The Missing Piece
Keep it together, man. There's no use falling to pieces over it.
Michelle checked under the toddler bed and behind the shelves and dresser in Ella’s bedroom. Jake scoured the living room. Olivia put down the book she was reading under extreme eye-rolling protest to search the hallways and kitchen. And Ella, poor Ella, sat on top of her floor puzzle with the grim realization that the one piece that would complete it was gone forever...
The little puzzle piece awoke to find herself not in the bedroom anymore. It was brighter here, sunny and warm, and she smiled as a pleasant breeze blew again her face.
Face? She didn’t remember having a face before. She couldn’t remember being able to move about freely, either, and yet here she was, walking through a strange meadow, the air thick with pleasant bird-song.
But where were her 47 brothers and sisters from the Dr. Seuss Floor Puzzle box she used to live in? Where were her cousins from the second puzzle featuring timeless characters that came in the bundle they’d all traveled to the Young Girl’s house in? And where was the Young Girl who used to delight in placing them all together while developing her reasoning and motor skills? The little puzzle piece began to feel very sad.
“Do not be afraid,” called out a voice from behind her. The little puzzle piece turned to see several familiar things standing in the meadow who had come to greet her. She immediately recognized several pacifiers in the group from when the Young Girl would toss them down to the floor where she’d lay. Many toys waved happily, toys the little puzzle piece knew had been a part of the Young Girl’s various playsets. And there were socks here, so MANY socks, all of whom the little puzzle piece had seen covering the Young Girl’s feet at one time or another.
Finally, an old teething ring stepped forward and grinned, “Welcome to the Lost Valley, little puzzle piece. You are among friends.”