I've been getting quite a bit of fan art lately and I've made it a habit of dedicating a chapter to each artist so I will, within the next few chapters, be acknowledging everyone. This particular chapter—however short and yet important!—is dedicated to Suicidal Satire who drew a fabulous depiction of Tweek. The link is on my profile and I would appreciate it if you took the time to look (:
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.
Thomas's point of view:
I could remember that first day when Tweek had realized his crush on Craig, that initial spark of interest which had set off an irrefutable awakening of enlightenment. And I had been so goddamn happy because I'd been waiting for that moment. Tweek's denial and obliviousness had been the most insufferable thing. I'd no longer had to be the lone gay boy.
He'd been so fraught by his own emotions, frustratedly inquiring me as to whether or not his feelings were actually that of a crush or just false alarm. It had been the funniest conversation we'd ever had because after rambling about how he couldn't possibly like Craig—"he's a dude. He's a person! I can't worry about crushes, I need to worry about my health!"—he'd clearly stated: "But he's just so cute, Thomas."
"Uh—yes, Tweek," I'd had to say. "You definitely have a crush."
The very next day after coming to terms with this predicament, Tweek had slammed head first into Craig himself.
It had only been the second week of school. Tweek and I had just began heading for the cafeteria through a hallway we hadn't yet been familiarized with and Tweek had run into him right there, got his first big whiff of Craig's scent as I liked to joke, and apparently he smelled like vanilla and cigarettes. Craig had said "Excuse me," polite despite the off-putting, ever-present nonchalance of his persona.
Tweek had never been so scared of an outside force before, and after getting away from Craig and taking me with him, he'd started hyperventilating in an empty classroom which had then caused him to cry because he hadn't been able to breathe.
We had been twelve years old at the time, new to puberty and fresh into junior high.
All the boys had been in the same unfortunate condition, though I distinctly remember Craig never being the awkward type. He'd always been proportionate—never having to grow into his feet or learn how to make his body cohesive with his walk. And while everyone around him came of age, tried to figure themselves out, he'd known exactly who he was the entire time.
Girls had thought of him as astronomically hot, and still did if Kenny's word could be trusted. The girls would whisper about him and giggle when he was near. I could never blame them. He'd been popular but uninterested. Craig had been the boy with long hair and pretty eyes. He'd hung out with all of the other astronomically hot boys, too.
So it was an anomaly that it took as long as it did for me to crush on him as well. I don't know if it was for me or for him that I did so, and Tweek had never minded because I never made a move. Part of me wouldn't mind getting with Craig Tucker, but another part might've been using that as an excuse to tempt Tweek out of his prude and conservative ball of timidity. I'd spoken quite vulgarly about Craig throughout freshman year in the hopes that Tweek would do the same.
Not once did he ever respond to my "talks" in the way I would've liked, though. He refused to acknowledge his crush in an intimate way. Once, I had asked if he wanted to hold Craig's hand. He'd said he did. Another time I had asked that, if he could kiss Craig, whether or not he would. He'd said to me he would. Anything more than that, though, and he'd glare at me. It was like in Tweek's world, the only sexual exchange that existed was a kiss, and I think that once it occurred to me that I was getting nowhere with him, that's when I had decided to drop my "crush" on Craig.
In Tweek's head there were certainly some questionable scenarios, I was sure. He'd just always been too embarrassed to speak to me about them. It wasn't like I'd been seriously interested anyways. Craig hadn't been exclusive to me like he was for Tweek. I'd liked other guys at the time and even had a few boyfriends, but I would found myself circling back to Craig whenever those didn't worked out. For a while at least. All of my attempts to broaden Tweek's sex drive had ended up futile and sometimes giving up was more helpful than not.
That had been tenth grade, our memorable sophomore year. During that time, Tweek had finally admitted to a select few that he had been staving over a slight obsession with Craig Tucker. It had been three years already, but I hadn't been surprised. Tweek hadn't ever liked him for the same reasons everyone else did. He liked Craig for the things that stuck, the things that made a feeling like adoration unwavering. It was the delicacy entreated to Stripe and the narrowed eyes at the boys who gave his baby sister a good long look because she'd been a freshman at the time and Craig was surprisingly the protective big brother type.
It was my belief that Tweek was attracted to those qualities because he wanted to be handled with delicacy too. He wanted to be protected. Not by anybody, but by the guy who nobody expected it from. Everybody cared, it was just that Craig did in ways unusual to others. In a way that appealed to Tweek. Not only that, but he was capable of the protection he assumed.
There had been a fight one day near the end of sophomore year. Clyde had offended some guy by hitting on his girlfriend, and the guy had found it appropriate to beat it into Clyde the common sense that was supposed to come when regarding another's "property". It had been a good line at the time, and in the heat of the moment, everyone had interpreted it as the most threatening of warnings. Everyone except for Craig of course. After hearing that particular spiel, he'd promptly called out "bullshit" which had then set off the fight.
Craig had appeared entertained for what had seemed like the first time, and it had been funny to him up until Clyde's head hit the concrete. Craig kind of won by default since his entry had been uncalled for. That and he'd jumped in so fast. I can still recall the way he'd dove toward the guy and knocked him to the ground. Grabbed him by the hair and shoved his face into bits and pieces of gravel on the pavement; picked his head up and bent over, screamed in his ear, "You like that?" While Clyde had returned to his feet, Token had needed to pry Craig off the guy still saying things like, "Fuck you! Fuck you and your girlfriend!"
Tweek would never admit it, but he'd found it intense. Anything that Craig Tucker did was intense to him.
And by eleventh grade, it was just sweet how hard he was crushing.
Craig hadn't even known, but Tweek would make the most valiant attempts to please him. At one point he'd worked in the cafeteria and every day had managed to save Craig pizza when that was always the first meal to go. He'd distract their teachers when Craig was late and would sneak into class. One time he'd checked out a book from the library for a project which had coincidentally been the same one that Craig also wanted. Tweek had gotten it to him somehow and had failed his project, but he'd been so proud of himself because later on he'd overheard Craig talking about how good of a book it'd been.
Whoever couldn't tell by then that my poor best friend was yearning for an oblivious boy was a fucking idiot. Tweek would stare after him with a look of pure amazement as though he couldn't comprehend how a guy like Craig existed. It would be the softest, most fragile expression he wore. When Craig was Craig, he was happy. When Craig was something else, he responded accordingly. Tweek would set off like a firecracker if the guy so much as walked past him. And the rare chance that he happened to get glanced at—oh, he exploded.
Nobody had known, but we'd only get that last year with him. I'd been conflicted by the thought that both Clyde and Token would be leaving as well, but Craig was the one who mattered because he'd mattered to Tweek. I'd been referring to him as Tweek's for years by then, and that first time hearing the news had been the worst. "Did you hear?" Tweek had asked, and he'd been so sad. "Craig's moving."
And then four years had passed, the first of which I'd been terrified. Tweek's mental health had plummeted. He'd gone back to seeing Dr. Norris weekly and I hadn't known what to do. There wasn't anything I could say to an unstable boy that would return to him the one thing he'd unintentionally attached himself to, his one constant.
What brought him back had ended up being the coffeehouse. Something in there had turned him into a workaholic, but it'd revived him, so I wasn't about to question the cause.
For the past three years he's been under a steady rehabilitation, has even gained more health than that of which he'd had before Craig's leave. Sleep never repaired quite like it used to be, though. Tweek's always had a rough time with nightmares and insomnia. The dull rings around his eyes were a permanent reflection of that.
It might've taken a while, but we were twenty now, and while Kenny had been planning to take Tweek to see Craig, I had known the entire time.