Impregnable (adjective)

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  1. Incapable of being taken by assault: unconquerable
  2. unassailable; also: impenetrable.

(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the Day, 8 September 2020)

Use it in a sentence

At first, he tried all the usual things. He presented Beth with flowers and chocolates, tickets to a show. Hands shaking slightly, he held them out to her, like a cat presenting his master with a dead mouse – the expression on her face held the same repugnance as the master. Without either of them exchanging a word, he would drop his hands, his head, swivel on his heel and walk away. He felt her eyes boring into the back of his head, willing him to burst into flames, he was sure of it. He felt the ridicule of everyone in the staff room too, crawling onto his back and making his neck itch.

But still. He felt compelled to keep trying. Her heart was not impregnable, it was just heavily fortified. He knew about her dead husband. Her childhood sweetheart that took his own life shortly after they were married. He knew she mourned him still, even after a decade or so. But all mourning must come to an end. Or at least a small gate must be cut into the fortress walls. He was no storming army – just an ordinary man.

He tried not to watch her too closely when he ate his lunch at work. Beth would sit at the same table every day and he would do the same, so that he could look at her out the corner of his eye without seeming too obvious. Her long brown hair would swing forward like a curtain as she bent her head forward, and his heart ached when she used her middle finger to hook it back up behind her ear, all the other fingers arcing away. She chewed her food solemnly, staring ahead, always poised and erect, and never slumped on one elbow.

One day, he gathered up the usual courage and walked as casually as he could towards her. Her eyes followed him as he crossed the room and when he stood in front of him, she looked at him without lifting her chin.

‘Your husband is at the same cemetery as my wife,’ he told her.

It was true. Possibly, it was why he loved Beth so much. He knew her suffering and knew that the constant anguish in her eyes was only a reflection of his. They both held fast to their memories, wearing them like clothes, close to the skin.

‘She died six years ago, in an accident. Can I take you there Sunday? We can both bring flowers.’

She nodded, a small movement at first, and then a long acknowledging nod. She gave him a small smile, ‘I’d like that.’ Then she cocked her head sideways, ‘Would you like to sit down?’

He smiled broadly. ‘I would.’

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