Willow loved her Mommy and Daddy. Willow loved Grunkle Stan
and Uncle Dipper. Willow loved the Shack and the Library and Miss Mack the
Lunch Lady and cartoons and the color smorqwakle. Willow loved lots of things.
And Willow loved her parents and uncles very very much so.
But she loved her brother and sister more.
It was mean, the reason why, and she knew better, she was
seven for Pete’s sake, she wasn’t dumb. Obviously you shouldn’t love one person
more than another. That wasn’t fair. And Willow was pretty sure that even if it
was true it should probably be the adults she loved most first, then her
triplets, and maybe Gompers in third.
But Acacia and Hank had never given her the Look.
She wasn’t stupid. She and Hank were in TAG after all.
(Or as Acacia called it, “your dumb special nerd
class.” But Willow could see in her colors that she wasn’t trying to be
mean. She was glad not to have to do extra work and be away from her friends.)
Willow knew adults lied to kids all the time. She knew that
there were adults out there that could hurt her (many had already tried.) She
knew that there were adults that didn’t act like adults should.
Willow knew not everyone saw the colors she did. She knew
things that she knew she wasn’t supposed to know. And she knew by their colors
and the Look that her parents and uncles knew it too.
(Her fire, on the other hand, didn’t seem to worry them
anywhere near as much, which was just weird.)
Grunkle Stan gave her the Look when the colors flared up in
public and she pointed them out to him. His colors said he was worried he
wouldn’t understand enough to help her. His colors were sad because she
reminded him of someone, someone like her. He gave her the Look and she wanted
to scream because she didn’t need him to understand, she just wanted him to hug
her and just… Be there. Be her weird smelly old Grunkle. That’s all she
really wanted and needed from him.
Mommy gave her the Look when she ran to Mommy crying because
she had just seen a Bad Man at the grocery store and no one else could see that
he was Bad but here and looking at him made her feel dirty inside. Mommy gave
the best hugs because she was warm and squishy and half the time her sweaters
were scratch and sniff so she smelt good too. Willow didn’t mind the hugs; that’s
what she needed and wanted. She minded how Mommy looked at her like she was a baby. She knew that wasn’t what Mom
meant by the look and she knew she wasn’t being fair. But that’s what Mommy’s
Looks made her feel like; like she was small and dumb and couldn’t do anything,
just like when she had to sit out at recess because her asthma. Willow just
wanted Mommy to make things better, at least for a little bit, not take what
made her her away.
Uncle Dipper gave her the Look when she mentioned the flash
of color she saw on the mailman despite wearing her bubble. Or when she opened
her mouth and a voice that wasn’t hers came out. What made her so mad when Uncle Dipper gave her the Look was
that it was so confusing. He was the one that was teaching her about the colors
and her fire and what it meant when she woke up knowing Grunkle Stan shouldn’t
get in the car that morning. Uncle Dipper came in her dreams and took her
places in the Mindscape no other humans went to! They were going over a weird
spellbook he had gotten his last summon! He was teaching her everything she
knew so why did he get so… so… what was the word Mommy had used? Canstiparted.
Yeah, that sounded right. Why did Uncle Dipper Look at her all Canstiparted?
She couldn’t tell if she was doing something wrong but that couldn’t be it and
she was so confused sometimes she just wanted to kick a hole in the wall and
cry. She couldn’t even cheat and look at his colors. Uncle Dipper had told her
it would hurt her brain to look at his colors, but personally Willow thought he
was being a big dumb poop butt who didn’t want her to see what he actually
thought of her.
She could put up with all that though. She could come up
with reasons behind the Looks, even if, as with Uncle Dipper, it came down to
being a Big Stupid Poop Butt Face. Their Looks hurt but she understood, or she
tried her best to understand even when she didn’t want to be nice and just
wanted to be upset.
But nothing hurt her like when Daddy gave her the Look.
Just yesterday she had asked why Grunkle Stan always came
out of the basement a little sad, and she saw Daddy’s colors go down from
bright happy yellows to deep, terrible pinks. He Looked at her and around him
the pinks were so intense she could feel it like a fuzziness on her teeth.
Daddy was pink on Father’s Day sometimes. He was pink like that when they had
been in Bend with Uncle Dipper, and a man from one of the churches had pointed
at her and yelled mean things at her. (She wasn’t sure why Uncle Dipper had
called him a witchsniffer after he was done scaring him. Being a witch would
have been really cool, but she only Saw things.) Some days she saw he was a
little pink so she went over to cuddle him, but that just made him Look at her,
sigh, and get even more pink. Willow
didn’t get it. There was something there he hadn’t told the three of them, she
could see the bare edges of it in his pinks. But what was it? Why wouldn’t he
Was it something wrong with them?
Or was it something wrong with her?
Hank and Acacia never Looked at her. They never worried
about what she Saw or Said. They never bugged her about it. If they gave her
hugs, they were just hugs because they were worried about her and they loved
her; there was nothing extra in them. Her Sight wasn’t scary or freaky to them.
It was just another way to get some ice cream out of Stan or to get Jerry
McAllen in trouble for peeking under the stalls in the bathroom or figure out
if Daddy had made dessert that night. They didn’t expect anything of her. She
was just their sister who Saw a few extra things. That was it.
With her brother and sister, she was free.
And that was why, and she didn’t care, Willow really really really didn’t care about how bad it made
This week’s Idea Channel is about YouTube Poop, subversive remix and the idea of “cultural digestion.” I talk a little bit about the importance of understanding what media indicates is “normal” and also make some unavoidable and occasionally accidental poop jokes.