The universe (and puzzle pieces) work in mysterious ways
It was my birthday last month (hooray for December babies! It’s cold! It’s dark! No one has any money!) and one the gifts I received from my sister was a ‘World of Dracula’ jigsaw. I was SO EXCITED when I unwrapped it – I love jigsaws, I love vampires, it was totally me to a T.
At 1000 pieces, it took me most of the festive period to complete; I originally started doing it at night time (I thought it would be a nice wind down to bedtime. It was not. I dreamed about that damn puzzle for three days straight), but also started doing it during the day as well to go along with my morning coffee. It was one of those things that really sucks you in, so once you start, it’s really hard to stop. It was my goal to finish it before I went back to work on Wednesday; I started it the Wednesday after Christmas and finished on the Monday, so I actually completed it one day early than I anticipated – go me!
First night’s work – only took us an hour to find all the edge pieces…
The journey begins…even the big dog tried to help out
However, as I finished filling in all the towers and began the final part of the puzzle (that damn sky – I definitely saved the worst for last), I quickly realised one thing; I was missing a piece. This was hugely disappointing and irritating. Now, I know there are probably safeguards in place to stop this (how ARE jigsaws packaged?!) but we looked all over table, in the packaging, under all the chairs, lifted up the dog crate, went through all the toddler’s toys I know have been on the table most of Christmas – I even made the toddler go upstairs to double check his toys again. Nothing. Nada. Given that we have a rumbustious toddler and 2 energetic dogs, I knew deep down it probably was my fault it was lost – but I’d been so careful! I checked the floor every night for pieces, warned the toddler to stay away, deliberately didn’t hoover that area under the table…so part of me did wonder if it was my fault there was a piece missing, or if it could’ve been a mistake by the company. I decided to email the company just to ask if a replacement would be a possibility at all, after all, you never know, and at least I’ve asked the question.
Can you spot the missing piece??
Moving on – and bear with me here, I promise this is relevant – on Monday night we watched the final two episodes of The Good Place. We’ve seen it before, but I started re-watching before Christmas as I wanted something easy to watch and I really enjoyed it the first time around. So I already knew how heartbreaking the last episode was, but I’d forgotten the specifics (except for Chidi – man, his ending has stayed with me all these years). This time around, I found myself really paying attention to what was being said, especially during Chidi’s story. And this is one of the speeches that really stuck out to me:
Oh boy, I’m welling up thinking about it again. ANYWAY – I don’t know why this line struck me so deeply, but I do know that I have an intense fear of death. I always have. But hearing those words hit home in a way that I don’t think I fully appreciated the first time around. I found myself thinking, ‘y’know what? That makes complete sense’ and, for the first time, I had this deep sense of calm.
Afterwards, to stop myself dwelling on the topic of death a little too much (I am a horror writer after all), I decided to write out my writing goals for this year to take my mind off it. As I completed my list, I sat back feeling happy and satisfied with both my night’s work, and with life in general. I packed up the laptop, turned to go back into the sitting room, and something white on the floor caught my eye.
It was the goddamn missing jigsaw piece.
Not only is it suddenly lying right in front of the closed sitting room door (which we’ve been going in and out of ALL DAY), it’s also white side up so it REALLY stood out against the dark carpet. I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes. What the actual fuck? Were all three of us really so blind that we missed it? How was it not eaten by the puppy or the big dog? Do we have a jigsaw piece-stealing ghost in the house??
The prodigal piece returns!
I believe in fate and I strongly believe that there are no coincidences in the world – everything happens for a reason. So there is a part of me that genuinely believes this has something to do with my sense of calm and peace from earlier on. Was it my new-found peace about the thought of death? A kind of cosmic play on the idea that everything will be ok in the end and while pieces might be missing or we can’t see the whole jigsaw right now, it’ll all be ok in the end? Or is it the fact that I pushed myself to get a little more work done, and it was a reward from the universe for a job well done?
Who knows? But I’m so grateful – whether it was designed by the universe, or our jigsaw-loving ghost finally thought I was worthy of the final piece – to have found that missing piece. Now I can frame my jigsaw proudly and every time I look at it, I can not only admire one of the greatest gothic stories of all time, but I can also remember what happened that night, and think about life, the universe and our own place within it.
Have you ever experienced something you can’t quote explain? Or unexpectedly found something you thought you’d lost?