Having just been released from a grueling session of grammatical drilling and definition regurgitation, I found myself seated on the low tile windowsill of the high cafeteria windows. The others were behind her yelling, laughing with each other and chocolate milk. My eyes rested unfocused on the sunny pavement outside. My mind, too exhausted to resist or organize thoughts, allowed them to float freely. The vocabulary quiz had been demanding. Table: a piece of wood with four legs. Window: a sunny hole in the wall. Teacher: a grownup who gives children facts. These words were easily defined and thus easily absorbed into my bulging fourth grade vocabulary. Dumbfounded, Loathsome, hypocritical, liberated. I had an intuitive understanding of each word but ran in circles around its precise definition, from which the word itself was denied entry. Any word could show up on a vocabulary quiz. You had to be prepared. You had to know the definition. What if a word didn’t have a definition? This seemed to violate some universal law that guaranteed a way of explaining every word in equally meaningful terms. Otherwise, it just wouldn’t be fair. A 100% and smiley face sticker on the quiz would be out of anyone’s grasp.

How: In what way? Why: how come? Where: what place? Even these little in between words had definitions.

Is: How is