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The Puzzle

Morning dawned cold and grey.  A light rain had been falling for some time, slowly drenching the ground.  Aoife peeked out through the curtains and sighed, ‘Guess I’m not doing the laundry today after all.”  She moved out of the bedroom and down the hall to her study.  Walking onto the room, she headed straight to the specially made cabinet and opened one of the drawers.  The drawer was shallow and only contained one item of major importance to Aoife.  She carefully reached in, took hold of the tray within and gingerly removed it.  She turned toward the large desk and placed it down on the surface.  She didn’t move, didn’t even sit down on the chair.  Instead she just stared at the puzzle, her mind a jumble of thoughts.   Without realizing it, she slumped down on the chair and placed her chin in her hands.  What was she hoping to see this time?  She had no idea, but she felt compelled to study the puzzle again.

The puzzle had been completed many years ago, long before she was born.  Someone had cared so much for it they had glued it together and framed it at some point.  Time hadn’t been too kind to the puzzle for the once vibrant scene was now faded, probably from hanging directly with the path of the sunlight.  When Aoife discovered it in the attic of her parents’ house the frame was dusty and falling apart.  The glass was grimy and cracked.  It had appeared to be abandoned since it was buried behind some large boxes.  Forgotten.  Neglected.  However, she sensed that it meant something since no one ever threw it out.  Instantly falling in love with it, she extricated it from the darkened space and took it to her home.   Once home, she had set to lovingly care for it.  Aoife had carefully dusted and cleaned the frame, although she had no intention of keeping the puzzle inside.  It was merely a way of preventing the debris from attaching to the puzzle when she did remove it from the frame.  She had then removed the matting which held the puzzle and inspected it closer.  Although most of the puzzle had still adhered to the board, there were a few areas where she spotted flakes of dried glue and noted several loose pieces.  Picking up a large, new and unused paintbrush, she gently brushed away the flakes.  While she could have applied more glue to it, something or someone chided her and urged her to let it be.  She had located a special display tray like the ones often used to cradle delicate artifacts and placed the puzzle, matte and all onto it.  She then turned to her art cabinet with its oblong, shallow drawers and placed the puzzle inside.  And there it sat for the last 15 years, only coming into the light when Aoife had felt the need, desire or inclination to gaze at it. 

Over the years, she gently cleaned it by brushing off any dust and debris which would accumulate between her visits.  Each time, she noticed more and more of the glue would flake away and she would feel sadness.  She felt as if a part of her history was falling apart.  All she could do was sigh dejectedly and tenderly care for the puzzle like she always did.

Gazing at the puzzle, she followed the flow of the faded scene as best as she could.  Even taking her finger and lightly tracing the images underneath.  She smiled wanly and mused about its origins.  Still running her finger lightly over it, she came to the bottom right corner and noticed that the last of the glue had become brittle and flaky.  She picked up her brush and swept the remains away.  That was it.  ‘The glue has finally come undone,’ she sighed heavily.  There is nothing holding the puzzle together anymore.  As she returned the treasured puzzle to its drawer, tears slowly ran down her face.

Dead of Night

A cacophony

Of seagulls erupt outside

In the dead of night

Torrents

Torrents of rain fall

From heavy, grey clouds above,

Soaking the dry earth

Rivers of honey

Flow thick with sticky sweetness

Pleasing on the lips

The Dreamer

Rose-colored glasses

Never sees the world’s decay

The dreamer lives on

Vultures

Vultures circling

Waiting to dive and attack

Picking the bones clean

Indifference

I sit indifferent

Awash with uncertainty

Not sure of the way

One second I’m asleep, the next I’m wide awake.  What, for the love of God, woke me up?  Sure, the radio is still droning on…some program discussing the role of Christian missionaries among Islamic peoples.  Nope, that can’t be it…I’m sure if anything it should’ve put me back to sleep. Why else would it be on the radio in the dead of night.  So, I roll over and close my eyes forcing myself back to sleep.  After a few minutes of tossing and turning, I still can’t get into a comfortable position to warrant the egress back to the Land of Nod.  I sigh.  Levering myself onto my elbow, I glance over the prone, sleeping figure of my lover to the alarm clock.  In bold red digital numbers, the time reads 2:26am.  UUGGHH!!  I flop back down and will myself to return to a state of nocturnal bliss.  Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock…although there is no traditional clock, I can hear time ticking away.  My mind turns over like the engine of a car on a cold, winter’s morning.   Gggrrr….Gggrrr…Gggrrr….VROOM!   That’s it…no stopping it now!

Suddenly a light bulb goes off in the recesses of my mind – “Duh! I’m thirsty.”  Ok, I’ll give this one a go.  Tossing off the duvet and swinging my feet to the floor, I make my way across the room to the closed-door guided by the eerie blue light emanating from the radio.  Without any thought to my partner, I open the door as if its full morning and stumble into a severely darkened hallway.  Instead of going into the kitchen or bathroom, my feet lead me to our living room to where I left a started bottle of water earlier in the day.  Again, I’m confronted by an eerily lit room all thanks in part to the electronics in the corner.  Giving it no further thought, I grab the bottle and take a large gulp.  Replacing the cap, I return the bottle to coffee table and trace my steps back to the bedroom.  Once inside, I move to my partner’s side of the bed and proceed to turn off the radio.  The soft blue glow immediately disappears.  As I turn to make my way to my side, I nearly trip on his sandals.  I curse under my breath about his attempting to kill himself should he get up and fall over them.  I bend to pick up the offending footwear and move them to the foot of the bed as I continue my journey to regain sleep.  I stretch out on the bed and close my eyes once again.  Minutes tick by and I can’t help but become aware of the silence permeating the room both from within it and from outside.  It invades my mind, causing me to continue my struggle.  Turning toward my lover, I rest my hand upon his warm body seeking succor and a chance to focus my thoughts elsewhere.  I lay with my eyes closed and my hand on his back for several minutes…until I feel a tingling surging through my hand and white flashes pulsating in my mind’s eye.  This is utterly useless.  I’m not going to fall back asleep.  It’s over!  The battle is over and I am clearly not the winner.  And that’s when the words start to form…yes, these words and many more.  Alright, might as well make it productive or at least try.

Once again, I toss off the covers, pick up my nightgown, grab my glasses and make my way back to the living room.  I immediately walk to the closed curtains and open them a fraction.  I reach my hand through and push the window open as well.  Moving over to the sofa, I reach behind it, turn on the light, sit down and take up my computer.  As I press the power button, it whirrs to life with its familiar chime.  Thank God I plugged in the headphones before turning it on since the chime alone could wake the dead during a thunderstorm.   As I have a clock on my desktop, I notice it is only 3:25am.  OMG!!!…It’s only been an hour since this whole episode has started.  UNBELIEVABLE!  Does time stand still in the middle of the night?  It must, I conclude.  Before I opt to pen anything worthy in my book, I jump into the popular music software of the day and choose some calming music to better help with the flow of the creative ideas.  Ok, time to get started…but instead I pop onto the internet to check if anything is going on.  Fine, it will give me a chance to collect my thoughts.  I soon realize I’ve been on my favorite social network site for over an hour…damn is it addictive.  Ok, ok…time to get cracking.  I open up a new word document and start typing.  Periodically, I glance up and look through the slight opening in the curtains…to gauge how long I’ve been in my waking state.  Although the clock on the computer reads 5:00am, outside is already light with the sky a pale blue.  It looks like it’s going to be a fine day.  However, as I stifle a yawn, I have a funny feeling I’m going to miss most of it.  Too ironic, isn’t it.  Anyway, pleasant dreams everyone…

Witness

The heavens do weep

For what man has done to Earth

We are all witness

Clear out the cobwebs

Sweep away hurt and sorrow

Unburden the mind

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