It's a bit like puzzle pieces when everything fits together. It fits nicely together, locks into place, held only by the snug curves and bends that caress one another. You can pull it apart still. Some people like to glue their puzzles, hang them up on the walls, make them into a decoration. My grandmother used to buy the 1000 piece sets and solve them by herself for hours into the night. She said it helped her sleep. She was awake for hours. Three in the morning, I would find her in the living room slaving over the 795th piece on a puzzle of the Big Ben. I didn't tell her to stop. She said it was entertaining. The walls were filled with puzzles. "Decorations," in her eyes. They were just puzzles. I sometimes wished they would fall apart, corrode, collapse, crumble to the ground. I didn't like to look at them - almost whole, almost full images, almost entire paintings, broken apart by lossy print quality and little striations where the puzzle pieces were separated. Any and every avid puzzle collector, however, has a special type of glue that they use generously. She was no fool, my grandmother. She didn't want those puzzles falling off the walls like I so wished. And so my dream - and my nightmare - was crushed. The puzzles would never fall off. I would never see the decades-old pictures removed from the living room walls, I would never be freed from the shabby puzzles depicting Van Gogh and DaVinci paintings that watched me as I slept in the guest bedroom, I would never have to see her break her back straining to pick up every last piece, crying over the lost work, mourning her sparing usage of puzzle glue. That never happened. It wouldn't ever happen. I prayed that it might. I wanted her to be free from the cycle of puzzle assembly. One day, a puzzle fell down - her favored Claude Monet Water Lilies painting that hung above her bed. I felt unreal, my body was unavailable. It seemed to me this moment could change my life - the puzzles could stop here. Maybe her tears in the moment would bring her a moment of clarity. She picked up the pieces and carried them in her bustled skirt, brought them over to the trashcan. I held my breath as I watched her put it in the garbage. The very next day, she went out to the Hobby Lobby and bought a replacement, which she efficiently re-assembled and hung in the exact same spot, with a new frame and glass to keep it safe.

The puzzles never stopped.