1. Informal. a roundabout way; circumlocution

“The! End!”

Marlena increased her volume trying to remove the weariness from her voice, blinking tired eyes.

Her daughter’s small hands grasped for the book, flipping the pages to the beginning again.

“One more time, Mommy,” Riley said gleefully, somehow full of energy at 9 at night.

Marlena looked at her smiling little girl, silently wishing she could be 6 again and go to bed early or have enough energy to make exhaustion seem like a reclusive neighbor.

Being a single mother was her full-time job that wound itself around her other full-time job as an administrative assistant for a law firm. Both were taxing. And although their nighttime readings were rare, Marlena didn’t think she had enough fuel to keep her eyes open.

“Not tonight, Riley,” she said. “I know this is your favorite story, but Mommy is tired.”

Riley’s pout was irrepressible. Everything about the child was more direct than circumbendibus. Her big brown eyes filled with tears as her bottom lip seemed to descend even lower toward the crumpled mass of bedsheets.

“But Mommy, this is not my favorite story,” Riley said, her voice weighed down with sadness.

Marlena was puzzled, her tired mind grasping blindly for understanding.

“I remember you said it was your favorite when you were a little girl and Grandma used to read it to you,” Riley said. “You like it. I just like spending time with you.”

Marlena marveled at how fast her Riley was growing up, somehow alternating between her baby and a budding young lady with her own mind.

“Once more,” Marlena said, stifling a yawn. “But after this, young lady, it’s bed for both of us.”

Riley smiled, her teary eyes suddenly dry.


Marlena turned the title page and began reading as Riley curled into her mother’s side, reading along with her and enjoying her presence.


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