I went to go see that movie "Super 8" with my dad, and within the first five minutes or so, I was already thinking about Klaine (I am shamelessly obsessed). One of the first scenes shows a boy sitting on a swing set in the snow. Regardless of everything else that was going on in that scene at the time, I was suddenly thinking to myself, "That's Blaine." I don't know why, it just felt like it to me. Immediately I made sure to store that memory away so I wouldn't forget it. That turned into this.
It's in first person, in Blaine's POV - sort of done like a journal, like Blaine is the one that typed it, not me. There are flaws, like tense change, but I felt that making everything "English teacher perfect" would rob Blaine of his storytelling, so I left it the way it was. It fills in a lot of Blaine's life/childhood/experiences pre-Kurt, all revolving around this swing set from his childhood, what we've seen on the show of Kurt and Blaine's relationship from his perspective, and a final scene set in the present to tie it all together.
Written June 17, 2011:
I remember when I was little, I always wanted a swing set. I asked for one at every Christmas and every birthday, and finally one Christmas morning I didn't find my gift under the tree. My mom told me to look out the window instead. Obviously, I spent as much of that particular December 25th outside as I possibly could, wrapped up in so many layers of clothing that I could barely hold on to the chains.
It always felt so wonderful on that swing. Sometimes I'd like to close my eyes, lean back, feel the rush of air against my face, and pretend that I was flying. It was always just a childish game, something that every kid has done. I never realized how much I would need that escape in the years to come—how I would need to feel like I could fly away from this place, even for a moment.
Often, my mom or dad would come outside with me after dinner, and they'd push me higher and higher into the air. I would laugh as the butterflies swirled in my stomach, and they would smile, glad that this gift hadn't ended up like many others I had received, underneath my bed collecting dust.
When I entered the new world of middle school and the pressures of having seven different teachers in seven different classes with their own rules, lesson plans, and mountains of homework, I found less and less time to be outside, and my favorite Christmas gift was neglected more often than not. Around that time, my parents' marriage began to get rocky. The tension we would feel at the dinner table as we tried to make small talk was excruciating. They tried to hide it from me at first, but I could always hear their fights downstairs after they'd thought I'd fallen asleep.
Their fights grew worse, and their relationship strained to a breaking point. As time went on, they didn't even bother to wait until I'd gone to bed to start arguing anymore, and they never noticed when I would slip out of the house and sit on my swing to escape the negativity found in every corner of our home. Eventually, my father stopped joining us at the family table, choosing to eat his meals in the living room alone. Mom and I never discussed it. For a period of months, they didn't even share the same bed. My father became a shell of his former self. His lighthearted, loving nature gave way to a bitter, irritable attitude. To this day, I still honestly don't know how they managed, or why they bothered, to honor their wedding vows and stay together.
Along with more difficult work, middle school also brought around puberty, and for me, terrifying realizations that I was different from the rest of my classmates. My friends would talk about the girls in our grade they thought were cute, and I would go along with their conversations, hoping that if I pretended to care enough, I might actually end up caring. Of course the attempt was futile. I couldn't change myself, no matter how much I denied it. I liked boys. I'd been taught that was wrong, immoral, unnatural, and to be honest, the whole situation scared the hell out of me.
My grades dropped along with my self-esteem. My appetite was non-existent during most meals. I constantly felt like there was something wrong with me. I couldn't be gay. That was supposed to be a choice people made…a bad choice, and I certainly hadn't decided this.
The shadow of my denial followed me everywhere for over a year before I finally decided to face it. I turned to the Internet for guidance, not having anyone I could actually go to. After months of wrestling with myself and navigating website after website, I was finally able to accept the truth. I was on that old swing, swaying back and forth. My eyes stared unseeingly out at the familiar yard as I tried to find the courage to take the next step. I could accept myself all I wanted, but the only way anyone else would know the truth was if I shared it. I jumped from the swing and landed smoothly on my feet. There was no time like the present, right? The sooner I did it, the better, I thought.
"Mom, Dad…" I took a shaky breath, "I'm gay."
The moment the words came out of my mouth, I felt the familiar shadow threatening to overtake me, the voice in my head insisting there was something wrong with me. My parents' expressions did nothing but urge it on, and I felt my palms sweating. My mother's face was purely shocked, while my father's quickly turned from shock to disgust.
His voice carried no sympathy. "I won't have you making a joke like that in my house."
"Dad, I'm not joking," I replied, hardly more than a whisper.
He pressed his lips together in a hard line and got to his feet, leaving the room without another word. Fighting back the lump in my throat and the tears in my eyes, I turned fearfully to my mother. She said nothing, her face expressionless as she tried to process the sudden information. I approached and desperately leaned into her, my head falling against her shoulder. It took a moment, but her arms wrapped securely around me, giving me the first flicker of hope I'd felt in several minutes. At least one of my parents might still love me.
In the time that followed, my dad tried to act as if the conversation had never taken place, but he began to treat me with the cold disregard one has for a suspicious looking stranger. His judgmental eyes would watch me when he thought I wasn't looking, as if he could see my gay from across the room and was afraid it might come after him in the night. As well as losing my father even further, as high school began I lost many of my close-minded friends with whom I had entrusted the truth.
I was picked on from the beginning of high school, despite still being in the closet to the rest of my classmates, due to my interests in theater and music. I loved watching sports, but I never felt the need to participate in the school teams. When I ultimately came out at the beginning of the second semester, I don't think my sexuality came as a surprise to anyone. Even so, the bullying became much more intense, ultimately leading up to the attack that left me in the hospital for several days. After the incident at the Sadie Hawkins' dance, I entered into one of the darkest periods of my life. The bruises and cuts healed with time, but the fear remained with me, and still my father showed no compassion. He even told me once that I had brought it all upon myself.
For the first time in my life, as I faced torment and ridicule everyday in the hallways, I considered leaving this world for good. Some evenings, I would go out to my old swing set and sit motionless on the flexible canvas. Gripping the now rusty chains, my thoughts strayed into dark, hopeless places. I thought back to my carefree childhood when this swing made me feel so free, like I was flying, and I thoughtfully wondered what it would feel like to let all of this go…how free I could feel if I flew away from my life altogether.
Luckily, fate had other plans for me. When my mom approached me at the end of my freshman year with a proposition of transferring schools in the fall, I jumped at the chance. Accepting my sexuality had been difficult for her, but in the end, her love for me overshadowed her presumptions about who I was. After the beating at the dance, she realized that she couldn't take me for granted, even if I never brought home any girlfriends or gave her a grandchild with my future wife. That summer, we spent many long days looking up schools in neighboring districts. My mom did not settle for anything less than a school where she knew I would be safe. We finally came across Dalton Academy's website, and we were both soon sold by the information we found on the navy and red colored web pages.
For the first time since my middle school years, I heard my parents begin to fight again. My mom arguing that I needed to feel safe to get a proper education and my dad insisting that we didn't have the money to send me to private school (when we all knew that we did). I'm fairly certain he just didn't want to waste his paycheck on a gay son. My mom never gave up, and by the time the enrollment period began she had won the fight. We drove down to Westerville early on a Saturday morning to tour the campus and get me registered for classes.
My first year at Dalton was such a different experience from my freshman year of high school that I almost couldn't believe it was real. I was initially shy, having learned that the best way to avoid bullies was to pretend you didn't exist and hope that they would start to forget you did too. My natural habits kept me quiet until Wesley Montgomery heard me singing in my dorm, knocked on my door, and invited me to the Warblers' next rehearsal.
After I joined, The Warblers quickly embraced me as a friend, and eventually became like brothers to me. Their complete acceptance brought out a side of myself that I had never known. The terrified story of a victim that I had been living for years was overshadowed by a newfound confidence and hunger for living life that I hadn't felt since my childhood. When I returned home for Christmas break, my mother was astounded by the transformation I'd undergone within the safe, mural-lined walls of Dalton Academy, even getting a little teary eyed as she welcomed me with a tight hug. My father's embrace was hollow, obligatory, but I refused to let it bother me; it was nothing new.
On Christmas Eve, I found myself back out on the old swing set, swaying back and forth as I thought about how far I had come from a year ago when I had sat here and considered death. Life had had other plans for me, and I was glad that whatever or whomever was in charge had kept me strong enough to carry on. Who knew what other wonderful things could be waiting just around the corner?
Sophomore year ended on a high note as the Warblers rose to victory at several competitions across the state of Ohio, partially thanks to the council's decision to let me take the lead solo of one our numbers. Back at home, summer vacation was uneventful. I spent many days in my bedroom, practicing piano, trying to write songs, and completing my summer reading assignments.
Junior year began. I couldn't hide a smile as I pulled on the familiar blazer and straightened my tie for my first day back at Dalton. The Warblers reunited after school with a rambunctious get-together in Trent's dorm where we unanimously elected Wes, David, and Thad to lead the group on the council this year.
Despite the mountains of homework, essays, exams, and rehearsals my junior year came with, I was content. There were no bullies here at Dalton. I had gone from the bottom of the heap at my old school to one of the most popular guys here in less than three semesters. I had amazing friends, and life was wonderful. I never thought there was something I was missing, something else I could possibly need to make me truly happy…until the day Kurt Hummel stopped me on the staircase on my way to the senior commons.
The second I saw him my thoughts went wild. He's really cute. What had been planned as just a normal rehearsal of "Teenage Dream" quickly turned into a full-on serenade for this almost stranger I had met only moments before. Wes, David, and I stopped him afterward and invited him to coffee, interested in his presence here on campus.
Within a few more minutes of knowing Kurt Hummel, I realized that there was a lot more to this boy than just his attractive appearance. I saw a lot of myself in him. His story brought back memories of my freshman year, flashes of torment and taunting that I had tried my hardest to forget. Immediately I knew that he needed a friend who could level with him more than anything else, and despite my immediate attraction, I forced myself to change perspectives and become what he needed.
Kurt remained at McKinley for another month before he told me the news of his impending transfer to Dalton. I knew he would have to leave his friends and his Glee Club behind, but I couldn't pretend that it didn't make me feel relieved, knowing that soon Kurt would have the same safety I'd been given last year. He wouldn't have to worry about David Karofsky anymore.
His transition into the traditions of Dalton Academy did not go as smoothly as mine had. I did my best to help him adjust, and over time, with the embrace of the Warblers, he seemed to finally fall into place among us. We spent much of our free time together, quickly becoming best friends. Our "coffee dates" every other day soon turned into my favorite parts of the week.
Christmas came and went. The spring semester began, and soon Valentine's Day rolled around. I made an idiot of myself at the local mall, and Kurt practically confessed his feelings to me afterward. If I wasn't already stupid enough for serenading Jeremiah with a song about sex during his work hours, I definitely earned the Dimwit of the Year Award for not returning Kurt's affection that very day. How could I have forgotten our first meeting, when my heart had done a somersault as I'd taken his hand and led him down the hallway?
It took me a few more weeks—weeks which included kissing Rachel Berry, questioning my sexuality altogether, and even getting into an argument with Kurt, before I finally realized that I'd never let go of the mentor-friend role I had taught myself to play last semester. It took Kurt's beautiful, musical eulogy after the death of his dear Pavarotti for me to realize what I'd known all along. There was something missing in my life. There was something that could make me even happier. And he had been standing right in front of me for months…
I already knew he had feelings for me when I approached him that afternoon, but it still didn't change the fact that my heart was pounding nervously in my chest as I started speaking the lines I had repeated to myself for hours. The kiss hadn't been in my plans, but with every word that came out of my mouth, the profound truth of each statement hit me like a brick, and before I knew it, I was leaning in too close to stop, and I didn't want to. The sparks were there—the fireworks. It was the best first kiss I could have ever dreamed of…and the second was even better.
Our junior year started coming to a close as we sang a duet in competition and buried our beloved mascot. When Kurt told me that he had decided to transfer back, I couldn't pretend that I wasn't at all upset by the news. I had almost been expecting it, but parting ways in the courtyard of McKinley High was one of the most painful things I'd ever gone through. In the end, the distance hardly proved a challenge for our relationship, and if anything, we grew closer as we came to appreciate and cherish each moment we had together.
He asked me to prom, and once again, the memories of my freshman year that I tried so hard to forget were brought to the surface. This time, however, I didn't push them away. I shared my story, and my all-too-wonderful boyfriend was then perfectly willing to skip the dance for me. I knew it was important to him, so I decided to take my own advice, find some courage, and go. This wasn't freshman year. I wasn't the victim anymore.
But that night, Kurt was.
I'll never forget the cold, painful feeling that creeped into my chest as his name was announced over the speakers—his heart-shattering breakdown as he ran from the gym and had to struggle to even speak to me through his tears. But he is strong, stronger than me, and he turned the tables on his tormentors that night. As he stood alone on the dance floor, my previous experiences bombarded my mind, and everything in me but my heart screamed to stay back, to avoid the attention that might bring another attack. But I couldn't leave him alone, not after what he'd so bravely done. It was my turn to have the courage. I stepped out of the crowd and held out my hand. We danced at prom, in front of the entire junior class of McKinley High School, and it was an amazing, beautiful moment.
After prom, the final weeks of school went by quickly. Kurt flew to New York to compete at Nationals, and when he called me each night from his hotel, he refused to tell me anything, ensuring me that hearing the story in one sitting with him in person would be much better. Though I was impatient to hear his of his time in the big city, I waited until he returned and we met at The Lima Bean. I hadn't seen him in over a week, the longest period of time we'd spent away from each other since we'd made our relationship official. As I listened to him spin the tale of his New York adventures, a familiar feeling suddenly overwhelmed me, but in a way that was stronger than all the times I'd felt it before.
"I love you," the words came from my mouth as easily as if I'd been saying this to him my entire life. I expected nothing in return. All I wanted was for him to know, undoubtedly, that he was the only one with my heart.
"I love you, too."
It's the middle of summer now. The weather is warm and all is well as we walk down the sidewalk hand-in-hand. We don't speak, but we don't need to. There are no awkward silences between us anymore, just moments of silent communication. Our intertwined fingers can say "I love you" just as easily as our voices can.
A few minutes later, we're walking alongside a chain link fence that surrounds a neighborhood playground. Oddly enough, there are no children playing there today. I look down at my watch. We still have an hour before we have to head back for lunch that Carole is making.
"Let's go to the playground, Kurt," I suggest, turning to him with an excited smile. He raises his eyebrows and smirks, amused at my childish expression, but he lets me lead him off of the pavement and onto the soft mulch on the other side of the fence. I scan the area, seeking out the best place to start, when my eyes fall upon a swing set.
Memories flood back to me as I stare. Memories of swinging in the snow on Christmas morning, memories of finding escape from my parents' fights, memories of contemplating the end of my life. My dad had thrown out my old swing set after my freshman year, insisting that I was too old for it, and that it was probably going to break soon anyway…
I pull Kurt along then release his hand as we race toward the swings. We push off from the ground and kick our legs into the air, swaying back and forth, higher and higher. I lean back and close my eyes as I grip the taut rope and feel the air rush past my face, remembering. After a few minutes I let my legs hang free. Gradually, my swing loses altitude, and as soon as it lowers to a safe distance, I launch myself off the seat, landing squarely on my feet a few yards away.
Kurt hastens to join me, but being less practiced in the art of swing dismounting, fails to calculate properly, and flies through the air at an angle. From the moment he becomes airborne I know he isn't going to land upright, and I do my best to catch him as any boyfriend would, but a flying Kurt Hummel is not easy to catch when you're a hobbit-sized Blaine Anderson…
We topple to the ground and laugh until our sides ache, in no particular hurry to get up off of the mulch. Our laughter dissipates and Kurt smiles at me, his eyes sparkling, "That was fun."
"You need to practice jumping off," I note with a smirk. He shoves me playfully.
"How are you so good at it?" he asks, "Is this just another thing I have to add to the list of Things Blaine Anderson is Naturally Perfect At Doing?"
"No," I laugh, "I used to have a swing at my house, and I was on it all the time. Seriously, I think I spent half of my childhood on that swing set."
I pause, but Kurt seems to know I'm not finished speaking. He waits patiently, watching me with affectionate eyes.
"I spent a lot of time thinking on it," I continue thoughtfully, "When my parents used to fight, I'd go out there to get away from it all. I was sitting on that swing the night I decided to come out to them… After Sadie Hawkins' I…well, you know," Kurt nods solemnly. I had told him of my suicidal thoughts before, "Yeah. That happened there too. The last time I ever sat in that swing was at the end of my first year at Dalton. I remember thinking how lucky I was that I didn't go through with it, that I stayed here. Because life was so much better than it had been in years. And I wondered how there could be anything more wonderful than the safety of Dalton and the friends I'd made with all the Warblers—how there could be anything else to make me happier than I already felt..."
I turn my head away from the summer clouds above us and gaze into the perfect blue eyes that still make my heart do summersaults, just like the day we first met. A feel a smile tugging at the corner of my lips as I brush a shred of mulch from his hair and trace my thumb across his smooth cheek.