There was something missing.
That one empty spot marring the incomplete picture did not just indicate a last missing piece, it felt as if she had forgotten something else, something big and important, something that seemed to leave a big vacant hole in her chest.
She continued to stone and stare at the empty hole, her mind and subconscious drifting off into space.
A cold, heavy weight pressed down on her shoulder, abruptly startling her back into reality.
Said person graced her acknowledgement with a sweet, motherly smile more capable than a mug of hot chocolate could in giving warmth to a person in the coldest winter times. “Lost a jigsaw piece? Don’t worry, I’ll look out for it when I clean the house later. Dinner’s almost ready.”
“Wait, Mom.” She said as her mother turned to leave. “There’s something else. I feel as if I’d given away this last piece, to someone I guess, but I can’t remember who. Do you know anything about it? Before I lost part of my mem–”
“Don’t be silly, dear. You love your jigsaw puzzles so much you wouldn’t let anyone touch it. You probably just dropped it somewhere. Don’t think too much about it.”
Indeed, her collection of jigsaw puzzles was her treasure – she would not allow anyone, besides her mother, to go even within mere centimetres of her sets – and though the calm tone intended to reassure her, she couldn’t say the same for the subtle change in pressure on her shoulder as well as the slight variation in the tone in which she said it.
She knew it was impudent of her to think her mother was lying, but she could not help but wonder… Was she intentionally avoiding mentioning about the part of her life black patches now appear when she tried to remember? And if so, why..?
The golden hue of the warm evening sun coupled with the orange-red landscape of foliage created an extremely tranquil and soothing atmosphere. She strolled down the street lined by scarlet oaks, on her way home from the grocer.
A random shaft of light from the periphery of her vision caught her eye, which then led them wandering down a path through the park.
For some reason, it seemed to beckon her towards it. Since time was on her hands anyway, she decided to take that longer way back.
Fresh air permeated her olfactory senses, a far cry from the usual stale stench of bustling streets. It calmed her greatly, making her feel strangely light, the bag of goods unknowingly tossed to the side. The atmosphere grew cool but light, and seemed to exude a sense of nostalgia.
Leaves giggled softly as a breeze playfully flirted with them. She could not help but let out a little chuckle, feeling as unburdened and free as a bird.
She remembered this place: it was where they had always hung out at. Not exactly fans of fast-paced city lives, this was where time stopped specially for the two of them, letting them immerse in the still and in the wondrous beauty of nature.
Whether the trees were fresh and adorned with lush leaves, or whether the place was cloaked in white, they would always play here, it being their safe haven of hope, fun and solace. It was where life, even during the deepest throes of duress beyond this sanctuary, seemed fulfilled and complete.
These fond memories played at the strings of the harp in her heart, composing a melodic tune which resonated with them both.
But as she walked further down, nearing the edges of the place, thunder resounded in her mind like a rock band playing the drums. Tears rained down her cheeks with fierce rapidity. Claws tore not just her guts but also ripped her heart. She cried and wept and sobbed a flood of emotions that drowned her in its midst. She could feel herself sinking, lost within the depths of a vortex of sorrow.
Her vision blurred and her consciousness seemed to fade to a blank slate of mind. No, not white or empty, but red, bright fresh scarlet, strong healthy crimson.
Something lay still and unmoving on the ground. It would have appeared to be in peaceful slumber, a light smile gracing and lighting up its already sacrosanct features. It could have fooled anyone, were its body not crooked and broken, and horridly bathed in blood.
The short instant of a second. That moment that changed everything. The hard force on her arm that pushed her away, its touch still unnaturally tingling at the area of contact even now; that horrible, grating screeching of metal; the terrified screams and cries anticipatory of the impending outcome; that sickening crush of bones and splash of viscous liquid… That strangely assuring look on the victim’s face that told nothing of its pain nor concern for its fate…
And all she could do was stare.
The world crumbled and collapsed around her as she fell both down and apart with grief and despair.
All that… For her… Its hand unyieldingly holding on to something of utmost trivia in this moment of unseen wicked fate.
It had known how important it was to her. But it was unknown to her the foolishness of her actions, and the consequence that came with it.
For that last little jigsaw piece, that saw the bond between them both through the beginning of time, it saw it through to the end.
She knew what she had lost now. She remembered. Not merely part of her memories, or that jigsaw puzzle… but her everything.