Histrionic (adjective)

Photo by Arwan Sutanto, via Unsplash

Definition

  1. deliberately affected: overly dramatic or emotional: theatrical
  2. of or relating to actors, acting, or the theater

(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the day, 10 July 2020)

Use it in a sentence

Even as a very little girl, Jasmine was prone to histrionic outbursts when she didn’t get her way. Even in the library, perhaps especially in the library, where it was quiet and still, and she could be guaranteed everyone’s full attention immediately. There was an unnerving self-awareness about her – the way she flicked her eyes around first, before her face went through a series of dramatic contortions. First, disbelief – eyes wide, mouth slightly open, an injured look. Then the distress, her expression crumpling, her nose wrinkling, eyes glassy. Last came the rage. The perfect circle her mouth made as she threw back her head and howled unreservedly. The snorting gasps for breath before releasing the next haunting wail.

Her mother would quickly gather up their things, scrambling to tidy up the picture books, tuck the tiny chair back under the table, all the while smiling meekly at the other children who were often stopped dead in their tracks by such a display. Jasmine would hurl herself to the floor, a dead weight, snot and tears streaming down her face.

She absolutely was not ready to go home yet.

Jasmine’s mother should have left her there, pretended to go home for milk and cookies without her. But she tried to coax and cajole, bribe and even reason with Jasmine, to no avail. In the end, Jasmine’s mother had to manhandle her out of there, suffering the hard stares of adults and children alike. She would awkwardly catch the handbag falling off her shoulder, whilst trying to avoid Jasmine’s flailing fists and hard patent leather shoes. The librarians had seen it happen too often and clucked rather unsympathetically.

Fifteen years later, not much had changed. Jasmine still knew how to put on a show, but her mother was only just learning to ignore her. In the café today, she watched Jasmine for a few minutes as she sobbed into her tea and hiccuped about how desperately she needed the money for a holiday in Byron. But Jasmine’s mother quietly got up, picked up her handbag and left.

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