“I actually think people would be cool about it,” Martin says. “You should be who you are.”
I don't even know where to begin with that. Some straight kid who barely knows me, advising me on coming out.
“Remember the way people would look at you blankly and say, ‘Um, okaaay,’ after you finished talking? Everyone just had to make it so clear that, whatever you were thinking or feeling, you were totally alone. The worst part, of course, was that I did the same thing to other people.”
If Blue were a real junior at Creekwood with a locker and a GPA and a Facebook profile, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be telling him anything. I mean, he is a real junior at Creekwood. I know that. But in a way, he lives in my laptop.
Like the way you can memorize someone's gestures but never know their thoughts. And the feeling that people are like houses with vast rooms and tiny windows.
Leah once said that she'd rather have people call her fat directly than have to sit there and listen to them talking shit about some other girl's weight. I actually think I agree with that. Nothing is worse than the secret humiliation of being insulted by proxy.
“I completely see the appeal of being someone else for the evening (or in general). Actually, I was a bit of a one-trick pony myself when I was little. I was always a superhero. I guess I liked to imagine myself having this complicated secret identity. Maybe I still do. Maybe that's the whole point of these emails.”
I need to spend some time in my head with this new Simon. My parents have a way of ruining things like this. They get so curious. It's like they have this idea of me, and whenever I step outside of that, it blows their minds. There's something so embarrassing about that in a way I can't even describe.
But I'm tired of coming out. All I ever do is come out. I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways. I get a girlfriend. I have a beer. And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.
So here's the thing: Simon means “the one who hears” and Spier means “the one who watches.” Which means I was basically destined to be nosy.
I mean, how does a person look when his walls are coming down?
I hate feeling so distant from Nick and Leah. It's not like keeping a normal crush a secret, because we never talk about our crushes anyway, and it works out fine. Even Leah's crush on Nick. I see it, and I'm sure Nick sees it, but there's this unspoken agreement that we never talk about it.
“As a side note, don't you think everyone should have to come out? Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it should be this big awkward thing whether you're straight, gay, bi, or whatever.”
“It is definitely annoying that straight (and white, for that matter) is the default, and that the only people who have to think about their identity are the ones who don't fit that mold.”
It's Christmas Eve day, and something feels a little bit off.
Not bad, just off. I don't know how to explain it. We're hitting everyone of the Spier traditions.
In this moment, all I want is for things to feel like Christmas again. I want it to feel how it used to feel.
“And you know what? You don't get to say it's not a big thing. This is a big fucking thing, okay? This was supposed to be—this is mine. I'm supposed to decide when and where and who knows and how I want to say it.”
The problem is, I'm beginning to realize I hardly know anything about anyone. I mean I generally know who's a virgin. But I don't have a clue whether most people's parents are divorced, or what their parents do for a living […] And these are my best friends. I've always thought of myself as nosy, but I guess I'm just nosy about stupid stuff.
“I feel stupid for not knowing that,” I say.
“Why would you feel stupid? I guess I never mentioned it.”
“But I never asked.”
“But they're supposed to be Alice and Nora. They're not supposed to be different,” I explain.
“They're not allowed to change?” Abby laughs. “But you're changing. You're different than you were five months ago.”
“I'm not different!"
“Simon, I just watched you pick up a random guy in a gay bar. You're wearing eyeliner. And you're completely wasted.”
“I owe you an apology, kid.”
I look up at him.
“What you said on Friday. About the gay jokes.”
“It's just, you know. I get that you were in a difficult position. But you don't get to make the decisions about my love life. I choose who I date.” She shrugs. “I would think you would understand that.”
It's weird, because of all the things I feel guilty about, it never occurred to me to feel guilty about Abby. But I'm a fucking idiot. Because who you like can't be forced or persuaded or manipulated. If anyone knows that, it's me.
I'm a shitty friend.
But then I think about Ms. Albright making it her life's mission to get those in-tha-butt guys suspended. And how pissed off and determined she looked, slapping the handbook down on that chair backstage.
I wish I had brought her another bouquet or a card or a freaking tiara. I don't know. Something just from me.
I guess I assumed that Blue would be white. Which kind of makes me want to smack myself. White shouldn't be the default any more than straight should be the default. There shouldn't even be a default.