How to Explain Colour
How to Explain Colour ໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ and friends stories
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jojojello
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An alien named ໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ is taught about human colours

How to Explain Colour

໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レlearned of colour slowly.

Xir humans friends had determined that xe could see by human standards, though it did not work the same way

Xir humans friends had determined that xe could see by human standards, though it did not work the same way (the more xe learned about "eyeballs," the more horrified ໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ became about the entire concept.)

Though xe perceived shapes, objects, and depth similarly to the humans — even further and better than them, for the most part, especially when there was little light present — they kept calling xir "colourblind."

໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ was apparently missing the ability to understand some key aspect of the human world.

Most of xir human friends seemed to pity xir for it, disappointed that xe could not appreciate the beauty around them the way they could.

໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ tried to argue that xe saw plenty of beauty in their planet, especially in the movement of the air, and for the most part the subject was dropped after that.

Still, ໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ found xirself learning most of the humans' words for their "colours."

They mentioned colours constantly; almost every description xe had ever heard from them included some mention of colour.

They mentioned colours constantly; almost every description xe had ever heard from them included some mention of colour. They complimented each other on the colours of their keratin, their clothes, even their eyeballs.

໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ had been on the receiving end of some of those compliments xirself, and had absolutely no idea what to make of it.

One of xir closest friends, whose name was near impossible to pronounce even with the universal translator's help so ໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ had permission to simply call him Abt, had noticed xir flummox one such time.

Though he did not bring it up at the time, more the quiet sort of human, the next time ໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ mentioned the rapid temperature-modifying effects of touching water while partaking in the necessary activity of "washing up," Abt said softly, "That's blue."

Xe recognized the word, but not the relevance.

"The chill you get when you jump into water, or go really high up," Abt elaborated. "That's what blue feels like."

"I was under the impression colours were something humans saw, not felt."

Abt shrugged, an action ໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ was finally starting to comprehend. "We also associate feelings to colours. Blue is calm and cold and stuff."

Xe could understand a connection between calm and cold, so ໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ accepted the sensations could be connected to a colour as well. "Do another one."

Abt thought for a moment. "Red is like, blue's opposite. It's hot — remember sitting around the fire? That feeling was red. Red is angry. It's sweet, too, and bold."

That was more for ໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ to attempt to process. "Show me," xe requested. Abt grinned.

"Remember that joke from TV that you hated because-"

"Remember that joke from TV that you hated because-" "IT MADE NO SENSE!" ໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ interrupted.

"It had no elements of humour, yet they applied a laugh track?! It may be a falsehood to even call it a joke! Jokes are..." Xe trailed off, noticing Abt laughing at the rant ໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ was now realizing he'd known xe would go on.

"Feel that anger? That's red," Abt said. Though it was quickly fading, xe felt it. "Anger is hot to us, because of how our blood moves or something. So, red."

"Hot anger," xe murmured, making Abt nod.

"And hot embarrassment, and really strong laughter, that stuff also turns us red." He paused for a moment. "Fear is cold, so blue."

"Are all your colours based off temperature?"

"Nah, those are just the easiest to explain. Like, yellow, right? It's the colour of sunshine, so we should associate it with warmth, but it actually feels like more of a cooler colour. Even when it's intense."

໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ quietly stored away the information that colours could vary in intensity like starlight, processing all Abt had told xir while he seemed to think more on it.

"Orange is pretty warm though. Because of fire, probably. It's halfway in between red and yellow."

"I thought you said not all your colours are based off temperature."

"Okay, so maybe they all are warm or cool. Actually, I think that might be a thing in fashion? You should ask Ez about it."

Ezra had designated themself ໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ's Earth Stylist. "Colours are important in clothing, correct?"

"Usually, yeah. It's all about how nice someone wants to look."

໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ attempted to nod. Abt seemed to understand the intention and smiled, which was reassuring. "Thank you."

"No problem, dude. You're always talking about the wild things you can sense, thought I'd return the favour."

"I am fairly certain this is the first time one of you has acknowledged your biology is just as awesome as you all make mine out to be."

Abt's smile grew. He looked touched. "Well, y'know, you're the alien here."

"Exactly," ໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ agreed. "I get to witness your incredibility in the environment you are perfectly suited to. I feel like..." Xe hesitated, the translator taking a moment to find a suitable equivalent to xir word choice. "A fish out of water."

Abt laughed. "Yeah, but you can't feel the water's coolness if you don't know what it's like outside of it. You know we're just glad to get to know you, right?"

There was a pause. "I do now," ໓҉ |ʞ̵̨̱̗̩͙̥͚͕͎̺̎̏̍ǫ̵̨͎͍̭͇̻͍͋Ꮈ๔ºງհ҉ レ said. Abt chuckled again and led xir away from the sink.

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