"What're you doing?"
Simon looked up hurriedly, afraid that one of the quarterbacks had found him. "Oh," he said, deflating. It was only Andy. "Nothing."
"Sitting here's a pretty good way to get your ass in a dumpster, kid." "Well, I don't know," Simon said, "It would be pretty hard for them –"
"To lift you?" Andy finished. "Yeah, yeah. You really have to shut up about that." He sat down beside Simon, grunting as he did so. "I'm worried that this team has gotten you self-deprecating too much."
Simon shrugged, his flabby shoulders aching from the exertion. "Don't worry, it hasn't," he said quietly.
"I get it though," Andy said. "You know, why you're always so quiet. I mean, you're no Jackie, but you're slow to talk about yourself, right?"
Simon looked up, confused. He didn't always get what Andy meant.
"Nobody feels sorry for the fat kid," Andy announced, with some stray enthusiasm. "You didn't lose a leg, or your brain cells, so you're not going to be anybody's pity-toy. And if you're not getting people to feel sorry for you, then the only thing they'll do is laugh. Right?"
Simon looked, bewildered and a little hurt. Yes… Andy was right. But why did he bring it up now? "What?" he asked, finally.
"Well, isn't that pretty much your story?" Andy asked.
"Yeah," Simon admitted. There was other crap, in his life though. His parents, everything at school. That was harder to talk about though. It was underneath his skin; why bring it up?
"If it makes you feel any better," Andy said, an odd smile on his face. "I get pitied by people all the time."
"You do?" Simon asked, before he could stop himself. Andy had always seemed too aloof for that stuff.
"Yeah," he said, shrugging. "Until people know me, of course. But you know, it's not that great. You kind of feel like shit. That's why I act the way I do."
"Well, no," Andy said. "But it's a start. Anyway, you ready to get on the bus?"
"Yeah," Simon said, sighing. Like usual, nothing had changed. Andy still understood the world, and Simon was stuck with ignorance and his potbelly. Just another day…