Since I was a little girl, I’ve been fascinated by the word complications. It’s such a dramatically vague word. Sitting on the cold metal folding chairs in prayer rooms, swinging my short legs, I listened to the older ladies say dramatically around the peppermint in their mouth, or say softly, looking down at their hands, “Pray for so and so. She’s having complications.” I liked the way that some of them pronounced the ‘p’ so intently, nodding their head as if every other woman in the room but me was privy to inside information.
Complications. It was a delicious word, full of intrigue for a little girl who wanted to know every detail—-no matter how it might have horrified me or made me blush. “Don’t stop there,” I wanted to blurt out. “Tell me more. What kind of complications?”
I guess I still do have a fascination with words—I collect them: feckless, callow, daiquiri, purl, paraffin, clandestine, voluptuous, antebellum, serendipity, bangle, almandine, barracuda—oh, the list could go on and on. I remember the first time I saw or heard most of them and snatched them up to be added to my list and to practice saying them just because I liked the way they sounded.
But I don’t collect words the way that some people collect dollar store trinkets to sit on shelves and gather dust; I collect them to use them, to explore them and their stories.
I don’t know—maybe I’m just weird. I guess it’s just one of my–complications.