Gaudiloquent (adjective) entered the English language in 1656 and departed the lexicon in 1727. That is too short a lifespan for a word that means speaking joyfully or on joyful matters. After stumbling over its gravestone this morning, I enjoyed a gaudiloquent moment before the “to do” list turned into a howler: one of those letters delivered by owls at Hogwarts that yells, screams, and berates the receiver.

At 4 a.m., Vasaniti’s gaudiloquent voice wished me Happy Birthday from India. Why did she have to remind me so early that I’m a year crabbier and a size larger? At a more civilized hour, I got up annoyed that the body I once hardly felt commanded every joint to remind me exactly where the pieces fit together. When did morning time become Advil time, anyway?

But everyone has a gaudiloquent birthday memory, and here is mine:

I was 16 and the florist truck pulled into our driveway for the very first time. Roses! My mother beamed beside me as I tore open the envelope. My face fell when I read the card. “Happy Birthday, Love Deanna.” My mother said, “A girlfriend is a friend for life, and someday you will understand how very much these flowers mean.”

Yeah, right.

My boyfriend gave me a thesaurus wrapped in plaid paper.

The roses died within a week, but Deanna and I were best friends until she died three years ago. When I was 17, the boyfriend and I kissed goodbye. I still have the thesaurus.


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