relating to or articulated in the throat
I just heaved, my stomach muscles tightening and my throat opening and a gasping,
guttural belch, going through the motions of vomiting over and over again.
impossible to avoid or evade
“Somebody was setting off firecrackers in the woods,” he said, and I closed my eyes tight, the
ineluctable fact of the matter at hand: I had killed her.
occurring with no delay
I doubt that an instant of blinding pain feels particularly
make less visible or unclear
Her hair falls over her face just enough to
obscure her cheeks.
not capable of being overcome
I fell asleep listening to his slow, even breaths, his stubbornness finally melting away in the face of
include in scope
Anger just distracts from the all-
encompassing sadness, the frank knowledge that you killed her and robbed her of a future and a life.
breaking up and scattering by dispersion
And I almost said, She buried it in the woods out by the soccer field, but I realized that the Colonel didn’t know, that she never took him to the edge of the woods and told him to dig for buried treasure, that she and I had shared that alone, and I kept it for myself like a keepsake, as if sharing the memory might lead to its
pull back or move away or backward
But more than the noiselessness of everyone else was the silence where she should have been, the bubbling bursting storytelling Alaska, but instead it felt like those times when she had withdrawn into herself, like she was refusing to answer how or why questions, only this time for good.
summon knowledge from memory
recall that you were asked what the most important question facing people is, and how the three traditions we’re studying this year address that question.
praise, glorify, or honor
The Colonel and I said nothing, while a bunch of people who didn’t know Alaska
extolled her virtues and professed to be devastated, and at first, it bothered me.
“I guess, but I wouldn’t
bemoan the fact I never told her I loved her."
unrestrained by convention or propriety
“Do you think it was an accident?” the Colonel asked as I stood beside him, my shoulders slouching, wanting a cigarette but nervous to be as
audacious as him.
characteristic of those who treat others with arrogance
I screamed because the Colonel was a self-satisfied,
condescending bastard, and I screamed because he was right, for I did want to believe that I’d had a secret love affair with Alaska.
represent in bodily form
For she had
embodied the Great Perhaps—she had proved to me that it was worth it to leave behind my minor life for grander maybes, and now she was gone and with her my faith in perhaps.
the effects of a person's actions that determine his destiny
Buddhism, particularly as it is popularly practiced, promises improvement through
enroll as a student
But you will respect the rules of this school, or you will
matriculate someplace else.
the state of being sober and not intoxicated by alcohol
I decided to give him a field
sobriety test, like the cops do.
crushed by grief
I’d never entered Coosa Liquors, but it was every bit as
desolate as Alaska described.
of an obscure nature
cryptic, sure, but if you’re going to plan your suicide down to the flowers, you probably have a plan as to how you’re actually going to die, and Alaska had no way of knowing a police car was going to present itself on 1-65 for the occasion.
energy in a system no longer available for mechanical work
The Buddha knew one thing science didn’t prove for millennia after his death:
set in motion, cause to start
And then something invisible snapped inside her, and that which had come together
commenced to fall apart.
great coolness and composure under strain
The Eagle came in at noon on the nose, greeted the senior-class speaker—a former Alabama state attorney general—and then came over to Dr. Morse, who stood with great
aplomb and half bowed as he shook the Eagle’s hand—maybe too formal—and the Eagle said, “We’re certainly very glad to have you here,” and Maxx replied, “Thank you."
overly conceited or arrogant
He read directly from the speech without looking up, but he read with the confident, airy tone of a slightly
The four of us returned to Room 43, aglow in the success of it, convinced that the Creek would never again see such a prank, and it didn’t even occur to me that I might get in trouble until the Eagle opened the door to our room and stood above us, and shook his head
a sudden and severe onset of trouble
A cool breeze had beaten back the
onslaught of summer, and on the morning the Old Man gave us our final exams, he suggested we have class outside.
not open to question or doubt; obviously true
I am interested in how you are able to fit the uncontestable fact of suffering into your understanding of the world, and how you hope to navigate through life in spite of it.
far beyond the norm
And in thinking about these founder figures, I believe we must finally conclude that each brought a message of
be superior or better than some standard
The Buddha held out hope that suffering could be
capable of being endured
I still think that, sometimes, maybe “the afterlife” is just something we made up to ease the pain of loss, to make our time in the labyrinth
incapable of being overcome or subdued
When adults say, “Teenagers think they are
invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are.