The part that is highlighted is actually hard to understand and it is not something I could find in a dictionary. Can you help me paraphrasing that, please? And provide some similar example. Thank you.

...I didn’t know which was worse—the idea of my father’s remarrying for love or of his actively seeking out a stranger for companionship. My parents had had an arranged marriage, but there was a touch of romance about it, too, my father seeing my mother for the first time at a wedding and being so attracted that he had asked, the following week, for her hand. They had always been affectionate with each other, but it wasn’t until her illness that he seemed fully, recklessly, to fall in love with her, so that I was witness to a courtship that ought to have faded before I was born. He doted on her then, arriving home at our Bombay flat with flowers, lingering in bed with her in the mornings, going in late to work, wanting to be alone with her to the point where I, a teen-ager, felt in the way. “I thought,” he continued, “since your bedroom is a good size, of putting the girls together there. Would you mind terribly staying in the guest room when you visit, Kaushik? Most of your things are with you now anyway. It is just a matter of where to sleep.

1 Answer 1


Yes, this is an idiom. If you google "definition in the way" you will find numerous dictionary definitions, which should give you an understanding of the phrase's meaning. Here are some:

In a position that prevents something from happening or someone from moving:
Work often gets in the way of my social life.
It’s a small street, and he parked right in the way.

In someone's way, forming a hindrance, impediment, or obstruction:
She might have succeeded in her ambition, had not circumstances been in her way.
Also, in the way.

In a position to obstruct, hinder, or interfere.

The writer is saying that he felt that he was interfering with his father's ability to be alone with his mother.

You might have had difficulty finding this because you were looking under entries for way. However, if you look at a definition of way, you will usually see a list of idioms using the word at the bottom. Here is an example.

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