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.

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