Chapters 5-8

After the death of her parents, a teenage girl struggles with her identity.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. elation
    a feeling of joy and pride
    ...Paul and Murphy echoed something similar, all of us wrapped in the giddy elation that comes with escape.
  2. decadent
    marked by excessive self-indulgence and moral decay
    It was all tall archways and gold foil wallpaper, too decadent to resemble the stark hospital rooms we knew from our checkups.
  3. stark
    severely simple
    It was all tall archways and gold foil wallpaper, too decadent to resemble the stark hospital rooms we knew from our checkups.
  4. gilt
    having the deep slightly brownish color of gold
    Above us, stern nuns in crisp whites watched our intrusion from the strokes of a massive oil painting housed in a gilt frame.
  5. antic
    a playful, attention-getting act done for fun and amusement
    It wasn’t a performance for my benefit, like the way male tigers show off for the female, courting her with manly prowess and antics...
  6. nonchalant
    marked by casual unconcern or indifference
    She tried to sound all nonchalant while she was saying this, but I noticed her trying.
  7. feign
    give a false appearance of
    My answer to this was to feign indifference.
  8. dowel
    a peg that holds two adjacent pieces together
    They were heavy constructions of plywood, a sanded dowel for backstroke starts, puke-green carpet torn from somebody's basement stapled into the sloping tops for traction, and lane numbers spray-painted in orange on the backs.
  9. pious
    having or showing or expressing reverence for a deity
    Ruth would be next to me, her Sunday shiniest, somehow pious but also sexy in that Ruth way, her delicate cross necklace glinting from the freckled patch of skin showing at her neck, her perfect manicure, her smart little church suits in navy or plum.
  10. cloister
    residence that is a place of religious seclusion
    The sun was white-bright outside after the dark cloister of those cement changing rooms, and while I tried to make sense of the hazy outlines in front of me, I squinted back a kind of shame—I hadn’t ever felt quite that way before.
  11. bravado
    a swaggering show of courage
    Thankfully Lindsey was back doing her lesbian bravado, and she said, “I’m making you a mix tape like the second I get home,” and pulled me in for another hug, a real one.
  12. tousle
    disarrange or rumple; dishevel
    Ruth met me at the now-empty dessert table, red eyed from all that time by the fire, her hair tousled.
  13. threadbare
    thin and tattered with age
    The tapes I wore threadbare on my Walkman during cross-country practices.
  14. intersperse
    place between or among
    I’d ganked a vial of metallic glitter and a tub of decoupage paste from Ben Franklin and was covering the floor of the attic with a thick carpet of glitter interspersed with pennies that I’d flattened into smears of metal by placing them on the train tracks by the feedlot.
  15. afghan
    a blanket knitted or crocheted in strips or squares
    When things had been quiet for a long time, I went downstairs, and the two of them were on the couch under an afghan, watching football.
  16. jaunty
    having a cheerful, lively, and self-confident air
    With her at the head table were a couple of student council kids, including Brett Eaton, who had the jaunty good looks of an ad for astronaut recruitment.
  17. motley
    consisting of a haphazard assortment of different kinds
    But I was made instantly more appealing that morning when stacked up against the under-twenties currently snacking in the hall: a motley crew of shrieking and running elementary-school kids glad to be free of the pews they’d sat in for the last hour and a half...
  18. brood
    the young of an animal cared for at one time
    ...Pastor Crawford’s ever-increasing brood, only one of whom was old enough for high school, and he had skipped out right after the service...
  19. gangly
    tall, thin, and awkward
    Talking to Coley as she drank tea in her chic outfit, all of her so put together, made me feel like I might as well have still been in third grade, my gangly pose with my stupid arms hanging weirdly at my sides.
  20. epiphany
    an inspiration or divine manifestation
    “You know,” he said, “I’m having one of those great moments of epiphany.”
  21. gregarious
    temperamentally seeking and enjoying the company of others
    It was a move that I can only assume he meant as gregarious and pastorly, but really he had just forced me into the truck of one of the it girls in my class, since I was the sad sack without her own car whose aunt or grandmother had to pick her up and drop her off.
  22. debonair
    having a sophisticated charm
    Ty was supposed to be some sort of debonair wild card, a real cowboy, and after her husband died Mrs. Taylor had fallen apart some—drinking and staying out and making bad choices—but she had recently found her way back to Christ.
  23. apathy
    an absence of emotion or enthusiasm
    Prom season, with its torrents of confetti and satin gowns and sparkle stars to accompany the Van Gogh Starry Night theme, was met with the flannel-cloaked apathy of the late-blooming grunge crowd that made up a very small but riotous portion of the Custer High Senior Class of 1992.
  24. riotous
    characterized by unrest or disorder or insubordination
    Prom season, with its torrents of confetti and satin gowns and sparkle stars to accompany the Van Gogh Starry Night theme, was met with the flannel-cloaked apathy of the late-blooming grunge crowd that made up a very small but riotous portion of the Custer High Senior Class of 1992.
  25. decorum
    propriety in manners and conduct
    Prom is a place for decorum, and in offering you underclassmen this opportunity, the administration and I feel confident that you will treat it as such.
  26. poignant
    arousing powerful emotions, especially pity or sadness
    If this had been the movie version of my life, I knew, somebody who did teenage stuff well, some director, would have lingered on that poster and maybe even have swelled some sort of poignant music, put us in slow motion as the hallway continued on at regular speed around us, backlit the three of us—Coley and the posterboard chick and me—and in doing so tried to make some statement about teenage frivolity and prom season as it stacked up against something authentic and horrible like war.
  27. frivolity
    the trait of being not serious or sensible
    If this had been the movie version of my life, I knew, somebody who did teenage stuff well, some director, would have lingered on that poster and maybe even have swelled some sort of poignant music, put us in slow motion as the hallway continued on at regular speed around us, backlit the three of us—Coley and the posterboard chick and me—and in doing so tried to make some statement about teenage frivolity and prom season as it stacked up against something authentic and horrible like war.
  28. troglodyte
    a primitive person who lived in a cave
    “You’re a troglodyte,” Coley yelled back.
  29. earnest
    devout or heartfelt
    “But I do, and we’re friends, and this is the sort of thing friends do for each other,” she said with a kind of earnestness that maybe would have been laughable if I wasn’t so much in love with her.
  30. loll
    be lazy or idle
    They were lolling around the pop machines and called her over.
  31. exploit
    a notable achievement
    ...I needed to be just a little numb to listen to her exploits.
  32. bourgeois
    conforming to the conventions of the middle class
    “Prom is an antiquated institution that reinforces outdated gender roles and bourgeois dating rituals. It’s worse than cliché.”
  33. ostensibly
    from appearances alone
    He came early ostensibly to bring me the wrist corsage—tiny pink roses and baby’s breath—that he said his mom had picked out.
  34. truancy
    failure to attend, especially school
    Jamie asked, shaking his head and crossing his arms as if he was the guidance counselor asking me about slipping grades or truancy.
  35. ubiquitous
    being present everywhere at once
    She was busy undoing my ubiquitous ponytail.
  36. doting
    extravagantly or foolishly loving and indulgent
    The bleachers at the opposite end of the gym were filled with all manner of doting relatives and with fellow high schoolers...some of them cheering for their favorite couples but most of them mocking the whole production—which isn’t to say that some of us in line weren’t doing the same.
  37. contingent
    a gathering of persons representative of some larger group
    ...the bleacher contingent, even the bitter and scorned girls in the back row, awwwwed like people do when a precocious puppy takes a bubble bath in a Disney movie.
  38. precocious
    characterized by exceptionally early development
    ...the bleacher contingent, even the bitter and scorned girls in the back row, awwwwed like people do when a precocious puppy takes a bubble bath in a Disney movie.
  39. finery
    elaborate or showy attire and accessories
    There were plenty of promgoers out there, milling around in their now-drooping finery, the heavy entrance doors propped open and the night air drifting in cool enough to be cold.
  40. bemused
    perplexed by many conflicting situations or statements
    “You’re not all really saying that again, are you?” he asked, seeming genuinely bemused.
Created on April 18, 2018 (updated April 19, 2018)

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