How to use a word that literally drives some people nuts. The awkward case of 'his or her'. Test your visual vocabulary with our question challenge!
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Share I have been there. Resources for I have been there Time Traveler! Explore the year a word first appeared. Statistics for I have been there Look-up Popularity. Comments on I have been there What made you want to look up I have been there? Get Word of the Day daily email! Ionian mode rococo a cappella balladry. Need even more definitions? Ask the Editors Ghost Word The story of an imaginary word that managed to sneak past our editors and enter the dictionary. Mabel soaks their father's chest with tears.
He's vaguely aware of the concerned looks his parents are trading. To them, it's only been three months. Just a vacation with maybe a bump in the road, when Stan was having money problems. Nothing to be that upset about. They pile into the car and start the short drive back home. Mabel hugs Waddles to herself and drifts off to sleep again, cheek pressed to the window. Their parents become even more visibly worried, no doubt having expected a chatterbox deluge from his sister: Mabel sleeps easily on trips but always comes alive on arrival.
They don't understand what she's left behind, and what it cost her. Dipper's tired silence draws much less attention.
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He can hide behind expectations. California is just outside the window, and for a place that's been the focus of so much media, it looks utterly unremarkable. Before long they are in Piedmont and in their driveway in front of their two-story house that looks more or less like all the other two-story houses on the street, and there isn't a single trap door, bizarre attraction or secret room to be found within.
The inside of the house smells like clean carpet and air conditioning; after three months in the Shack, it smells like a hotel. Dipper drops his bag and Mabel's suitcase in the entryway and feels as if he's just shed his skin. He doesn't know how to tell her that home is six hours away and everything old is alien. You and Mabel can tell us all about it tomorrow. She smiles down at him, happy to see her son back in their neat suburban home with its white walls, three beds and two baths.
And Dipper's heart squeezes with so much horror it nearly brings him to his knees when he thinks of how close she came to annihilation. He pushes the feeling as far down into his gut as it will settle and stretches his mouth into a smile. We learned a lot about business, and… fiscal things. Stan had been willing to lose everything he was and ever would be to save his family. Dipper doesn't know what kind of role model would be better than that. You need to get up at a decent time tomorrow, we've got school shopping to do.
Dipper chooses not to think about that, not yet.
He plods his way upstairs and makes a stop at the bathroom to brush his teeth. When picking up his toothbrush he reaches towards the wrong side of the sink, and automatically leans a bit to his left to account for the crooked floorboard that isn't there. The tile room smells like towels, bathmats and all-purpose cleaner.
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Dipper's nose still remembers the burn of sulfur, blood and boiling water. He looks into his own reflection and freezes, toothbrush prickly against his gums. He has the unshakable sensation that he's looking through a window, not a mirror, and another Dipper Tyrone?
For a long, shuddering second he's terrified to move because the reflection might not move the same way. And then what would that mean? It doesn't happen, of course. He's almost four hundred miles away from the place where something like that could happen. He spits in the sink and rinses the mint from his mouth. Downstairs, he can hear Mabel explaining that Waddles is an indoor pig. He pauses in the hallway to listen just long enough to determine if he'll have to intervene.
Their parents are used to dealing with and often shooting down Mabel's ever-shifting whims, and sometimes Dipper is able to lend her the weight of a rational argument. It's their first night back and the pig is still something of a surprise, so Mabel wins without his help, the contest ending with the stern declaration that if Waddles does his business in the house, she'll be the one cleaning it which was also the case at the Shack, so it's not much of a threat. When he walks into his room he turns on the light and stands near the door, surveying the scene.
It's his bed, his shelves and books, his computer. But there's a copy of The Elegant Universe lying on his pillow with a piece of tissue fluttering out the top as a hasty bookmark, and it's like someone else put it there.
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He remembers reading the book, he even remembers leaving it on his bed just before he left for vacation, but he is still so overwhelmed by a crushing sense of disassociation that it might as well have been one of the paper clones who left it there. Feeling something close to panic, he makes a fist and pushes it into his left thigh.
The pain is immediate, and intense. He's pressing on the deep bruise left by… Well, he doesn't actually know how it happened.
When it comes to moments of injury, he's spoiling for choice. But whatever its source, the bruise is proof. His old home can't make him crazy. He's just coming back to the way things were when he is not the way he was or something.
Then again, he sort of wants to stick his head out the window and scream until everyone knows how close they were to Armageddon. So maybe he is crazy. He sighs and pulls Wendy's hat off his head, running his fingers through his hair in agitation. He's dislocated something, and it's not physical.
The room, the house, the quiet street; he knows them all, but they aren't his. He's fallen through the mirror. He is surrounded by a ghost who wore his clothes and lived in this space, went to his school, ate in his kitchen. There are memories in every corner, attached to every object, but he can't touch them like he used to.
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