No one really knew if he was secretly displeased in his heart of hearts that he had never had a son, for the father always bragged, "Good bulls
sire cows," and the mother patted his arm, and the four girls tumbled and skipped and giggled and raced by in yellow and baby blue and pastel pink and white, and strangers counted them, "One, two, three, four girls! No sons?"
scold or reprimand; take to task
The eldest, a child psychologist,
admonished the mother in an autobiographical paper, "I Was There Too," by saying that the color system had weakened the four girls' identity differentiation abilities and made them forever unclear about personality boundaries.
imply as a possibility
The eldest also
intimated that the mother was a mild anal retentive personality.
technical terminology characteristic of a particular subject
"Listen to that negativity." She nodded at her husband as if to confirm something they had talked about.
"Listen to that
jargon,” the second one countered, rolling her eyes.
relating to the guardianship exercised by a deity
"But the good Lord always provides." Although she was not particularly religious, the mother liked to make her plots
lacking orderly continuity
garbled voice asked without much conviction.
a path or strip
The father sat by the window quietly and followed the movements of a gardener, who was mowing first one, then another, darkening
swath across the lawn.
relating to or based on direct observation of patients
"Your daughter is not
"What does that mean,
clinically crazy?" The mother scowled. "I don't understand all that psychology talk."
following immediately and as a result of what went before
ensuing silence the mother heard the drone of a distant lawnmower.
influence or urge by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering
The woman was pointing out the flowers and the leaves of the bushes in order to
cajole the girl forward towards the building.
slightly indecent, offensive, or improper
"He was so dead tired, he didn't hear the burglars when they broke in. They stole us blind. They even stole my shoes and my under—" The grandmother remembers it is
indelicate to say so.
easily irritated or annoyed
"Well, Papi had no business going through my personal mail." Fifi's voice grows
relating to a broadly humorous theatrical entertainment
Yolanda mimics their father opening an envelope. Her eyes widen in
burlesque horror. She clutches her throat. She even puts on a Count Dracula accent to make the moment more dramatic.
put forward, as an idea
Both of them are tycoons, Yo
argue over petty things
"Squirrel doesn't rhyme," she explained. "The point's to rhyme with my name."
quibbled, "What rhymes with Joe-lan-dah?"
refuse to proceed or comply
He had named her Violet after shrinking violet when she had started seeing Dr. Payne. John
balked the first time Yo told him the doctor's name and fees.
repeated too often; overfamiliar through overuse
"I love you guys," Yo improvised. So what if her first original words in months were the most
no longer active or practicing
By then, I was a
lapsed Catholic; my sisters and I had been pretty well Americanized since our arrival in this country a decade before, so really, I didn't have a good excuse.
a period of illness
He was one of those guys who has just come through a
bout of adolescent acne into a scarred, masculine, bad-boy face.
an insufficient quantity or number
He turned to his other neighbor, who didn't have a pen either. The word went round. Anyone have an extra pen? No one. There was a
dearth of pens that day in class.
widely known and spoken of
I was the
proverbially overprepared student; I had to have a standby writing utensil.
a formal text that treats a particular topic systematically
It was a fourteen-line
treatise on the nature of love, but the whole time I was writing down my abstractions, I was thinking about how Rudy listened, looking at my mouth, so that it was hard for me to pay attention to what I was saying.
a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
It was a fourteen-line treatise on the nature of love, but the whole time I was writing down my
abstractions, I was thinking about how Rudy listened, looking at my mouth, so that it was hard for me to pay attention to what I was saying.
of high moral or intellectual value
That anyone should put all of this into a poem, a place I'd reserved for deep feelings and
a stipulated condition
He'd had this crusty old grandfather he'd never met, from Germany, who'd left his unborn grandchild a trust fund with the
proviso that he be named after the old man.
direct energy or urges into useful activities
Our next workshop, no one understood what my
sublimated love sonnet was all about, but Rudy's brought down the house.
relating to indulgence in something pleasurable
It was a
decadent atmosphere for me whose previous experience of dating had been mixers and parlor calls from boys at prep school.
take in liquids
"Why not?" he'd challenge, or ironically or seductively or exasperatedly, depending on how much he'd
imbibed, smoked, dropped.
tear or be torn violently
"How about fun? Fun, you know?" What did that have to do with this momentous
rending of the veil, I wondered.
devoid of intelligence
The copies of my poems Rudy handed back had on them brief,
inane remarks I read and reread for double meaning.
end, especially to reach a final or climactic stage
This was the
culminating romantic event of the school year on campus, and it seemed to me in my fantasy mode to be the perfect vehicle for our reconciliation.
consisting of a haphazard assortment of different kinds
They were a
motley group: the conservative frat guy types in tuxedos and their dates in fancy prom dresses, the new hippies in Indian paisleys, jeans and sneakers, and maybe for flare, an incongruous bow tie.
a fabric with a colorful swirled pattern of curved shapes
They were a motley group: the conservative frat guy types in tuxedos and their dates in fancy prom dresses, the new hippies in Indian
paisleys, jeans and sneakers, and maybe for flare, an incongruous bow tie.
glaringly vivid and graphic; marked by sensationalism
I saw the figures dancing
luridly, the lights flashing, the band going.
a nonconformist who lives an unconventional life
I was a poet, a
bohemian, et cetera.