Each section is based on the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the day from January, 2023.
I. wardour street, adj. and n.
Back in ninth grade, after our English class read Romeo & Juliet, Dom kept speaking in fake medieval diction. She’d spend lunch telling me about the latest episode of Riverdale with the occasional ‘ye’ and ’t’was,’ a smattering of ‘-eth’ suffixes.
II. Ideogenous, adj.
Dom used to write stories all the time. During class, her laptop would be open for ‘note-taking,’ but she would be deep into her latest Reylo fanfiction.
III. collabo, v.
The first time Dom spoke to me, she asked me to help with a piece she wanted to play for the solo and ensemble contest. She was taking a mute out of her trumpet; I was putting the marimba part of “So What” in my folder. The hollow sound of her emptying her spit valve filled the time it took me to understand. I never thought I was that good or noticeable. I accepted the opportunity.
IV. amigurumi, n.
I have a squid on my desk, small, purple, a tiny grin, that Dom knit me before she moved away. I think about messaging her every time I see it, but get too afraid to type anything.
V. groceteria, n.
The morning of the solo and ensemble contest, Dom said we needed to stop at the Haggen by my apartment complex to get AriZona Arnold Palmers for good luck. She walked across the store like her life depended on it. The cashier complimented our suits. We chugged them in the high school parking lot.
VI. misogamous, adj.
Dom texted me during winter break our sophomore year upset her mom got engaged to her boyfriend. She didn’t understand how her mom could happily participate in such patriarchal traditions.
VII. y’alls, pron.
When the judge announced our performance of “Take Five” won the small ensemble category, the audience erupted.
VIII. roscidating, adj.
I sit at my computer, doomscrolling, alone. Dom’s squid stares at me. I need to talk to someone, but what would I even say?
IX. red queen, n.
She always wanted to get better at whatever she was fixated on. She encouraged me to do the same. She even showed me her earlier fanfiction, which was so terrible she swore to never share it. But she trusted me.
X. cabinet able, adj.
I used to eat lunch in the library. Well, I’d sit in the library during lunch. But Dom invited me to sit with her and her friends after we started practicing for the contest. It was like starting a series halfway through the third season, piecing together names and plots everyone else already knows.
XI. ajangle, adj. and adv.
I remember the sound distinctly: the chime my phone made when Dom texted me to tell me her stepdad got relocated; they’d have to move during spring break. I remember the sound distinctly: the chime my phone made when I learned my best friend was leaving in the middle of our senior year. My phone has been on silent since.
XII. coachy, adj.
Junior year, when my grandpa got sick, Dom drove me from school to the hospital. She refused my offer for gas money, said it’s what friends do.
XIII. blankety, adj.
I don’t have another way to describe it. When I was around her, I felt safe. She understood me in a way most people don’t.
XIV. galdem, n.
For me, it was hard feeling part of the group. I always felt outside, apart. When Dom invited me to her lunch table, she made sure I was part of the conversation. It’s because of her I was able to make the friends I had, the memories I have. She made it so easy.
XV. satoshi, n.
Is this what distance does? Does the past live behind rose-tinted glass? Does she remember me this way: emphases on my positives, whatever they are? Or, does she remember how much she did for me, how little I could return? Does her mind filter me through the windows of an abandoned home?
XVI. cyberslacking, n.
I don’t even know what I’m afraid of. Sometimes, when a professor’s lecture is slow, I search Dom’s name on Instagram to see what she’s been up to. I don’t follow her, too afraid of her seeing the notification with my name, remembering how I disappeared, then blocking me.
XVII. mindstyle, n.
Have I always been this way? Has it always been the case that the walls around me were constructed by me? Am I to blame for my own isolation? How couldn’t I see it before? Why can’t I change it?
XVIII. barnstorm, v.
In the spring of freshman year, our jazz band did several performances at nearby memory care places. Dom was so excited to be a traveling bard, she memorized several sonnets and monologues by Shakespeare to recite between songs.
XIX. bumble broth, n.
The week after she moved, she texted me, asking how I’d been, apologizing for not reaching out earlier overwhelmed with travel and unpacking. Words flooded me. Where would I even start? I couldn’t even find the words for what I was feeling.
XX. cruyff turn, n.
For a while, I tried diversion: ask about her day, ask about her mom, ask about Euphoria. Much easier to read and listen to her than find words of my own.
XXI. booze can, n.
I remember the first time I felt the fractures grow. It was a month after she moved. My dads were at a school counselor conference. I raided the liquor cabinet in hopes it would loosen my lips, find my words. The words that came were hurt, full of confrontation, resentment.
XXII. dumbsizing, n.
She didn’t text me for several days. I didn’t blame her. It was never the same afterward. Time between messages grew like moss after a rainstorm.
XXIII. kitbash, v.
The way she’d play trumpet, write her stories— she’d draw connections between unlike things, create something I’d never seen before.
XXIV. durex, n.
We were inseparable once. Each afternoon at one of our homes, homework and horror movies, walks through the parks at our neighborhoods’ edges. We’d share AirPods and secrets before school, at lunch, at games our boyfriends made us attend.
XXV. ramfeezled, adj.
I’m standing at the end of the bread aisle staring at the everything bagels, her favorite breakfast. I miss her so much. What’s the worst that can happen? I already have nothing. I already am nothing.
XXVI. skyrgalliard, n.
There’s a beehive in my chest. Words fill the windshield on my way home. I activate the wipers to sift through them.
XXVII. shockle, n.
We did a morning hike at Franklin Falls the last day of winter break senior year. We packed two thermoses of hot chocolate, drank them at the base of the frozen waterfall. We talked about our families, the future, decisions we would have to make.
XXVIII. chup, int. and adj.
My natural state is silent. It’s easy to listen to other people talk. It’s much more difficult to say something, to be open and vulnerable to someone else.
XXIX. mopery, n.
On her last day, I couldn’t drive home from school. I sat in the parking lot on the hood of my car. She said she had to go, had to finish packing. I watched her drive away, then sat and cried until security came to shoo me away.
XXX. send-forth, n.
I helped organize a party to tell Dom goodbye. We marathoned Star Wars movies, ate bagels, drank Arnold Palmers. It was the last time we were in the same room, the last time we laughed together.
XXXI. navel-gazer, n.
Stare at the ceiling for an hour, dig my phone out of my bag, take a deep breath, open Instagram, find her profile, hit follow, open a message, type the first words that come to me, hit send, enable sound, throw my phone across the living room. It dings.
2 thoughts on “Have I always been this way?”
“My phone has been on silent since” ooF
Lots of this is so relatable, losing connections to people who moved away, wanting to rekindle them… 💙
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Thanks! I was hoping to capture that feeling! I wanted the past to feel present, like the distance makes memories replay over and over.
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