There is a place where the thousand fragments make a grander whole. Like a mosaic, collected and punctiliously pieced together over many years. Today I found it is missing a tile, however. The flaw is barely visible, holding up to even the closest scrutiny. Not to mine, though, but of course I know where to look. No matter how many new pieces I glue in place, expanding the whole, the shard gone missing is irretrievable. And like any such previously lost tiles (for there have been many), it is irreplaceable.
So, I am left with a dilemma. How to replace the irretrievable? For no puzzle is truly ever complete until you use up all the pieces and I am acutely aware this one tile is missing. In a creator’s attempt to reinvent the tableau, I try to fill the blanks with other fragments. Some fit awkwardly, others even less so. Most of them are only band-aid over the whole anyway, the temporary tonic to carry on, because carry on I must. It is a process of trial and error not too dissimilar from an alchemist’s tribulations, learning how to exist in a present different from what was.
The tableau is not perfect. Nor will it ever be, I suspect.
I’m not quite sure I’ve been honest with myself. Of course, I know where the collection of lost shards is. Still, it doesn’t make them any easier to retrieve (impossibly so, really). The thousand fragments are mine to lug around. They fit in a briefcase as a matter of fact, packed and ready for travel. Every now and then I’m gripped by fear I forgot it at the airport before I boarded the plane. The memories of what was have a nasty habit of remaining behind, like so many signposts on a road you’ve traveled but can’t retread. They loom faraway, yet are still so close.
While the mosaic will likely never be perfect, perhaps my job is to persevere mixing and matching the multitude of tiles. A myriad of new colors and shapes going through the hands. A new one is bound to fit and perhaps replace the irreplaceable. It will be a different tableau, granted. But it could end up being better than the one previous. It will be complete.
Did you like what you read? Then leave a message, I’d love to hear what you think.