Callous (adjective)

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1 a. being hardened and thickened

b. having calluses

2 a. feeling no emotion

b. feeling or showing no sympathy for others: hard-hearted

(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the day, 16 July 2020

Use it in a sentence

He collected all of the cups, wine glasses, spoons and empty snack bowls, and loaded them into the dish washer.  Then he took the big bin out from the pantry and with that in one hand, he went around the room, picking up crumpled napkins, empty sachets of instant coffee, sugar packets, random pens. ‘Like a bloody student café, this place’.

He set the bin down and turned his attention to the kitchen table. He drew together weeks’ worth of magazines, books, newspapers, and assorted, stray papers strewn all over the surface and massaged them into one neat pile.

She walked in as he straightened the pile. She stared at him a moment, then in a low voice, said, ‘What are you doing?’

They both stood still for a moment, sizing each other up.

He looked around, gestured around the room, at the stack of papers. ‘I’m tidying up, that’s what I’m doing. Like I’ve asked you to do a hundred times at least. I can’t sit at this table, I can’t eat at it for fear of getting food on one of your bloody books.’

This set him in motion again. He went back to his frenzy of repositioning, tucking, dusting. He stooped down and picked up a folder full of journal articles, pages torn from magazines, scribbled notes, all sitting on the floor, and set them on top of the swaying pile.

‘That’s my stuff’, she growled.  

‘Oh year’, he snorted. He held up a take-away container still half full of cold, congealed noodles from two nights ago. ‘You want this?’ He grimaced at it before throwing it violently in his bin.

‘Disgusting’, he muttered.

‘You’re such an uptight, clean freak. Get a life, jerk. And get away from my stuff, you’ve got no business touching those things’.

He looked up at her. ‘Oh, sorry,’ he said. ‘I wouldn’t want to mess up your important work.’ He was sarcastic and sneering, and without breaking eye contact, he swept his arm dramatically across the table, sweeping all of her papers, notes, books (some of them from the library) right into his bin. They both heard the soft plop of noodles coming into contact with recycled white paper.

She gasped, her hand instinctively reaching out. But she was rooted to the spot, anger thrumming through her like a fever. They glared at each other.

‘That was a callous move, shithead’.

He leered at her. ‘Honey, I’m just getting started’.

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