I was so stunned by her sudden change of mood that I couldn’t process her words. I just stood there staring at her. She swung her schoolbag as if she were about to hit me on the head with it, but changed her mind and ran off toward her entrance. I went home, crying. I cried on and off for the rest of the day . My grandmother and then my mother kept asking me what was wrong, but I wouldn’t say. I didn’t really understand it myself. Perhaps what I was feeling was shame—not just the mortification of having made the wrong assumption about Tania’s father but the deeper, sickening humiliation of ** being excluded from the **élite group of children who had fathers.
(from Katania, published in The New Yorker).
What does it mean I couldn't process her words ?
What does it mean cry on and off ?
What does it mean sickening humiliation of , I mean what does sickening here mean?
What is an élite group ?