic plan of action
I want to tell him that maybe he shouldn’t leave everything up to God and that hoping against hope is not a life
strategy, but that would mean I would have to talk to him, and I don’t want to talk to him.
the quality of conforming to rules of propriety and morality
Secretly, in their heart of hearts, almost everyone believes that there’s some meaning, some willfulness to life. Fairness. Basic
decency. Good things happen to good people. Bad things only happen to bad people.
someone who is critical of the motives of others
My dad says he doesn’t know where my cynicism comes from, but I’m not a
cynic. I am a realist. It’s better to see life as it is, not as you wish it to be. Things don’t happen for a reason. They just happen.
the state of being turned down
rejection was not an easy thing. To be an actor you’re supposed to have thick skin, but Samuel’s skin was never thick enough.
Rejection was like sandpaper.
accept as inevitable
Resigned Local Takes Westbound 7 Train to Childhood's End
a system of reasoning
Instead of being ruled by
logic, we are ruled by emotions.
the act of delivering from sin or saving from evil
The conductor loves the notion that you can be made anew, free of sin and therefore worthy of love and
rule unconstrained by law
Since I’m letting the universe
dictate my life on this Final Day of Childhood, I don’t bother waiting for another train to take me to Thirty-Fourth Street.
difficult to detect or grasp by the mind or analyze
I look left and right. Still no Sign. I’m looking for something
subtle, along the lines of a long-haired man turning water into wine and holding a placard proclaiming himself to be Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.
a personal belief or judgment
Things happen for a reason, Tasha. I don’t believe that
sentiment, but still, there has to be a logical explanation for the horribleness of this day.
the experience of thinking a new situation already occurred
I get a sudden sense of
deja vu. I’ve been here before. I’ve noticed those bright eyes and that smile. I’ve even had this conversation.
Like hydrogen-7 or lithium-5 or boron-7, love has an
infinitesimally small half-life that decays to nothing.
relating to statistics to calculate insurance premiums
actuarial tables in his mind. He knows the cost of a human life lost in an airplane crash, a car accident, a mining disaster. He knows these things because he once worked in insurance. It was his job to price the unwanted and unexpected.
any celestial body orbiting around a planet or star
It seems like such a long time ago when I thought the world of him. He was some exotic planet and I was his favorite
satellite. But he’s no planet, just the final fading light of an already dead star.
And I’m not a
satellite. I’m space junk, hurtling as far as I can away from him.
light teasing repartee
He is classically handsome; debonair, even. Watching him stand there in his suit, I can picture him in a black-and-white Hollywood romantic comedy trading witty
banter with his heroine.
a prescribed number
Her face dares me to ask her more, but I’ve reached my
quota of daring things (1=following cute girl, 2=yelling at ex-boyfriend of cute girl, 3=saving life of cute girl, 4=asking out cute girl) for the day.
have an emotional or cognitive impact upon
I am clearly not meant to
impress this girl.
a statement that contradicts itself
“And we’re ignoring the grandfather
paradox?” she asks.
having a chance of occurring too low to inspire belief
Something strange and
improbable would happen so that the impossible couldn’t.
incapable of being avoided or prevented
It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away, but it’s
inevitable that you will.
expressive of or exciting love
Besides the fact that I’m being deported today, I am really not a girl to fall in love with. For one thing, I don’t like temporary, nonprovable things, and
romantic love is both temporary and nonprovable.
lacking any definite plan or order or purpose
“Something temporary and not at all measurable. People just want to believe. Otherwise they would have to admit that life is just a
random series of good and bad things that happen until one day you die.”
the delusion that things do not exist
Instead of pushing him away, my
nihilism is only making him more comfortable.