Unfixable
Author:Bailey essa

Unfixable by Bailey essa


Prologue

Why can’t I just get over a breakup the traditional way?
Ice cream and a bitchin’ new hairstyle. Taylor Swift on repeat until the tears dry up. Maybe a Ryan Gosling movie or two where, in between spoonfuls of chocolate-chip cookie dough, I whine, Why can’t every guy be like him?
Oh no, not me. I’m more of a Sex Pistols girl and my hair has been through enough already. Years of drugstore-bought black dye and bangs chopped with orange-handled scissors has earned it a much-needed break. It would be so much easier if I could be angry, Johnny Rotten-style. Just put on a pair of studded, leather boots and kick over some trash cans, cursing the name of the dick who dared wrong me.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t wronged. I was…an attempt at being righted. So no trash can kicking for me.
Here’s how my road to breakup hell started. Senior year of high school. My sister and I said sayonara to our shit-tastic lives in Nashville and made tracks to Chicago. Evan and I were paired up for an assignment in photography class my first week in town. One that involved a lot of face time outside of the classroom. A daunting task to someone like me who, at the time, was about as sociable as a Sylvia Plath. I just wanted to get the assignment over with, exchanging as few words as possible.
Evan didn’t allow it. Looking back, I know why I appealed to him. He saw me as broken. Someone who needed fixing. If I could travel back to that day, I would lay a hand on his lettermen-jacket-clad arm and tell him broken is where I live. I like it here. I’m comfortable.
But Evan had a way of magnetizing people. Not in a creepy serial killer kind of way. No, he glowed from the inside, made you not want to disappoint him when he believed in you so strongly.
Who was I to let this perfect boy fail?
For a short while, I allowed him to breach my barbed-wire, electrified prison fence and swim across shark-infested waters to reach me. He even got me out of my Doc Martens and into a prom dress. A feat that amazes me to this day.
Yet even then, despite the safety and stability Evan provided, I’d heard the countdown clock ticking deep in the back of my head. How long could I act like a normal, functioning human being? How many dinners with Evan’s freakishly perfect parents could I sit through before I impaled myself on a fork?
The answer was two years.
Evan saw something in me, and he tried desperately to nurture it. It was his way. Toward the end, though, I think he stopped loving me and started loving my potential. What I could be if I just stopped being so stubbornly damaged. If I could just ignore the ugliness I store inside of me, ready to jump out and scare me at any moment.
Ugliness never entirely goes away, though. Once certain images and difficult days you’ve lived through have been implanted in your mind, there’s no way to evict them. My ugliness is particularly stubborn. It comes in the form of an addict mother who used our couch to entertain johns. A father whose name I’ve never learned. Eating most of my dinners as a child from tin cans or out of the neighbor’s garbage can. My sister, Ginger, was the only reason the ugliness hadn’t killed me.
It took Evan two years to realize he’d chosen a lemon. It hurt like hell, but I’d also embraced the change. It meant I could stop trying to be girlfriend material. A match for the golden child. I hurt a boy who genuinely loved me, and in the process, I proved to myself that I’m incapable of making another human being happy.
After I ended things with him, I needed to leave Chicago. Reminders of our two years together were everywhere I turned. Our favorite dumpling shop. The flea market he’d chased me through when I cut class to avoid him. His answer to that was to smother me in kindness and understanding, the likes of which I’d only experienced the few times my sister and I let our guards down. And never in such a huge, intoxicating dose.
The worst part of it is that I didn’t just lose Evan. I lost myself. I forgot how to be comfortable in my own skin. I forgot what it meant to be comfortably broken.
I thought I was unfixable before.
Now, I’m plane-crash wreckage.