= = =
Or how water doesn't always taste like water.
Or how fire can be cold to the touch.
Or how ice burns.
Or how hearts fail, or smiles lie, or losers win.
Every day is a puzzle full of pieces, and always missing so many.
Sometimes I wonder if death is just the last corner piece everyone thought was missing but was just under the box the entire time.
= = =
I am six. I am in bed and listening to the furious clipping of cardboard puzzle pieces. They snap together in a hurried rhythm, as fast as my mother can put them together in their neat little lines. My room is lofted above the rest, the quietest room of the house, about seven or so miles out of town. On my bed is draped a pair of jeans, caked in mud, dried and flaking, baking on top of a dirty towel and dusting my room in tiny little accidents.
I'd fallen in the yard next door. I kept sliding in the mud and rain down the hill for yards. Rocks and twigs and bugs built homes in my knees, made camp in my shins, forged families in the soles of my feet. That's how filthy I was was. Covered. Completely covered in one giant accident.
In one little stumble: a ruined lifetime.
Or, at least, that's how it felt.
Mom had warned me, don't get dirty.
When you're clumsy, it's sometimes hard to listen.
So, spinning through the grime and making my way to the bottom of the hill, my mind said things like: shit damn oh god please no why how what no no no.
Derek is at the top, grinning, ready to double over with laughter. Hands clutched at his sides, arms powerfully crossed along his stomach, he looks as though the chuckle he's holding back could rip him at the seams.
But Sunday's made everything so difficult.
Church. You have to be ready for church.
Go up and get dressed for church.
Are you ready for church?
I was ready. And then I fell.
The funny thing about mistakes: they don't care how much of the puzzle is put together. Or what picture you're trying to recreate.
Or how many pieces get lost on the floor.
So I guess you're stuck picking them up.