Chapter 28–"after we end"

Frank Li knows that his conservative Korean parents will not approve of the girl he is dating, so he and friend Joy Song agree to enter into a fake relationship to appease their families.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. defunct
    having ceased to exist or live
    In the far back of the crawl-in closet—there, in the far, far back—is an old black spy suitcase made by Legionite, some defunct company from the 1970s.
  2. eponymous
    relating to a name derived from a person
    A name tag from an extinct restaurant named Cup-N-Saucer etched with the gaily dancing eponymous cartoon characters and the word DIANE.
  3. vermilion
    of a vivid red to reddish-orange color
    Three marble signature stamps and a lacquered black compact that unscrews to reveal a vermillion-red ink pad
.
  4. debilitating
    impairing strength and vitality
    I will become dizzy with tears and fall, and my head will strike the nearby bronze figurine of a bronco bucking an astonished infant cowboy and inflict a debilitating concussion.
  5. corona
    one or more circles of light seen around a luminous object
    Before me I see the bright corona of her eyes, the wispy baby hairs at her temple, a little mole on her chest.
  6. attenuate
    become weaker, in strength, value, or magnitude
    The air in the room seems to attenuate to the rising and falling of our chests.
  7. billow
    rise and move, as in waves
    The white curtains from the open windows billow back and forth without a sound. Back and forth, moved by the breathing of the warm sun-swept wind.
  8. wanton
    indulgent in immoral or improper behavior
    The High School Era is slowly disintegrating into a pre-apocalyptic orgy of wanton dereliction.
  9. dereliction
    a tendency to be negligent and uncaring
    The High School Era is slowly disintegrating into a pre-apocalyptic orgy of wanton dereliction. People ditch school to have lunch off-campus. The bell rings, but people ignore it to continue lying on the grass or whatever.
  10. somnolent
    inclined to or marked by drowsiness
    An hour before school ends, me and Joy conspire to get to the somnolent Consta early to see how many kisses we can fit in before Q arrives to ride with us.
  11. anon
    (old-fashioned or informal) in a little while
    “For here approacheth anon your humble servant Q with such light step that the snowflake herself wouldst grow heavy with envy at missing—”
  12. irreproachable
    free of guilt; not subject to blame
    Mom peeks out and flashes a frown at the sight of Joy in the irreproachable Consta.
  13. poised
    marked by balance or equilibrium and readiness for action
    Q and I still stand poised with our Bags of Holding as Joy springs up and down.
  14. fervently
    with strong emotion or zeal
    The Oobleck is a big ball of ruinous, sticky goo that arrives and almost destroys everything after a king, bored with his too-perfect realm, fervently wishes for something—anything—new.
  15. feasible
    capable of being done with means at hand
    It’s pre-graduation madness. Has to be. There’s only one restaurant that’s remotely feasible.
  16. simper
    smile affectedly or derisively
    She offers me a simpering look.
  17. befall
    become of; happen to
    And a strange spell must have befallen me, because now Joy is carefully kissing my face all over. “Oh yubs,” she’s saying. “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”
  18. catatonic
    characterized by unresponsiveness or lack of movement
    And look at Q, just kind of examining his sneakers under his purple robe in a catatonic state, probably looking for some clue about why he never made a move with his mystery girl.
  19. terrarium
    transparent container in which plants and animals are kept
    I have in my bag this glass teardrop-shaped terrarium filled with moss and lichen as a gift for Joy. I will give it to her, and I know she’ll love it more than any bouquet of flowers.
  20. traverse
    journey across or pass over
    It’s easier coming down than going up, because of the climb. But I remember—my ten-year-old body remembers for me—how to brace myself on the massive I-beam and shimmy up to the narrow diagonal cross support, which, once traversed on tiptoe using the square rivets for extra grip, leads me up to the only scary part: a pull-up from a bar with nothing beneath it for fifteen feet.
  21. inept
    generally incompetent and ineffectual
    Joy is a campfire dying before my very eyes, and I am inept when it comes to campfires.
  22. stoke
    stir up
    “It doesn’t matter,” I say, and the last of our embers goes out.
    But I don’t want them out. I stomp and stomp on them, because the moron inside me believes that stomping is the best way to stoke a fire back to life.
  23. convocation
    the act of calling to a meeting
    I could sleep until September and wake up just in time for convocation.
  24. reconnoiter
    explore, often with the goal of finding something
    One day three curséd valkyries ambush my character while I’m reconnoitering a shattered keep on my own, and my character doesn’t even get the chance to counterattack.
  25. maudlin
    effusively or insincerely emotional
    I laugh aloud, then want to cry, because an insufferably maudlin part of me wants to believe she wore the shirt for me to say, I will always love you.
  26. brooch
    a decorative pin
    In the bag are three fine silk scarves, a crystal brooch, a jar of Dijon mustard from Dijon, a bottle of Champagne from Champagne.
  27. reverie
    an abstracted state of absorption
    My reverie is interrupted by a rustling in the bushes at the far end of the backyard.
  28. extricate
    release from entanglement or difficulty
    She extricates herself from the bushes with a graceless kick, then smooths her shirt.
  29. contemptible
    deserving of scorn or disrespect
    “I just want to say I’m sorry. I’m really, pathetically, contemptibly sorry and I want you to forgive me...”
  30. quark
    fundamental subatomic particle that has a fractional charge
    “Spiritual essence, so-called nucleus of soul, like particle, physical particle. You know what is quark? Nothing different. Atom? Nothing different, same-o same.”
  31. arcane
    requiring secret or mysterious knowledge
    Meanwhile, Dad winds up for another round of free-form arcana.
  32. gird
    prepare oneself for action or a confrontation
    I gird myself. Tonight is our last night together. Must maintain.
  33. ephemera
    something transitory or not of lasting significance
    It’s beautiful, this constellation of ephemera.
  34. morbid
    suggesting the horror of death and decay
    “Come on, Dad. Don’t be morbid.”
    “No, I’m not be morbid,” says Dad. “Life is but a dream. My dream? So beautiful dream I’m having whole my life, God giving me..."
  35. tentative
    hesitant or lacking confidence; unsettled in mind or opinion
    Curiously, his lips are softer than Joy’s. More tentative.
  36. palpable
    capable of being perceived
    And yet, there’s a size and shape and quality to this dead forest that is palpable. It is there. Like a soft breathing.
  37. indomitable
    impossible to subdue
    I leave the Tascam, get back in the indomitable Consta, and head out north.
  38. ostensibly
    from appearances alone
    Hanna and Miles are staying behind for a few more days, ostensibly so that Mom can buy them a metric ton of baby clothes.
  39. sinuous
    curved or curving in and out
    I cross the parking lot to find myself in a field that dips to reveal a serpent-like wall constructed of stone. It’s a famous sculpture, apparently, one that evokes sinuous change and unyielding permanence both at the same time.
  40. undulate
    move in a wavy pattern or with a rising and falling motion
    I run my hand along its undulating tapered top ridge as it winds left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right.
Created on March 13, 2020 (updated March 18, 2020)

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