What is Lost is Found

I grew up in a championship puzzler household
We may not have communicated clearly or directly
But we knew how to do puzzles
We each had our own methods so sometimes doing a puzzle together was difficult
Going solo, I would endlessly do the same puzzles sometimes taking time to start with the frame and building inward
Other times I would build by colors only and leave the frame until the end
Usually feeling surprised and delighted again by the scene as it unfolded
If I was feeling particularly impish, I would steal and hide puzzle pieces from my brother’s “in progress” puzzle just to watch the frustration build on his face
Sitting across the room chuckling to myself
But don’t judge me as I was the older sister and psychological torment was part of the job

Lately I have been missing puzzle pieces
I look in the usual places, on the floor, in the box lid, under the couch, in the vacuum
I can’t see to find them and blame the dog for eating them since he eats everything else

It’s not just me
The world is missing pieces too
Our Uncle with a great smile is missing from family photos
Our Mom with her special recipes is no longer in the kitchen
Our child with expounding love for everyone isn’t in her room
Unfortunately, I found our missing pieces in the place I last expected
In the pages of the newspaper
Pages and pages of them
The fabric that underlies our family is gone
The picture on the cover of the box is forever changed and we don’t know how to assemble the puzzle without them

If we try to put it all together there will be great gaps and holes that make the picture fractured and unclear

I am not a great fan of the puzzles that are a single color
It is too challenging to my aesthetic to think of puzzling in only shape configurations
I like that puzzles are a collage of shapes, colors and images
It’s important to me to have a map to move forward with
Puzzling is about solving the question posed
How does this fit together?
What scene am I recreating?

Puzzles are orderly and systemic
There is only 1 right way to do them
They are a snapshot in time
They are die cut by machines that are immune to the notion of compassion and don’t think about the ethics of cutting off one’s nose or head to create a piece
The machines separate bodies
They cut the heads off dogs
Remove seagulls from beach skies
Leave off meatballs from heaping piles of spaghetti
They randomize the cuts so that no two pieces will fit together in the same way
They don’t expect you to solve the puzzle without all the pieces
They don’t give a fuck; they are just machines doing a job

The obituary pages are rows of people you may have sat next to on the train or waited in line behind at Starbucks
They are people’s beloved teachers, friends, aunts, mothers, uncles, neighbors
They lovingly held our recipes, our secrets, our language, our history, our cultures and conversations
They held stories about how our world looked different
How we felt about each other before
What we looked like when we had bangs and had to drag a chair to the kitchen counter to get a mug out of the cabinet
How we liked to lick the cake batter spoon
How we studied all night to get an A on the test
How we worked 3 jobs to put our self through grad school
How badly we played the flute in the junior high band
How they comforted us when were sad, lonely or scared
Those memories are pieces that get sucked up by the vacuum and emptied into the trash
Collectively we are running down the street in our pajamas trying to flag down the garbage truck to get back those pieces
Hair all disheveled looking kind of crazy
If we only had those puzzle pieces our world would make sense again
We might feel safe again
We might remember who we were
We might not feel so lost

Felicia is driven by curiosity. She takes things apart and puts them back together: dryers, door handles and ideas. She values directness as well as kindness. In life or salsa class she will be moving in the opposite direction of the crowd (sometimes not on purpose). Her family is nice enough to leave all the drawers open for her to push in so she feels useful. She lives outside of Boston on the North Shore with a large man with a heart of gold, a tween who sings like an angel but can’t remember to wear her own coat home from school and a greyhound named Arnie who enjoys crispy bread. You can follow Felicia on her website, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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