you were a skilled handyman. i didn’t see it a first, too charmed by blue eyes and a smile that made me think of montana skyline stretched in front of me. freedom. that is what you made me feel. but beneath the smile, you so cleverly hid an assortment of glues ready to patch me up after every barbed word you said. and you said a lot of them. parts of me didn’t fit up to your standard, and you didn’t hesitate to let me know. but then, with that same smile, you put on some glue and sealant. no regret. some days especially i wonder if i was more than just a fixer-upper to you. did you ever feel something? anything? i felt everything. i felt the way my hand slotted into yours, and the way your fingers tickled my palm. i felt the way your words hammered into me like nails, “to help me.” isn’t that what every handyman says when he brings out a rench before busting a pipe? before cracking the seal on an old window and letting it f  a l  l ? i fell. and i still wonder if you tried to catch me or watched with that smile. i felt the way you stripped away all my walls and used a sledgehammer on my doors. i felt the way you barged in and pushed all my opinions aside. you never waited for me to give you a key. you didn’t pick my locks, you warped them where no one but you could come in. i felt everything while you felt nothing. and then you broke my heart without remorse. do you remember that? i had started to gather my words from where you disturbed them from your forced entry. and they had started to spread like every handyman’s worst fear; mold. the blank ink from inside my veins creeped out to drive you away. some part of me still cared about you. you were a handyman. it was what you did. but no matter how many times i stared into your eyes, i never saw regret. doubt. i only saw greed for what a fixer-upper like me could be worth once you were done fixing all my “flaws.” and your smile stopped seeming free. it started seeming like a cage drowning in costume jewelry and faux fur. and finally, you noticed the mold. the creeping darkness from the very pit of me. and you bought the biggest container of bleach. you poisoned all my words that day and bleached my soul clean from all the inky letters. but i never thanked you. i never asked for a handyman to try and fix all my flaws. i might be an old house or even a strange house. but i’ve grown used to all my, creaks and groans. the way the bed in the loft bedroom whines every night. and i’ve grown accustomed to giving people the key, and them making my house an inn. but notice how i never gave you the key? you barged into my house like more thief than handyman. and you tore apart me, a fixer-upper of a girl, in order to try and find what you wanted: my heart. and you found it hidden underneath a few floorboards which you tore up without a “sorry.” and then you took my heart and crumbled it. because handymen are supposed to fix the problem. and you had decided the problem with me was my heart. and to make up for my loss, you made me a concrete one instead. it was, after all, more practical you told me. for who? for the handyman who will always be able to crush it in his hand? or for the fixer-upper of a girl who gives room keys to everyone? you were always a handyman, and i was always just your new project. a new challenge to mark off your bucket list or add to your bullet-pointed resume. and one day i hope you find that you didn’t fix me. no, you don’t get that credit. you drove away all the people who stayed in my fixer-upper, but they all came back. with smiles that made up for the lack of sun i had been missing while you worked on trying to fix my flaws, they twirled their room keys around their ring fingers. and asked “renovations over?” yes. yes, they are for forever. because no handyman will ever fix me. i am not that kind of fixer-upper. so you failed handyman of mine. your nails will rust over time and the soft edges of me will fade. i will transform back into the house of a girl that i was before i ever met you. but you will never be here to see me do that. because only the people with room keys, who stay forever inside of my house, will be here to watch it happen. because they don’t see me as a challenge or something to be fixed. at the sound of creaking, they don’t want to buy oil. they love me as a fixer-upper when you couldn’t. so pack of your smile in your toolbox, and leave my street. don’t bother with closing the door, because i am open for business again. oh and don’t worry about the locks you twisted and warped. they’ve been replaced. goodbye, forever and remember that i am a fixer-upper of a girl. and you are a handyman of a boy who will find himself missing my heart when he reaches his next project site. because i would never leave something like that, to someone like you. i can never be a mansion of a girl, or some apartment in a tall building. and i am a fixer-upper, and that is why people love me when you didn’t.

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