Becoming Perfect


Hannah Klippel, Reporter

Perfection was not impossible.


From a young age, Blaine had been raised to chase perfection. To become the best. The best with his grades, the best athlete, the best at his rock-climbing hobby. The best cook, the best fighter, the best son. The strongest. The smartest. The most handsome.


Perfection was not impossible. Proof of that lay in his mother, with her flawless skin, rigid structure and six-figure salary, her job a complimenting blend of her fashion passion and skyrocketed career.


Perfection was not impossible. But Blaine always fell short at attaining it.


By every account, he was indeed the strongest. The fastest, the smartest, the best. It was his attitude that kept him from perfection. Having grown up pursuing a single goal with narrow-minded determination for so long, his ambition and impatience had also made him bitter, surly, and snappish. Valedictorian, black belts in four martial arts, cases of first-place competition trophies ranging from swim to archery to skydiving, prom king–it wasn’t enough.


Not when he learned than the crown had nearly gone to Devin Kinner just because he was nice.


And that was petty, to be hung up on something that had happened in high school, and he knew that, but he obsessed over it. The knowledge that his personality had nearly kept him from being the best he could have been ate at him.


Which was why he was sitting in therapy. In all the things he had mastered, therapy was not one of them, so now he needed to change that. After three hours of sitting in a room designed to be calming and relaxing, insulting the therapist who seemed to be desperately holding in sarcastic retorts, and thinking about his past, Blaine realized that his seemingly perfect little life had never been perfect.


In Kindergarten, he’d begun bullying a boy he’d been friends with since diapers, because Blaine thought he’d needed motivation to improve himself. In third grade, he’d spilt a juice box on a classmate’s homework simply because it was wrong. In sixth grade, instead of pulling on pigtails, he’d just get mean and snappy.


He sat through another hour of listening to his therapist repeat the mantra of ‘nobody’s perfect’ before the woman snapped at him and grumbled that the mountain of expectation placed on him in his childhood had given him a paradox of complexes and anxieties revolving around his own self-worth, and he’d developed so many horrible coping mechanisms.


Which was… eye opening, he supposed. It had taken six sessions to get him to the point that yeah, maybe he could admit that, and instead of staying in denial any longer, he simply decided to chase perfection a different way.


His therapist suggested that in order to be perfect, he needed to believe, both consciously and subconsciously, that he had done everything in his power to improve himself, to the best of his ability. That included making amends with the people he now felt guilty for wronging.


And so, it seemed so dumb, standing on a foreign front porch on an un-suspenseful Saturday morning, with a gift and an apology. The man hadn’t been hard to find–they’d been in the same class since grade school. A few beats after a quick knock, the door opened to a familiar freckled face and wild curls, the same features Blaine had mocked for over a decade. “Blaine?”


The reflexive hostility bloomed, but he stomped it back down. “Hey, Damien. Can I come in? I’ve got some things to say.”