There was that day I went over to my grandparents’ place, and my grandmother placed a puzzle box on the table and asked me to piece it together with her.
Alright, I said, and on the dinner table we poured out all the little jagged pieces, and somehow in an hour or so they would fit together to create a lovely suburban garden with a little girl sitting next to a fountain, watching butterflies peacefully, a snapshot stuck in time.
We got to the last few pieces in the box and I see one on the side of the table. It looked slightly odd, like the edges weren’t quite right; the color almost matched the puzzle but not quite- an off shade of green that subtly stood out from the rest.
I asked her what it was, it didn’t seem like it was part of it.
Grandma laughed and put it to one side. We fit rest of the pieces in just right; there was only one gap left. She picked up the piece and told me that it wasn’t part of this puzzle in the first place; she had bought the box from a second hand sale and expected that the previous owners had gotten it mixed up somehow.
I took it from her and placed it in the empty space at the corner of the puzzle. With some pressure, it fit, pressing uncomfortably into the curves and jagged edges just barely lining up with the rest of the picture.
I found it funny how it fit into a bigger picture it didn’t quite belong in- able to pass by and blend in but like a dissonant chord with one note out of place, sure it was barely noticeable, but it wasn’t quite comfortable either.
The picture was complete, sure, but it just didn’t feel right to me.
I wondered if people could be like that too-you could press and mold and they could fit, but it would never be right, would never be fully comfortable. I wonder how many people felt forced into place by a hand they couldn’t control. I wondered if people could spend their whole lives searching for the place they fit, they place they could make sense.
If I could, I would put all the misplaced puzzle pieces into where they could belong and into the picture they could feel right. Didn’t everyone deserve that?
I also wondered if maybe people weren’t the pieces, that maybe they were the whole picture, and that some piece-sometimes all the pieces- would always feel out of place.
But maybe it was meant to be that way.