Noetic

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noetic

  1. of, relating to, or based on the intellect

Funerals were the worst. It’s not that I didn’t mind that people died–wait, I mean it’s not that I didn’t understand that people died–it was just hard to wrap my mind around being in a room full of people grieving the loss of a loved one. It was like being confined  with the wounded soldiers who’d just dragged their loved one off of the battlefield only to find out he died midway through the journey.

And somehow, I, the person least likely to be caught at a funeral had been corralled into speaking solemn words about someone I’d hardly known who was greatly loved by a bunch of people who were fearless at sharing their emotions and enjoyed physical contact.

An uncomfortable weight rested in the center of my abdomen and grew cold. The room itself felt overwhelming and stuffy.

I should have said no, but the more people cry the quicker I cave to requests. This was one of the many faults I’ve learned about myself. What makes it worse is the fact that Continue reading

Litany

ocean_litany

litany

1. a prayer consisting of a series of invocations and supplications by the leader with alternate responses by the congregation
2a. a resonant or repetitive chant
b. a usually lengthy recitation or enumeration
c. a sizable series or set

 

“You can sleep when your dead.” Everyone knows that phrase.

That’s what Paul used to say and that’s how he used to live. He was all about living life at 180 miles per hour.

“Work hard. Play harder.” That’s another phrase that kept him pulling early mornings and late nights, subsisting off of about four hours of sleep each night and coffee. Early mornings in the gym before work. Late nights in the office before heading back to the gym for one more workout. Then heading head home to crunch a few more numbers and rest.

His coworkers called him “the machine.” Paul took that as a compliment of highest praise.

Everything was routine. And everything was working, until he got a message from his doctor after his last routine visit. Dr. Chen’s tone was different somehow. It was a little too high, a little too strained–far from the jovial, warmth that usually flooded his words about Paul’s exceptional cholesterol and low percentage of body fat. While the rest of Dr. C’s patients were falling prey to sedentary lifestyles and sugar consumption, Paul was the star patient.

He laughed at the irony of it all. Why had he worked so hard just to end up here, in this place between life and death?

There had been a litany of tests and there were still no solid results.

However, there were a few educated guesses and input from specialists, but Paul realized that these highly regarded professionals were all just practicing the medicine they’d been taught–nothing was certain, nothing was sure.  He was 27, could possibly die, based on his last two rounds of lab work, and no one knew anything.

And instead of waiting around frustrated, angry, feeling fine except for the panic gripping his throat at the thought of dropping dead, he did what he hadn’t done in years. Paul sent a short message to his boss, requesting the vacation time he never touched, never thought about, and had always overlooked. With a few clicks, he booked a flight to Fiji–because that seemed like a good place for a dying man to go for about a month–and left the next day.

He left behind all of his favorite phrases, his workout gear, and his rigorous schedule and headed out of town to rest and just be himself, free from expectations and worry.

Somewhere far above the earth, Paul decided to sleep and laugh and enjoy the simple things of life before he died–because that seemed like the smartest thing for a dying man to do–and that’s exactly what he did without one single regret.

 

 

*This post was inspired by Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day, because they updated their their webpage first.

Piebald

quilt_piebald

piebald 

1. composed of incongruous parts
2. of different colors; especially : spotted or blotched with black and white

 

Lacey clutched her quilt tightly, pulling it up to her chubby chin. It was tattered in a few places, but for the most part, Grandma Neelie’s quilt was holding up, standing strong against the rough sleeping patterns of a 7 year old.

The quilt was actually Lacey’s favorite thing.

In the winter, she could be found wrapped in the piebald construction, shuffling from room to room, looking more like a burrito with a portion of the tortilla trailing behind her, than a child pretending to be a queen wrapped in royal garb. In the summer months she was often stretched out on the tapestry that spoke of her grandmother’s handiwork, her mother’s taste in clothing, and Lacey’s rough nature.

What never crossed Lacey’s happy mind was the obvious poverty that necessitated the making of the quilt from scraps of her mother’s clothing. Instead, she lived and slept in the quilt and expected it would be that way her entire life.

Her mother was less appreciative of what she mentally called Continue reading

Hoi Polloi

student_hoipolloi

hoi polloi

1. the common people; the masses (often preceded by the).

One glance from my third story window is enough to propel me out of my dorm room and across the campus with glee toward my 8 a.m., class.

While the morning fog is a deterrent for some, for me it’s an open invitation.

Like a welcomed smokescreen for a fugitive who is on the run, the thick fog obscures my view of other students, allowing me to stay in my own world for just a bit longer.

Most of the time I speed across the green, breezing past the hoi polloi with their expensive backpacks and bags, their canned laughter that hides insecurity beneath a Continue reading

Unctuous

night_unctuous

unctuous*

1.  fatty, oily
1b. smooth and greasy in texture or appearance
2. plastic
3. insincerely smooth in speech and manner

Five-course dinners, trips to Paris? There wasn’t much to dislike about Garreth. He impressed parents easily, was good natured, talented, incredibly successful at his job and his taste in jewelry was impeccable.

Minah and Garreth had met in Chicago at what she expected to be just another routine conference for chemists. As soon as she met the Brit’s gaze, she quickly regretted her low expectations for that week.

Tall, handsome, and a panelist in three different sessions, Garreth had proceeded to lightly sweep Minah off her feet, beginning with his breakdown on the need for more women in science to their private conversations in between panels about how he’d enjoy traveling more if it included companionship.

It wasn’t until six months into their long-distance relationship–which caused them to meet around the globe–that Minah noticed the distinct unctuous feeling she got every time Garreth was around his friends. The sweet, caring man she had come to know would become her own personal cigar-smoking Mr. Hyde who bragged on his studies and seemed to care less about others.

The first time it happened Minah figured it was some strange anomaly caused by the lack of sleep and jarring time change. The second time she noticed the slight shift happened around his fellow colleagues who were extremely impressed with their own research. By the third time Mr. Hyde visited, Minah had enough evidence logged to make a critical decision.

That night she excused herself from the self-congratulatory conversation downstairs in the hotel’s restaurant, quietly ignoring comments about “all the science talk being over the little lady’s head,” and made a quick stop by the hotel room to grab her things and leave a note. With a few taps on her phone she updated her flight before reminiscing about the months since they first met and what she was releasing.

She wondered what her family and friends might say as the full weight of her decision settled heavily in her chest.

Minah looked out over the city from the back of the taxicab rushing her to the airport. The sun had set long ago, causing the city to sparkle against the night sky.

An idea came to her causing slight droplets of hope to wear away the heaviness within.

There’s always next year’s conference, she thought. And I’ll attend with extremely high expectations this time.

 

*This post was inspired by Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day, because they updated their webpage first.

Galvanize

converseshoes_galvanize.jpggalvanize*

1. to subject to the action of an electric current especially for the purpose of stimulating physiologically
2a. to stimulate or excite as if by an electric shock
b. to react as if stimulated by an electric shock
3. to coat (iron or steel) with zinc; especially : to immerse in molten zinc to produce a coating of zinc-iron alloy

Daniel now knew the game well. He had observed others throughout the last two years, noticing their subtle moves to win favor with just the right people. It was worse than chess–the quick, calculated repositioning of friendships as his competitors engaged in the right conversations to secure their success.

With fewer connections and less willingness to entertain the interest of others, Daniel knew he was the clear underdog.

He was hoping to galvanize enough support to make an early bid for Mark Espinoza’s former position. He approached many, but few talked and even fewer listened.

Frustration kept him planted as he tried to figure out a plan to move up in the polls before next week’s deciding vote.

He noticed a pair of bright red size 7 converse move past him, attached to Continue reading

Miche

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miche
  1. British Dialectto lurk out of sight.

 

As hard as he tried not to, Devon had a tendency to miche whenever Paula came round. Her curly raven hair, her bubbly laughter, the way she smiled with her eyes… everything about her seemed to steal his thoughts right out of his head.

Every evening he would go for a quiet walk before going back to his room and sitting down at his desk to eat a takeout dinner. He would ponder all the things he should’ve said when Paula was so kind to say good morning before class started, or ask him how he was adjusting to university life.

Instead of giving an intelligible answer to her direct queries, he would often stare blankly, excuse himself and relocate to a safe area that was outside Paula’s gravitational pull. It was only after he was some distance away that his thoughts would begin to return to him, coherent and grounded in reality.

He mentally chastised himself, as he Continue reading