Slice of Life 2020 – Day 22
I was feeling puzzled because this family is more a LEGO family than they are puzzle people. I felt myself being lifted from hiding in the boy’s childhood bedroom, ignored like a child in time out, and tucked away for a rainy day. Beside me, a new LEGO kit was also waiting patiently to break out. At least we had each other. As I said, this family is over-the-top about LEGOs. You should see their basement! It’s like a LEGO kingdom and has been since the boy was young. He’s older now, but I’m positive I overheard him mention getting back to the LEGOs. I’m fairly certain it’s that new show, LEGO Masters, creating all the hype and renewed interest.
I remember the day the lady of the house brought me home from a local gift shop. It was definitely an impulse purchase during the frenzied holiday shopping season, not this past season, but two Christmases ago. I recall standing upright, slightly hidden, peeking out from an angle behind the other puzzles in the National Parks series.
“Buy me. Buy me,” I blurted.
“I wonder if there’s one for The Rocky Mountain National Park,” the lady wondered out loud thinking of a recent family trip to Colorado.
“I’m here! Over here. Take me home,” I pleaded from inside the carefully taped box, sealed for security. No one is fool enough to buy a puzzle that’s been tampered with. Just imagine getting down to the last piece only to discover it missing. That’s when we puzzle pieces get thrown back into the box and donated to Goodwill only to be turned into picture frames or Christmas wreath ornaments in elementary schools across the country.
Lifted from the display, I was paid for and packaged up for the ride home. Once home, I rested under the tree until Christmas. I secretly hoped my new family would work on me over Christmas break with everyone gathered happily around, ready to create a masterpiece, a family memory. Christmas break came and went and there I lay, alone, under the tree before I was whisked away in a post-holiday tidying session. That’s how I ended in the boy’s bedroom closet.
It’s no fun being stuffed inside a dark, cardboard box, all tossed and toppled on each other. Everybody is trying to find the one piece that fits so we can all live happily ever after. Depression from being ignored for too long soon set in for many of the pieces. I kept my ears open though, for any sign of escape. It came in March of 2020. I faintly heard the news reports on television advising people to stay home. No one was expecting the news to be that bad, but it was. It wasn’t but a few days later when I came out of hiding. I remember it like it was yesterday.
“It’s time for you to come out,” said the lady as she carefully slit my sealed edge with a kitchen knife, getting a precise, clean cut. Thank goodness she didn’t use her fingernail and leave me with a tattered, torn edge making it difficult to get my lid back on. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the bright light when she lifted the top. Then, she carefully cut open the plastic bag in which we were imprisoned, and all I could do was gulp in breaths of fresh air. I’d been waiting for this day for a very long time.
I was dumped carelessly, all 500 pieces of me, onto the dining room table. My immediate thought was that this lady doesn’t know what she’s doing. Does she really think she’ll put us all together and then sit down for a meal at this table the same day? She’s in for a big surprise.
My buddies and I were sorted according to colors: sky blues, earthy shades of browns and grays, deep forest greens, and snow white. I chuckled to myself at the challenge ahead. I noticed the lady searched diligently for all the white edge pieces first. Maybe she did know a little more than I thought.
There I was, sprawled out and exposed. “Come on, I challenge you,” I taunted.
The husband must have heard me because he sat down and started picking and plucking through us one piece at a time. The wife grabbed her camera to capture such an uncommon sight. Puzzles weren’t a normal occurrence for this family.
“I feel like my dad,” he admitted. “He never could walk past a puzzle without stopping to at least add a few pieces.”
The two of them sat down and worked quietly side by side until it was time for the wife to prepare dinner. Later on, when it was time to eat, she threw down placemats right over me and my pals. “Try not to spill on the puzzle,” she cautioned the family.
The boy questioned, “Are we really eating on top of the puzzle?”
“Yes, we are. I’m too far into this thing to quit now,” she snapped impatiently.
The husband and wife have continued adding pieces, sometimes just a few in passing, or many after pulling up a chair intending to spend a while. The two of them work together, peering over each other’s shoulder down at me, testing pieces until there is a smooth snapping-into-place. I can see the look of satisfaction when it happens after so many failed attempts. The woman’s eyesight is tested in the dimly lit dining room by evening. Her preferred time to work is during the afternoon when the sun shines bright and the television is turned off. It’s relaxing and peaceful. She’s works, determined to see this through.
“Take your time. There’s no rush,” I want to shout as the picture of the Rocky Mountains begins to appear.
That’s the thing about us puzzles; we have a lot to teach humans, patience most of all. The couple has worked on and off for days, adding pieces here and there. They listen to the latest news updates but continue working away calmly, giving more attention to me than the discouraging news on television. I’m the distraction they need.