The box is filled with possibility and hope. The picture and numbers on the lid, promise that the thousands of intricate little pieces, once joined, will reveal a striking image.
Inside the box, the pieces, close together in a janky, jigsaw, jumble, are teeming with anticipation at their liberation, and reformation into a complete piece of art. They want to fit into a whole, one which they had been cut from, before being packaged in the box.
A sense of anxiousness spills onto the table with the pieces, as piles are shifted, and spread around. The pieces, once warm from their proximity in the box now feel concerned and agitated, as they are spread out across the wooden surface. Pieces stacked atop each other shed tiny flakes whilst scraping against each other as they are fanned across the expanse. Once no two shapes are atop each other, the dull, beigh-colored sides are flipped over, revealing a colorful patchwork of promise, occupying the table.
The pieces feel awkward, incomplete, and disjointed, yearning for connectedness from the great distances across the table. Some lucky few, are close enough to the pieces into which they will fit, and they lie with a cautious ease, confident their protrusions will be soon fit into a recess. One fortunate pair, rests most peacefully, already joined to each other.
The flat edges are joined first, forming the frame. Then like colors, patterns, and complimentary shapes are placed together. It takes patience and time to bring these integrals pieces together. There are struggles with some of the sections, where extreme scrutiny is the only way to find some mates. And occasionally, a forced merge must be plucked apart, when an error is discovered.
Hopefully, when the picture nears completion, the number of patient puzzle pieces beyond the frame, matches the gaps in the image. The pieces can beam with excitement, as wholeness nears, then shine when the last piece fills the last hole.
What if, during the process, water is spilled upon a handful or pieces, and while drying, the color peels from the cardboard, allowing the puzzle to be completed, but leaving sand-colored blemishes throughout the whole image?
What if, of the thousands of pieces, a few are incorrectly inserted in the puzzle?
What is the feeling, if only a few of the pieces are joined together, and the architect quickly loses interest, sweeps the pieces back into the box, and throws it on a high shelf in the closet?
Does a powerful feeling of disappointment overtake the pieces, if, towards the moment of completion, the number of gaps do not match the pieces on the fringe? What if that happens earlier, when the architect is building the frame? Is the whole project simply discarded, a promise of wholeness forever shattered?
Do the pieces lament their incomplete condition? Are they forever aggrieved and and angry at their colorless cousins? Are they uncomfortable, forced against a piece that isn’t their perfect mate? Do they weep in the musty darkness, at their failure to be given a chance to be a part of a beautiful picture?
What if the piece to make the many thousand-piece puzzle complete, had never been placed into the box at all?