Seventeen year old Blaine is the odd one out at school, the loser, different. He finds solace in music and befriends the musical director of his church, Frederick. Their friendship blooms and feelings start to develop between them. He remains cautious about sharing his sexuality with his parents, though.
One night after a fight at home, Blaine storms away only to run into bullies who beat him up so badly, he lands in hospital. In his semi-conscious state, Blaine remembers being a pilot in WWII. He also remembers being a pirate in the 17th Century. Frederick features in these past life memories, too!
When Blaine's father confirms some of these incidents really occurred, Blaine realizes that maybe the bond between his soul and Frederick's is older than he thought. Can these insights give the couple the strength they need to face coming out to their families?
There again I guess I’m not like the other boys. Or most of them, and I don’t mean just the whole gay thing. I mean I don’t want to just screw around and have a new special (I almost said girl) friend every week. I want to find my one true love, if there is such a thing, or at least someone worth loving in a long, a lifelong, way. I needed to know more about Frederick, and I intended to find out. Like -- what if he’s not gay? Oh my God! How did I not think about this before? Oh crap! Oh crap, crap! What if he doesn’t know I’m gay?
Geez, I’m an idiot.
Okay, I got sneaky. He already knew how old I was and when I’d turn eighteen, and I couldn’t get out of that. I knew I’d either have to trick him or do what the ‘normal’ people do -- get people drunk. Well that wouldn’t work as I asked him if he drank and he said only communion wine. I couldn’t see that making someone as respectable and responsible as Frederick drunk. I tried some of it, and it wouldn’t work for me either, ugh.
I tried looking sad and I tried wearing eye make-up. I tried sighing a lot and toyed with the idea of asking him to kiss a bruise I got one day. On my ass. But I didn’t have the nerve. How do you tell someone you’re gay? What if they hate you then?
So finally I did what I do best. I wrote a song for him. It was one of my very first that I actually intended to let someone else hear. On his birthday, when we’d finished my lesson, I said, “I wrote something for you. I’ll play it if you like.” I almost fainted when he smiled and said, “Why thank you! Please do!”
“It’s a pirate song. It’s -- it’s about my great-grandfather.” I was hedging here, just in case. (Oh God, oh God, why did I do this?!) “Okay, here goes: ‘Me ship the Cagafuego, a beauteous ship is she, she’s never been untrue to me but there’s a secret, see; me being not a good old boy but a gay old pirate me, me ship she ain’t no lady, me ship she ARRRGH a he’!”
There was a dead silence. I sat back in terror. I could hardly breathe. What -- what if -- what -- he was smiling! He was grinning like an ape! What did that mean?
“Fireshitter!” Frederick said. “It figures it would be a he! What’s the title?”
I’d forgotten the most important part. I swallowed hard and said, “’A Gay Old Ship Is She, I Mean, He’.”
I managed, I dared, to meet his eyes. They were happy eyes. I almost drowned in them.
“Come on in the kitchen,” he said. “There’s a birthday cake they bought me.” Frederick reached out his hand to me, and I took it, dying inside.
We walked out of the church and through the parish hall, enjoying the afternoon light shining through the stained glass windows. It was a beautiful church; a beautiful place for a young man like me to have his first nervous breakdown. When we reached the kitchen nobody else was there and my spirits lifted, because while the room was mostly empty, in the back half were stacked some of the cots from the last time they’d housed the homeless overnight. For some obscure reason this made me happy, giddy even, and I grinned. He ignored me, but he blushed. We walked over to the table on which there were the cake and several plates. He cut the cake.
In my new crazy mood, I sang happy birthday. I changed the lyrics. They were fairly explicit in a piratical kind of way. They told what I felt but in enough humor that it could be laughed off if necessary, by either, or both of us. All he did was blush some more. Then someone in the kitchen guffawed so I shut up and just smiled at him.
“You have a bit of chocolate on your lip,” he said.
And he leaned forward and licked it off, then dried it with his lips.
“You’re smiling with your whole soul. I can see it in your eyes. I love -- that about you.”
And I could not speak for the happiness flooding through me.
“Happy birthday, me,” he said to himself. “I got a taste of -- what I want.”