In honor of March being national TBI awareness month, I wanted to give everyone a little snippet of the future of our boys.
The first time Blaine tries running, he falls. He was supposed to be walking Belle, Kurt busy at home sorting through taxes. The air is full of the optimism of new spring; crisp in a way that clears Blaine’s lungs, makes his blood zing through is body with renewed energy.
Belle gives an excited shuffle-leap, and Blaine looks back at the door, bites his lip and props his cane against the front railing. Today seems like a day for something new, something good, something he can do. He wraps Belle’s leash around his wrist, feels the ground steady beneath his feet, and starts to walk.
There’s a slight breeze, ruffling through the curls that fall across Blaine’s forehead, the midmorning sun beaming down and he just walks and listens and breaths. Birds chirp around him and he can hear the distant sound of cars, can smell the faint tendrils of pancakes being made and Blaine is struck with how real everything is. How clear it is, both the world and his mind, compared to the jumbled mess of before.
It all catches up to him, in the tingling of his skin, the way Belle’s fur tickles when she brushes against him, the weight of the ground under his feet, the smell of dirt and grass, the blue of the sky and he feels so alive he closes his eyes and sucks in a deep breath through his nose and just… runs.
His muscles vibrate with the slap of his shoes hitting the sidewalk, Belle loping along beside him, and his lungs ache, his heart pounds, but it feels so amazing and he can’t stop, runs like he does on the treadmill in therapy but without people monitoring him or safety harnesses or stopping every fifteen seconds to regain his balance.
He runs and he lives.
And he falls. A rock, or a bump in the sidewalk, or even nothing at all, who knows. His foot catches and he stumbles, falling hard on his hands on knees, pavement scraping at his skin and he pauses, breathing hard, adrenaline vibrating through his muscles and bones and tendons, before rolling into a sitting position. Blood begins to trace slowly down his shins from the scrapes in his knees but he doesn’t care, he can’t wipe the smile off his face because he made it two whole blocks and everyone falls every once and a while, this is something he’s learned. Everyone falls, and sometimes it hurts, but they pick themselves back up, and they keep going and that’s what Blaine’s going to do. He’s not going to waste a single moment, he knows the importance of time and enjoying what you have of it.
Belle whines, nudges her head against his shoulder, like she knows he’s hurt and Blaine scratches behind her ears reassuringly. “I’m alright,” he says and she licks at his hand and Blaine can’t help the laugh that bubbles out of him and he knows he probably looks crazy but he just doesn’t care.
So he does what he’s always done; he gets back up, pushes himself up from the pavement, shakes out the soreness of his legs, and heads back. His knees sting, his palms even more but he can’t seem to wipe the smile off his face, not today. He starts to waver more and he knows that’s just expected, his balance will always be off, and he’s grateful for the assistance of the railing when he gets back to the house. He pauses at the front door to unclip Belle from her leash before making his way inside, to Kurt.
“How was the walk… oh!” Kurt pauses in the entryway, blinking at Blaine, surprise and concern flashing across his face as he takes in the blood on Blaine’s knees. “Did you fall, are you okay, I should’ve…”
“I ran, Kurt,” Blaine cuts off Kurt’s barrage of questions, can’t even begin to keep the excitement out of his voice. “I ran, all on my own.”
“Oh honey.” Kurt’s sounds both proud and a little confused, taking a slow step forward. “But your knees.”
Blaine shrugs, puts on the most nonchalant demeanor he can. “I tripped. It happens.”
And then Kurt gets it. He really does. His face lights up, a smile pulling at his lips and he steps close to Blaine, takes his sore palms, his thumbs slightly massaging the scraped flesh. He can see how much this means to Blaine, how this is a big deal and yet not, all at the same time. Because it’s just a stumble, something that every mile marker has, their journey a trip full of uneven stones and fallen branches, obstacles that try but never succeed in taking them down.
“Maybe it’s time for me to brush the dust off my running shoes,” Kurt says after a beat, his eyes searching Blaine’s face in that way they do when he realizes he’ll never stop being impressed, never stop feeling proud of how far his husband has come. How far they’ve both come.
“I’d like that,” Blaine says back, a wide smile on his face before Kurt pulls him in tutting under his breath about blood on the carpet and Blaine’s sure he’s never felt happier.