I’m in the common room of my apartment complex watching several women put together an assortment of jigsaw puzzles. When I look around the room, I notice a solitary puzzle piece lying on a bare table. No chairs are in front of it so; I go over figuring the puzzle piece is part of the one of those the women are assembling.
“Who’s missing a puzzle piece?” I say, holding it up
It is sky blue—an edge piece
“Bring it over here, Nichole. “ “It looks like it goes to mine,” one of the women says.
As I turn toward Marianne, I notice an unoccupied table with a nearly completed puzzle on it. When I go over to her, she moves a chair out of my way, and I hand her the puzzle piece. After a few minutes of trying to match this piece with one of her edges, she surrenders.
“Ruth, you try,” she says. After walking over to take the puzzle piece from Marianne. She makes several attempts. It doesn’t fit. As I watch the piece going from one woman to another, I realize I am the mismatched puzzle piece- the one who doesn’t fit life.
I’m twenty-three years old with blond hair. The other women in this room have white, gray or graying hair—they all old enough to be my grandmother. Beyond sharing an apartment complex with elderly women. I’m also a person with a disability
My disability confines me to a wheelchair, but I have the same intellectual functioning as able-bodied people my age. Because I can’t get in and out of bed on my own, I’m dependent on friends to care for me. I’m bound by other people’s schedules. So I miss out on opportunities to “hang out” with my so-called peers. Just as my thoughts become mired in despair, Virginia walks in the room and says. “Has anyone seen the puzzle piece I left on the table?”
“You mean this one,” says Frances, holding up the piece.
“Yes,” she says smiling as she goes to retrieve it
I smile as I watch Virginia fit the piece in her puzzle knowing I would eventually fit in life’s jigsaw puzzle.
Note: this piece has been published in Christian connections of Oklahoma, but I have retained the rights to it.