Last week, I spent many hours putting puzzles together. It wasn't the family holiday endeavor of a 1000 piece jigsaw of the Swiss Alps, set up on the dining room table after the big meal is over. No, this was serious puzzle mastery. At least in the eyes of the three year old and the 1.5 year old. Their focus was epic; they possessed the same enthusiasm as a snowboarder staring down a fresh powder mountain, or a painter with palette in hand and canvas in front of Trevi Fountain.
The three year old's fingers were nimble. He was swift and knew the puzzle so well, he slid the pieces as easily as one slides an egg into an egg carton. Sometimes I helped and pushing the malleable cardboard piece into place was so satisfying. The air beneath compresses and softly, subtly shoots out the sides. One can feel and almost hear the pleasant vacuum-pack swish.
That moment of exactness, of fitting perfectly into place--I gave it more reflection than I ever thought possible. I remembered the shoe my foot had slid into so Cinderella easy. How I loved those rain boots or running shoes, or slippers.
And blue jeans. I can relive the moment of those perfect 501s: worn, soft, body forming. Like a second skin. It was worse than saying good-bye to a dear friend when my mom having patched them for the tenth time, announced they were no longer wearable.
The down jacket that felt like it was made from a mold of my body. My favorite cap and the sorrow I endured as I felt the wind whip it from my head, thrust it in to the wake of the boat, and then I had to watch it sink. No hat or cap has ever made my head feel so divine.
Or puzzle piecing together science, numbers or philosophy. Finally fitting into place a counter-intuitive law of physics or the abstract idea of existentialism.
I have found those perfect fits in relationships. When I know what Tony's thinking; when I feel a surge of motherly love; when a friend comes to my rescue.
More often than not, those eventual perfect fits need altering, or a time consuming search on the sunglass rack with 200 pairs. Or a few "I'm sorry's." Forgiveness and some long talks, or adjustments and rearranging. Like puzzles, we throw the possibilities out on the floor, gather them back in, find the corners, then sort by color and shape; and then we start fitting those pieces together and one by one, and eventually feel the ahhhh and wonder of having made a perfect fit.