Chapters 9–13

After suffering a trauma, high school student Annabelle Agnelli decides to run 2,700 miles from Seattle to Washington, DC.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. arduous
    taxing to the utmost; testing powers of endurance
    But she can’t avoid this, her eighteenth birthday. It will bring on everyone’s forced cheer. They will be trying for her, which means she’ll have to try for them, too, and this will be harder and more arduous than her run today.
  2. chafe
    become or make sore by or as if by rubbing
    She squeezes out the last bit of Aquaphor from an old tube, slathers what’s left onto all her chafed spots, and then covers them with Band-Aids.
  3. trestle
    a supporting tower used to support a bridge
    Oh wow. Oh wow, wow, wow. It’s a railway trestle. It’s creaky-looking and made of ancient timbers, and it rises precariously from the ground that is so very far below.
  4. precariously
    in a manner affording no ease or reassurance
    Oh wow. Oh wow, wow, wow. It’s a railway trestle. It’s creaky-looking and made of ancient timbers, and it rises precariously from the ground that is so very far below.
  5. ratchet
    move by degrees in one direction only
    Her anxiety ratchets and hums.
  6. assess
    estimate the nature, quality, ability or significance of
    It’s been one of her biggest problems, hasn’t it? Assessing danger?
  7. vigilance
    the process of paying close and continuous attention
    Every time she waited at a bus stop or was at a party with boys and alcohol or was just plain alone, she felt the high alert of vigilance.
  8. harrowing
    causing extreme distress
    It’s a harrowing adrenaline blend, being fearless and afraid at the same time.
  9. thrifty
    mindful of the future in spending money
    “I’m not cheap, I’m thrifty.” He’s a little cheap. He hoards fast-food ketchup packets and steals the small containers of jam from restaurant tables.
  10. smother
    deprive of oxygen and prevent from breathing
    Malcolm wiggles his eyebrows up and down. She’s going to kill him, too. He’s going to get it tonight, smothered with his own pillow from the Sleepy Inn.
  11. perpetual
    continuing forever or indefinitely
    Dawn Celeste tells everyone that she’s a retired social worker and perpetual wanderer, and Luke is a college student on hiatus.
  12. hiatus
    an interruption in the intensity or amount of something
    Dawn Celeste tells everyone that she’s a retired social worker and perpetual wanderer, and Luke is a college student on hiatus.
  13. defunct
    no longer in force or use; inactive
    After everyone leaves, Gina yanks Grandpa Ed’s sleeve. “Pop, I need a word with you.” They are over by the defunct cigarette machine.
  14. sprawl
    sit or lie with one's limbs spread out
    In their room at the Sleepy Inn, Malcolm is bugging the hell out of Annabelle, who is sprawled on the bed in her monkey pajamas.
  15. chronic
    She doesn’t bother because they are both chronic apologizers, and chronic apologizers know that sorry is also just sorrow for the general state of the world.
  16. embalm
    preserve a dead body
    Twenty-two embalmed hearts of popes are on display at a church near the Trevi Fountain in Rome.
  17. disembodied
    not having a material form
    There is a strange fascination with disembodied hearts.
  18. gulch
    a narrow gorge or ravine cut by a stream
    Next, there is endless flat farmland, stretching like a yellow sea. And then, for two days, she is on a forest service road. Loretta keeps her entertained with names: Cougar Gulch (eek), Roaring Ranch (nice), Beehive Road (adorable), Swauk Creek (where gold was discovered in 1873, she read that morning).
  19. materialize
    come into being; become reality
    Finally, today, farmhouses begin to appear, and then come the gas stations and feed stores that mean a city is about to materialize.
  20. monotony
    the quality of wearisome constancy and lack of variety
    Her day’s run is almost done, and all she wants is food, water, rest, and a break from the day’s monotony.
  21. bravado
    a swaggering show of courage
    She can sense all the other stuff you find at any high school, too—the bravado and insecurity and self-consciousness and pretending.
  22. gauge
    judge tentatively or form an estimate of
    His shoulders turn inward with shyness and he watches the others carefully, as if he’s gauging what his own response should be.
  23. impulsive
    characterized by undue haste and lack of thought
    See what happens when you're impulsive? she lectures herself.
  24. nostalgia
    a longing for something past
    “Oh, God. Go ahead. But disregard any Raffi.”
    “Hey, childhood nostalgia, I get it.”
  25. cupola
    a roof or part of a roof in the form of a dome
    There are three stories at least, and it’s got one of those curved cupolas that would be perfect to do your homework in.
  26. mishmash
    a random assortment of things
    There’s the kind of mishmash of flowers that look unplanned but are oh-so-carefully planned.
  27. skew
    turn or place at an angle
    She scowls. He’s saying the same things as Dr. Mann. That her perceptions skew reality. That her guilt does.
  28. thrum
    a low, continuous sound
    It is not the sound of her own clock, moving her to the horror of what’s coming. It’s the base thrum of a trucker’s radio. It is the purposeful thump of hooves. It is an ancient drumbeat, old as time.
  29. despondent
    without or almost without hope
    The much-anticipated marker ahead does not bring her the joy she thought it would. No. Instead, after three and a half weeks of this, her first month, she’s suddenly despondent. Beyond exhausted. Disgusted and fed up and aching with the madness of it all.
  30. veer
    turn sharply; change direction abruptly
    There are also the exciting thin metal posts with the flashers on top, so drivers don’t veer off into ditches because of pitch-blackness or sheer boredom.
  31. decrepit
    worn and broken down by hard use
    And let’s not start about the evening Listerine gargling or the morning throat clearing, which sounds like her neighbor...trying to start up his decrepit Mustang.
  32. tedious
    so lacking in interest as to cause mental weariness
    For the last few days, she’s been in eastern Washington, and sure, there’s the beauty of the Palouse of eastern Washington, until the endless, unchanging, ceaseless, tedious, flat beauty of the Palouse of eastern Washington makes you want to kill yourself.
  33. expletive
    profane or obscene expression usually of surprise or anger
    At least, she tries to call Grandpa Ed, but her phone has no service.
    Insert a great deal of expletives here.
  34. excruciating
    extremely painful
    Grandpa is probably in Worley now, checking out all four of its streets so he can give her the lowdown of the place in excruciating detail.
  35. incidentally
    by the way (used to introduce a new topic)
    She turns left onto South Marsh Road, where, incidentally, there is no marsh.
Created on February 26, 2020 (updated March 19, 2020)

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