Hi. My name is Marissa. I'm not going to waste your time and talk about myself because you won't remember long enough to finish this story.
What you will remember is Willow. She's a pet. She's my pet. As soon as I saw her on the street, alone and scared, I had to adopt her.
She's adorable. She and her little friends are all adorable. My mom, otherwise known as Mrs. Godzilla, is always telling me that I need to get rid of my pets. What does she know? She doesn't understand.
Get that thing out of my house.
Eww. What is that?
None of your business.
It's so ugly.
So is your third husband... but no one's counting.
She'll never understand. Willow is my best friend. She's the only real friend I've ever had. When I come home from school on a bad day, she'd jump into my arms and I'd lift her to my face and kiss her.
I would go taking her walking in the mornings. Well, I'd do most of the walking because someone may slip and fall on her.
When it's really cold outside, I'd make sure not to leave the house without warming up my mittens on the heater. When it's really hot, I'll have a water bottle waiting for her when she needs it.
One time, the police caught me pouring water on the sidewalk and asked me what I was doing. I said that I was letting my pet drink water.
He looked around but he didn't see anyone. I held out my hand to show him. He squinted so tight that his tightly knitted eyebrows looked like a fuzzy caterpillar crawling on his face.
He said he didn't see anything in my hand. I guess it was my fault I wore brown gloves that day. I told him what she was and her name but he just laughed.
"That's not a pet! Put that back on the ground! It might have rabies or somethin'."
"No sir, she doesn't."
"Well, if you're content..."
"Yeah, I am."
"I'm going to let you off with a warning. If you need to give your pet a drink, do it in the grass next time."
He held both his hands up when he said pet.
He's just like my mom, a human Godzilla. I think he was prepared to step on her if I really did put her back on the ground.
Then there was one time my sister came back into town after her honeymoon. She walked straight into my room and saw me talking to Willow.
We were watching Avengers Endgame and Willow asked me wh the purple guy was.
My sister, Brittany, said: "Who are you talking to?"
"None of your business."
"Well fine. If I actually cared, I'd let you know."
"But you walked in my room. You asked the question. Sees to me like you did care."
Then she stomped away back to wherever she came from. You would think a newlywed would have a newly mature mind.
Then my mother came into the room. What is up with people just barging into my room at random times? You have no clue what I can be doing in there. That's why the door is closed.
"Honey, you upset your sister."
"Is she crying?"
"Is she bleeding?"
"Is she dying?"
"God, I hope not."
"Well then she's fine."
"Marissa Jade! You go apologize to Brittany right now!"
So I picked up Willow and put her back in her cage. I made sure I left some popcorn next to her breakfast bowl.
Then I trudged downstairs to see Brittany with a hint of a smug smile on her face.
I muttered an apology and trudged right back up the stairs, making sure they heard my feet cross over into my room and the door slam shut.
I remember one time I snuck Willow to school with me. I was in 6th grade and everyone was doing it. Sneaking their pets to school with them, I mean.
In third grade, a kid named Todd Matthews brought his dog to school. Kind of hard trying to sneak a 27 pound, pregnant, Mudi into school without anyone noticing.
Her name was Jewel, he said. He almost got through the day without anyone noticing, I don't know how, but then Jewel started to go into labor. And Jewel had three babies: one girl and two boys.
Of course, being in third grade, a dog birth was disgusting, but when we saw the babies couldn't stop staring and giving oohs and ahs.
He got in big trouble with the principal and ended up going home, staying home for the rest of the week. My bringing Willow to school had a very different effect on other people.
See, everyone thinks that Willow would hurt them. They thought that she was dangerous. I tried to show my science teacher, Mr. Colone, but he told me that Willow belonged outside.
I didn't listen to him.
I kept her in my lunch bag, making sure nothing was squishing her and that she had enough to eat, and cracked the zipper so she could breathe. I mean, she was small enough to fit but I eat like an animal!
As I was going to my last class of the day, someone asked me what was on my shoulder. To be completely honest, I didn't even know she had gotten out.
All of a sudden, everyone was coming towards me with books and their hands prepped to slap the black off your momma.
I looked down and realized Willow was sitting there, chilling on my shoulder. Now I'm not the superhero type, but I think I saved Willow's life back then. I don't even think she's said thank you for all the times I rescued her from her last day on Earth.
And that one time when I called my grandpa. He asked me if I had anything new going on.
"Not that I'm aware of, PawPaw."
"Well you've got to have something different than the last time I called you."
"I got a new pet!"
"Oh wow! What is it? Does it have a name?"
"Yes. Her name is Willow and she gives me the best hugs and kisses. I can't stop picking her up and I think she feels the same way about me."
"That's wonderful, sweetheart!"
"Yeah! And she has this beautiful brown coat that shines in the sun. And her bark is definitely bigger than her bite..."
"That's wonderful, sweetheart."
I don't think he really listened to what I was saying. Thinking back, you may think that I was talking about a dog. But I really wasn't.
If only you all knew Willow was a stickbug.