“Kurt.” The boy filled in his name for him, although they had never met. They had never met in person that was. Kurt had known this boy for years and had met him in his dreams every time things became bad. In fact, the last time Kurt had seen Blaine had only been a few days earlier, after a particularly brutal bullying session had left him sobbing himself to sleep.
“Blaine,” he whispered. “You’re real.”
He didn’t understand what the words spoken at him meant but they were bad words and it was probably his own fault for playing with dolls anyway. Boys weren’t supposed to play with dolls, only girls. His daddy had stood up and yelled at the mean men and taken him home, saying sorry over and over again like he was the one who said the bad words.
“I’m so, so sorry for those boys Kurt. They shouldn’t have said those things to you.”
“I don’t get it, daddy,” Kurt said. “What did all those things mean?”
“You’re way too smart for your age Kurt,” his father responded with one of those sad smiles that meant something was wrong. “Don’t worry about it son. There are some mean people in the world who like to hurt other people to feel better about their own sad lives, but they’re not worth our time. They’re just words. Let’s go get some ice cream.”
The whole time, getting ice cream with his daddy, Kurt saw the sadness in his eyes. If the mean boys were bad enough to make his daddy look like crying then they had to be the meanest guys ever because daddy was tough and didn’t cry.
When they got home from ice cream, his mommy really cried. “I can’t believe they’d call my baby such horrible things,” she said, wrapping her arms around Kurt and holding him in a tight hug. “Are you okay Kurtie?”
“Of course, they’re just words mommy.”
“Oh sweetie, you know that daddy and I love you no matter what. We’re always going to love you no matter what.” Kurt wanted to tell his mommy that she was clinging too tight, holding on too tightly but it seemed to make her smile and Kurt liked when his mommy smiled. Hugs always made people smile, which was something she had taught him when he was only two. “People in this town can be kind of mean but daddy and I won’t let anyone hurt our baby boy.”
Kurt had wondered why his family had chosen to live in a mean town. They were anything but mean.
He had gone to bed still thinking about the mean words though. What was a fag and why was his daddy ruining him by letting him play with his dolls? Why were the meanieheads so mean and why did they feel better being mean? Kurt didn’t know but he didn’t like the way that things were going.
When Kurt opened his eyes again, he was at the park once more, but instead of meanieheads who made him cry there was another little boy. Kurt sort of knew that it was a dream but he didn’t mind. Dreams were good things, his mommy had said so. He waved to the little boy who was sitting crosslegged inside of the sandbox. “Hi,” the boy said shyly, looking up at Kurt. “I’m Blaine Anderson and I’m five years old. Who are you?”
Kurt nodded slowly. He didn’t have many friends and most of the neighborhood kids would never ask him to play. Maybe they were meanies too because he came from a meanie town. He liked Blaine though; Blaine seemed friendly and this was a dream, not a mean place. The boy handed Kurt his shovel and Kurt began to idly dig, not sure what Blaine wanted to make. “Want help doin’ that?” Blaine asked, holding up a bucket. He helped Kurt dig up dirt to put into the bucket. “We can make a castle and play king and queen.”
“But we have no girls.”
“I’ll be queen this time,” Blaine said happily.
“I’ll be queen next time,” Kurt said just as eagerly.
Blaine smiled and then turned his bucket over, creating a well formed castle. Kurt held the shovel and then an idea lit up inside of him. “We can make a moat around the castle,” Kurt said quickly.
Kurt had been disappointed when he woke up before the castle was complete. He told his mother all about Blaine and she told him that he had an “active ‘magination.” Kurt didn’t get what that meant really but after he played with Blaine everything felt better and he forgot all about the incident at the park. He quickly learned that when things got bad in his stupid, mean town, he could always go back to Blaine.
Blaine’s parents fought all the time. They fought about money and about their jobs and never being home. They didn’t smile much and they ignored Blaine even though he really needed help in school stuff. He felt lonely and the first grade was hard. There were numbers and stuff and Blaine was really, really bad at doing stuff with numbers. He was one of the best spellers in the first grade and wrote his name “really pretty” according to Mrs. Jackson, his teacher, but he was having lots of trouble with stupid, stupid math. He was also really, really sad when his parents wouldn’t help him. His friends at school had moms and dads or at least nannys who could help them.
Blaine went to bed very, very early when his parents fought. It wasn’t because he liked to go to bed early; he actually hated to go to bed early, but he knew that Kurt would be there in his dreams. He used his best friend as a defense against how lonely he felt. He was lonely at home but he wasn’t lonely when he and Kurt played at their little park. He hoped that they could swing that day.
“What’s wrong Blaine?” Kurt asked, looking very worried about him. He stopped and stared at Blaine for a very long time with his little hands on his hips. Kurt was a lot smaller than Blaine was and Blaine thought Kurt looked funny, like a miniature version of a mommy. “You look very, very sad.”
“My mommy and daddy are fightin’,” he told Kurt in a quiet voice. It wasn’t really a secret but his parents and his other family members always tried to hush Blaine when he talked about the fighting. It was like some kind of horrible secret to them, one that Blaine could not talk about even though it made him sad, like he was going to cry. “I don’t get it and it makes me confused. My daddy’s always yellin’ at my mommy and then my mommy gets sad and nobody talks much.”
“I ‘member my mommy yelling at my daddy once,” Kurt supplied helpfully, just as confused as he was. “Daddy said it was ‘cause they were havin’ a fight but they stopped and kissed and made up after.”
“I wish my mommy and daddy would kiss and make up.”
Kurt looked Blaine over seriously and then leaned over and hugged him tightly. Blaine let his smaller friend squeeze him as tight as he possibly could. Kurt then paused and pulled back, thinking for a minute and then kissing Blaine on his forehead. “Does that make you feel better?” he asked curiously.
“A little bit. Why?”
“That’s what my mommy usually does when I’m sick or sad. It makes me feel better.”
“Thank you Kurt, I do feel better. Your mommy is smart.”
“Let’s go swing.”
“You’re not supposed to be real,” Blaine told Kurt, seriously, glancing over at the two boys behind him and then speaking quieter so that they would not hear. “Kurt, you’re a figment of my imagination and you are not real.”
“I could say the same for you,” Kurt said awkwardly. “Blaine, is there somewhere private that we can go?” He was not going to sit here and talk to the imaginary friend he’d had since he was four without some privacy.