HENRY'S WORD OF THE WEEK

 

Truckle

Verb. To act in a subservient manner. Submit.

I’ve actually never heard this word used before in a sentence. But my new friend Cory for sure truckles around his father though. That’s why I hate going over to his house. We’ll be watching TV or playing video games in his basement, minding our own business, and his father will yell down the strairs, telling Cory he needs to rake the yard or start making dinner, or Cory needs to do his homework. And Cory doesn’t even put up a fight, he just says “yes, sir” and jumps up and does what his dad says.

 

Hiatus

Noun. A lapse in continuity.

Sorry for not having written for a while. I guess you can say I’ve been on a hiatus. I started middle school a few weeks ago, so I’ve been busy. Yeah, I know, how can a kid be busy? Well, I am. But I’ll try to post more words soon.

 

Reticent

Adjective. Tending not to talk or give out information.

I saw that neighbor kid again. I was walking around the neighborhood and he was outside of his house. (Okay, I was walking by to see if he was outside.) He stared at me while I walked by, so I said hi. He nodded his head and said hi back, but quietly.

“I’m Henry.”

He just nodded and said hi again.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Uh . . . ” he said, acting all reticent. “I have to go inside.”

“Okay,” I said, kind of bummed he would run inside like that. Maybe he’s just insanely shy. Who knows. I did get close enough to see that, yes, he does have a lip ring. I’m still not sure how old he is.

 

Libertine

Noun. A person who leads an immoral life.

Mom’s friend Shelley came over the other night. Her husband was away again, and she and Mom were sitting in the living room,  drinking wine and talking but also giggling about stuff. It wasn’t even that late–Mom hadn’t yet bothered to start cooking dinner. It was looking like a pizza night again. So I went in and asked what was for dinner. “Oh, Henry, you sweet thing,” Shelley said before Mom could reply. “Look at us, sipping wine and acting like school girls. We must look like a bunch of libertines!”

 

Perfunctory

Adj. Lacking in interest or enthusiasm. Mom’s boyfriend Jerry came over last night and made us dinner. I have to admit, it was pretty good: Mushroom risotto, a salad with lime cilantro dressing, and home-made sourdough rolls. (He’s a vegetarian.) It sure beat Mom’s usual perfunctory dinners (spaghetti, baked chicken, sandwiches). If Jerry cooks more often, he may start growing on me.

 

Skittish

Adjective. Easily frightened. Wary.

That kid whose house backs up to ours, the one whose father was yelling at him last week? Well,  I saw him riding his bike today. I was on our front porch, reading Harry Potter (yes, still). Mom was inside cleaning and she liked me out of her way. Anyway, the kid rode by and circled back and forth, like he was waiting for me to say hello. I knew he was looking at me, but whenever I looked at him he would look away and pedal off, acting all skittish. But then he would ride back by and circle again. He has dark brown hair, kind of shaggy. He might be my age or a little older. I think he has a lip ring. I finally waved and said, “Hey.” But he got skittish again and rode away, this time for good.

 

Garble

Verb. To distort the meaning or sound of.

Grandfather Pembroke called the other night, from Tuscaloosa. Mom spoke to him but she said his call kept breaking up. “Jack, call me from your land line later,” she said in frustration. “Ugh, cell phones!”

“What did he want?” I asked.

“I don’t know. His voice was garbled. I could barely understand a word he said,” Mom replied.

 

Invective

Noun. Insulting or abusive language.

Our house backs up to another house in the neighborhood. One evening, I was outside on the back porch drinking a lemonade and reading Harry Potter. Mom was inside, making dinner, chatting on the phone, the usual. Then I heard some shouting. At first I couldn’t tell where the shouting was coming from. I put my book down and walked toward the back wooden fence. I had to squeeze through some shrubs, and then I peeped through one of the thin slats of the fence. I could see a man standing over a kid, maybe a boy my age or slightly older. The kid was sitting on a lawn chair, his head in his hands, as this man–his father?–let loose with a tirade that was full of invective (including many cuss words that Mom probably thinks I don’t know). I knew spying was bad, so I backed away and walked back to the house and went inside, where I wouldn’t have to hear anymore shouting.

 

Obsequious

Adj. Marked by or exhibiting a fawning attentiveness.

The most popular guy in my class is named Drake. He’s really full of himself, walking around like he’s king of the school. It doesn’t help that he’s followed around by a group of guys who hang on every word he says. They all look so eager to please him, so desperate to be his friend. Like, no matter what Drake says, they will laugh, even if it’s not funny. One guy even carries his lunch tray for him. It’s pitiful, really, that they are all so obsequious.

 

Impervious

Adjective. Not capable of being affected or disturbed.

I used to get teased at school. People would make fun of my hair or ask where my father was, call me a freak or a clown or a loser. It would make me mad and sad. I don’t get teased as much anymore (maybe kids are nicer in North Carolina?), but there are still a few jerks who call me names (I’m talking to you, Jared Shupe!). But none of that bothers me anymore. I am impervious to their taunts and name-calling. I have friends. Other kids like me. Plus, Mom says that the people who call me names are just insecure about their own poor qualities. I guess Jared is just upset that he is so dumb, so he takes it out on me. That’s okay. As I said, I am impervious.

 
 
 
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