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ballad of big nothing

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Blue talked about the ocean between people. And how the whole point of everything is to find a shore worth swimming to.

This is a feeling that Simon has known for all of his life, has known the edges of want and bitter sweetness of trials ever since he was a young boy, and yet. And yet he never had the words to explain this thing he was feeling – like it was the case in so many situations, and even more so the more he grows up, the more he becomes a part of the hazy years of being a teenager.

Until Blue.

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Simon’s universe started like this: mom, dad and Alice. Of course, he has no actual memories of that time, but sometimes he likes to imagine the smallness of the world as he had yet to know it, the vastness of possibilities life laid at his feet. The infinite ocean he had yet to cross to form relationships and the ever changing currents of it.

And yet, he remembers Nora, red faced from crying and hiding her small face in their father’s shoulders as their mother kneeled in front both him and Alice, checking out bruised palms and scraped fingers. Back then, when Alice would start running, so fast Nora’s eyes went a little wide, Simon never hesitated to reach out, to grab her arm, dragging his little sister as well. They ran, as they usually did, holding hands, and when one tripped, they all fell in a heap of tangled limbs and efforts to not be the first one to cry.

Nora was the first, more scared than hurt – because, Simon is even now sure her knee was very safely pushing onto his stomach, her face tucked at Alice’s chest. And as their mother started disinfecting their small injuries, Simon has wanted to cry as well, then, seeing Nora fast asleep on the couch and hissing at the stung.

“Don’t cry, bub!” Alice said, reaching out for his hand, and he held it tight and even tighter as she grimaced when it was her turn.

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He didn’t tell this to anyone, but despite having the same refrain repeated when his big sister left for university, he still cried, just a little bit, for what he was losing, for the distance he was gaining.

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His dad invented the concept of Simon logic and his mother came up with these piling rules that somehow never felt stupid or too much. He’s pretty sure Nora was the first one who ever asked for an Oreo box when they went shopping, and since then his life got chanced forever. And sometimes, as Nora moves just the slightest bit to the left on the couch, to allow him to sit next to her as she reads, and shares her food with him even if he’s not hungry and maybe she still is a little bit; or as his father apologizes for the rare moments when he’s annoying or just plain wrong; or as his mother allows him something he never even thought to ask about… his family is pretty great.

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With Nick he forms the perfect swimming team. When one pushes hard, the other steps back. When one wants space, the other gives it. When one wants to watch Adventure Time, the other already has his popcorn ready. Simon doesn’t really care about video games, but he thinks this might be the only subject they can’t talk about in detail, when it’s 3 am and they stare at the same ceiling and nudge each other if there’s snoring to be heard. He likes the easiness with which they read each other, like there’s a language only they can speak, the fast agreements and even easier to pass small disagreements.

Together, in the early years when they only have each other, they build a boat to sail through the world by each other’s side. And, as if the world has waited exactly just for that, they gave them more inhabitants.

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Leah might laugh at his patterned pajama pants or comment upon the huge number of times he can listen on repeat the same song. But she never laughs at him, at the things that make up who he truly is. She is never shy or weird about letting him know she is there and willing to be there for as long as he allows it, and it’s a profoundly comfortable feeling, to know that he has found his home-base, the place where he will be grounded, where the love he feels for two special people will always somehow anchor him.  She never truly says what she thinks, and yet Simon finds he can read her, always, like an open book and he relish in the certainty that it goes the same way for her.

Leah, who looks at him and it’s like the word best friends is written in the smallest of smile she gives him, and he loves her all the more for it, and is scared of her all the more for it. If anything, Leah is the eye of the hurricane, and it’s nice to know she gives him the choice of always jumping right in into a universe that is solely hers.

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It’s stupid how rarely he actually tells these important people in his life how much he loves them.

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Abby is everything that all his other friends and acquaintances are not. She is the easiness with which courage comes in one single second of pure abandon, and the newness of an ice-cream flavor he never tasted before. She talks like she knows, at the same time, nothing and everything of the world. She makes him feel like the times when he ever doubted himself never existed, simply because of how true to herself she is. Sometimes, Simon wants to be just like her – and then Abby turns, smiling in a weird way that reminds him that every story has some parts hidden (Blue, and his unknown real name, his unknown face pop in his head and -) and he’s suddenly glad to be himself, a Simon in the way only he knows how to be.

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These people… they all making up, in some way, a part of who he is. Simon is proud of his choices, and so, with every breathe he takes, he makes sure he keeps them close enough.

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And then there’s Blue, with whom he never felt a distance to begin with. Blue, the boy who have always made him feel welcomed on that one browser page where his e-mail account was open, that has known how to give comfort and later on, love, through mere words. Blue, the boy who, despite being a puzzle he didn’t manage to solve, have always felt like being only one brilliant idea, one courageous leap away.

Then there’s no Blue, because he turns into Bram. His boyfriend. His brown eyed, grammar nerd, soccer star boyfriend.  Bram, who kisses him like nothing will ever end again, and who makes Simon kiss him back in agreement.

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And, Simon thinks, if he’ll have to keep reintroducing himself to the universe, then: hello, from Simon Spier. Gay.  The guy who gets to choose what is and what is not a big deal, what is and what is not a big nothing.