Tuesday, March 6, 2012

AWAD serial, part 5: nescient, bromidic, esurient

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/23/10: “nescient” , 6/24: bromidic, 6/25: esurient

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
PRONUNCIATION: (NESH-uhnt, NESH-ee-uhnt, NES-ee-uhnt)
MEANING: adjective: Lacking knowledge or awareness.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin ne- (not) + scire (to know). Ultimately from the Indo-European root skei- (to cut or split) that has also given us schism, ski, shin, science, conscience, nice, scienter, adscititious, and sciolist.
MEANING: adjective: Commonplace; trite.
ETYMOLOGY: From the former use of bromide compounds as sedatives. Bromine got its name from the Greek bromos (stench) due to its strong smell.
MEANING: adjective: Hungry; greedy.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin esurire (to be hungry), from edere (to eat). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ed- (to eat, to bite) that has also given us edible, comestible, obese, etch, fret, edacious, prandial, and postprandial.

Eric walked home, his pride stinging from being kicked out of a convenience store. A gas station convenience store. Now he had a) no beer, and b) a face burning from humiliation.

So he’d called that guy a fag, so what. That’s what the guy was. What’s the big deal? All Eric had done was tell the truth.

So why was his face burning and his heart racing, and why did that word keep ricocheting around in his head like an accusation?

“Bullshit,” he said preemptively, as his wife’s words came back to him.

“Face it. You’re gay. In total denial, or maybe truly nescient,” she’d added, calmly packing a suitcase, and God, he hated it when she threw her Ph.D.-in-Literature vocabulary into their arguments. “But you are, and the sooner you admit it to yourself, the sooner you can get on with the life you’re supposed to have.”

Then she'd put the children into the car and drove to her friend Jackie’s house. After one week, she announced she had gotten a job in Phoenix and just up and left, taking their kids – his kids – with her. No trial separation. No tears or accusations. No, that would be too bromidic for someone as unique as Trudi.

Somehow they heard about it at work and told him to take a few days off, but that just made it worse. Without something to occupy his mind, he brooded, lay about the house, and drank way too much.

Which reminded him that he was out of beer. He'd have to get some at the grocery store, since the convenience store was dead to him now. He couldn’t go back there, wouldn’t go back, not if there was a chance he’d run into that guy again.

The shame of that word burned him up. That wasn’t who he was. Or, fuck, maybe it was. But it didn’t have to be.

He could apologize.

He would apologize. He needed to apologize.

He got up off the sofa and grabbed his keys – the buzz from the last of his beer almost gone – and drove to the convenience store to apologize...or maybe the esurient need in him was for forgiveness. Either way, he was prepared to grovel.

Of course the guy was gone by the time he got back, and he had to look into the stony face of the cashier. Medusa’s stare could not have been more deadly, and Eric didn’t even bother trying to charm her. “I need to talk to him.”

“Why? So you can verbally abuse him some more? Or are you looking to make it physical? After all, what’s a little fag bashing?”

He winced but didn’t look away. “I want to apologize.”

She didn’t look impressed. “Yeah, right. One of those ‘I’m sorry if you were offended’ apologies that you can shove right—”

“—No, no, no, I’m sorry I said it. I was wrong to say it, and stupid, and I didn’t mean it. Fuck.” He winced again. “I know you don’t believe me, but I feel bad about it.”

“You don’t even know him.”

“I know.”

She eyed him, her expression not softening one whit. “Wait there.”

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