the outside boundary or surface of something
As I take Justin’s books out of his locker, I can feel someone hovering on the
hesitant or lacking confidence; unsettled in mind or opinion
I turn, and the girl standing there is transparent in her emotions—
tentative and expectant, nervous and adoring.
of the greatest intensity; complete
She stays in the same spot, anchored by the
profound, desperate loneliness of a bad relationship.
lacking worth or importance
That giddy rush of keeping up with one another, of zooming through the school, reducing everything that’s not us into an
lasting a very short time
I have wandered for so long without any sense of purpose, and now this
ephemeral purpose has been given to me—it feels like it has been given to me.
flow back or recede
Suddenly we are touching the sacred part—running to the shoreline, feeling the first cold burst of water on our ankles, reaching into the tide to catch at shells before they
ebb away from our fingers.
a small tower extending above a building
I see echoes of this detail now as she makes
turrets bloom from her cupped hands.
lasting for a markedly brief time
Happiness is so rarely a part of my vocabulary, because for me it’s so
characterized by a feeling of well-being or elation
And as we drift into sleep, I feel something I’ve never felt before. A closeness that isn’t merely physical. A connection that defies the fact that we’ve only just met. A sensation that can only come from the most
euphoric of feelings: belonging.
vastness of size or extent
How can such a small measure of time contain such
the experience of thinking a new situation already occurred
I suddenly realize why people believe in
déjà vu, why people believe they’ve lived past lives, because there is no way the years I’ve spent on this earth could possibly encapsulate what I’m feeling.
put in a short or concise form; reduce in volume
I suddenly realize why people believe in déjà vu, why people believe they’ve lived past lives, because there is no way the years I’ve spent on this earth could possibly
encapsulate what I’m feeling.
characterized by extreme care and great effort
I should be doing Justin’s homework—I’m always pretty
conscientious about that kind of thing, if I’m able to do it—but my mind keeps drifting to Rhiannon.
lacking information or instruction
At first I was
naive, and assumed that brothers and sisters were natural allies, instant companions.
censure severely or angrily
When I was eight, an older sister told me we were going to run away together—then abandoned the “together” part when we got to the train station, leaving me to wander there for hours, too scared to ask for help—scared that she would find out and
berate me for ending our game.
express or state clearly
Although I am not
articulating it to myself in so many words, I am feeling jealous that Carrie can have Corey while I can never have Rhiannon.
give encouragement to
heartening to think that the attachment you have can define your perception as much as any other influence.
acceptance without protest
When I don’t argue, he takes it as
a questioner who is excessively harsh
He’s the lead
inquisitor in this family.
speak carefully, as with rising and falling pitch
“You always take his side,” my father
urge on; cause to act
“Josh Wolf says the drugs in his jacket were sold to him by your brother,” my father
I wait until the three of them return to Owen’s room to tear it apart again, then
skulk out the back door.
diffusing warmth and friendliness
Now that our father can see a way of saving face, he’s almost
marked by a disposition to oppose and contradict
perversely, that Rhiannon would want me to.
feeling or expressing pain or sorrow for sins or offenses
Shocked, and maybe a little
contrite, Owen mumbles his assent.
agreement with a statement or proposal to do something
Shocked, and maybe a little contrite, Owen mumbles his
a person skilled in riding horses
But I’ve also woken up in the body of an ice hockey player, a fencer, an
equestrian, and once, recently, a gymnast.
summon into action or bring into existence
I only remember a handful of people, and in order to do that, I have to hold tight, because the only repetition available—the only way I am going to see them again—is if I
conjure them in my mind.
found in the ordinary course of events
I try to hold on to as few
mundane, everyday memories as possible.
a proposition deducible from basic postulates
As the teacher reduces us to
theorems, I must remain silent.
a swaggering show of courage
His eyes are full of scattershot anger, his posture one of defensive
cause to become
I must have
rendered him unrecognizable.
add inflections showing person, number, gender, or tense
But instead I watch as she
worn and broken down by hard use
There is a
decrepit bookshelf, and on it is a selection of old paperbacks.
refine or make more perfect or effective
The body has obliterated its memories in order to
hone its argument.
a person who is devoted to eating and drinking to excess
I have been in the bodies of starvers and purgers,
gluttons and addicts.
any factor defining a system and determining its performance
Normally, I would take these as
lacking conscious awareness of
I think I would have continued along,
oblivious, if I hadn’t happened to meet her.
deliberately impassive in manner
“How about you?” I ask. “Seeing anyone?”
“Yeah,” she says. Then,
deadpan, “For over a year.”
something added to embellish or make perfect
I have to give myself over entirely to her—I must be her shadow, her
complement, the other half of this conversation of bodies.
involving or likely to cause controversy
It’s only in the finer points that it gets complicated and
contentious, the inability to realize that no matter what our religion or gender or race or geographic background, we all have about 98 percent in common with each other.
existing as an essential constituent or characteristic
Race is different purely as a social construction, not as an
having or showing arrogant superiority to
That seems safe enough to me. Clever, but not self-congratulatorially so. Sincere, but not
overbearing. It’s only a few lines, but I reread it at least a dozen times before I hit send.
the quality of affording easy familiarity and sociability
We work in quiet
camaraderie until the task is done, and sleep calls.