I’m still trying to piece together the puzzle; its borders completed, but a large block of solid blue pieces that connect the earth to the sky are missing. The bottom of the puzzle has all of its elements: my near head-on car crash, Billy inexplicably volunteering his password to his private email account, the card he gave me ten days prior to Martin Luther King Day that featured a poem of angels and belief. Perhaps my favorite part of the puzzle is the last mental video clip that loops in my mind with sorrowful jubilance.
I played that clip repeatedly last night while watching the Globes--I was lying on Pee Wee’s couch, Bob asleep at my feet, the show winding down to a Moulin Rouge victory. Billy worked behind me, staging his eBay items as he took picture after picture to upload for his future sales. I looked behind me and that’s when I saw him, the man I was proud to marry.
The mustache as expressive as Chaplin’s, his animated look of focus made me smile with pride. He’d come so far, survived the hell of addiction, and there he was, fussing over the backdrop sheet to make certain each picture captured would boost the price of his goods. He was happy and hopeful again. Looking at him, that first blush of love that I had felt almost ten years ago returned. I didn’t say anything. I just let the moment privately glow for me without sharing it with him.
Around half past eleven, I went downstairs to bed with Bob, Billy assuring me he would be down soon. That was it.
Here’s where I’ve lost some of those pieces to the puzzle, the blue ones of the sky. The coroner said it could have happened anywhere from one to four in the morning. I rarely fell asleep before Billy, but that night I did, probably a little after midnight. I don’t even remember feeling particularly tired but I fell asleep without him next to me. Usually, I would have retrieved him from upstairs with a whiney, “C’mon.”
I didn’t. I fell asleep, instead. Shortly afterward, so did Billy, although he’d never wake up. The why part of the sky is missing.
If I look carefully at the rest of the scattered pieces to the puzzle, I can see that there’s a bright orange kite meant to float in the endless blue, high above the ground, cascading in the breeze. The jigsaw is a bare table from where kite soars to earth's hard ground. I know I should give up trying to complete the damned puzzle, its missing pieces probably gone forever, but I can’t.
I can’t figure out who would make such an intricate puzzle only to leave out the best part, a kite left in limbo with its sky missing.