Rendered Fat Content


"I'm more of a tape the box together sort of guy …"

I've put this puzzle back together scores of times. Each time, the age-worn pieces fit together a little differently. My memory holds an impressionistic representation of what the finished picture should be, mostly composed of reanimated routines snugging within old familiars, but it never seems to end up just as I remembered it being before. Each completion an off iteration of whatever had come before. Leaving crumbles the puzzle into constituent pieces, throwing them haphazardly into a box half Scotch® taped together, cover photo faded and worn. Returning pulls that box back out of the game cupboard to lay out those pieces for reassembly, tedious but necessary effort. One cannot stay away for ever and one can never return to find the SigJawPuzzle already completed.

It might not matter where I begin.
I fancy that I've learned how to fit these pieces back together again after decades of serial completions. I seem to lose a piece or two every time, though I swear that I sometimes find previously lost ones in the pile of pieces I pour from their box. I wait a day or two before even beginning, having no real use for instant recovery of my old routines. The first couple of days seem especially designed to be disorienting, the price of disruption, but never an onerous price. I might choose this time to forego reconstructing every previous routine, some seeming to have lost their attraction. Maybe it's time for a change?

Change comes continuously, sometimes punctuated with strangely persistent illusions of no change for a while. Many changes occur so infinitesimally that they amount to no practical change at all. Just assuming previous positions invokes actions which seem to instantly reassemble sizable chunks of my puzzle. I sit in my writing chair after two weeks absence and I start writing as if I'd never left. My muscles seem to remember more than my mind ever does; I reengage almost automatically. I have to talk myself into attempting to restart some routines, though, as if I've utterly forgotten how to cook or mow the lawn. I have to coax myself into starting, which shakes loose whatever facility got stuck when I left.

The town looks very similar and I suspect that the world might not have changed as dramatically as I felt that I had. Traffic moves in boringly familiar patterns. The same people greet me when I enter a shop. I don't suppose that any of my changes show, though I feel as if I glow with them, emitting an odd light which seems glaring, but probably only to me. I sort through possibilities at the start of the day thinking I might break accustomed strides, but don't. Familiar constraints kick right in, limiting my latitudes without advertising their presence. I find myself lost in what I expected to be familiar country and I catch myself wondering what I've gone and done this time. The Muse leaves for a business trip back east tomorrow morning after only three days returned. She sometimes leaves so often that I wonder if she'll ever came back, but she's the puzzle meister in this family, conquering thousand piece behemoths for a weekend's entertainment. I'm more of a tape the box together sort of guy, better at storing away than reconstructing.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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