Penelope trembled as she stared at the final piece. Did she dare complete the puzzle? What would it reveal? Why had she believed such nonsense? She shook her head, remembering.

The Internet ad had caught her eye a few weeks ago. “Feeling lost? Puzzled about your life? She nodded, as if the computer could see her. She even spoke aloud. “Nothing to live for, no one to care about.” She scrolled down and gasped. The ad continued, “Nothing to live for? No one to care about?” She was terrified, but fascinated.

“You’ve come to the right place,” the ad assured her. “What should I do?” she cried.

“Order our Magic Jigsaw Puzzle,” exclaimed the ad in a bold new font. She quickly read on. The puzzle would scan her subconscious as she painstakingly put the one thousand pieces together. “The fragments of your deepest self will come together in an unparalleled moment of revelation and inspiration.” Of course it was a scam, too good to be true. But she was desperate, alone, frightened, in isolation. At least a puzzle would fill the empty hours.

Now, she faced the moment of truth. Nine hundred ninety-nine pieces in place. The almost-completed puzzle was a blur of dream-like colors and incoherent shapes, revealing nothing. She sighed and finally inserted the last piece.

The colors swirled into emerald and azure mountains, shadowy valleys. A silver ball slowly ascended each peak and delved into each dark valley, growing brighter as it traveled. Penelope suddenly understood. She could become the silver ball, lovingly navigating the contours of her life. No miraculous solutions, just ever more profound mysteries. No hurry to reach the destination, just exulting in the journey. Living for life itself, the great unanswered question. Caring about every living thing, beginning with the unique and wondrous being named Penelope.

Time to begin. She took one tentative step outside into a world fragrant with recent rain. The sun warmed her face. She saw the tip of a tiny green stem, bravely pushing through dark soil. She took another step and another, growing brighter as she walked.

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Voice-Team
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Voice-Team (@voice-team)
6 months ago

A fantasy tale with everyday truth at its core. Uplifting and powerful. Great concept that will be in our minds each time any of us complete a jigsaw puzzle. Great descriptions: “blur of dream-like colors and incoherent shapes”; “emerald and azure mountains, shadowy valleys”. Wonderful line “unparalleled moment of revelation and inspiration.”

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
7 months ago

Life is a puzzle, and I think we do sometimes look a little bit too hard to find the meaning instead of just getting out and enjoying it. Great story.

Alan Kemister
Alan Kemister (@alan-kemister)
7 months ago

Hello, interesting take on the theme using the puzzle to inspire Penelope to venture forth, exulting in the journey for the journey itself. Are most jigsaw puzzle doers interested in the journey or are they subconsciously striving to get the blasted thing done?
Incidentally, I never insert the last piece in a jigsaw puzzle because there’s nothing puzzling about that last piece. It has only one place to go. Maybe I missed out on the fireworks.

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
6 months ago
Reply to  Alan Kemister

That’s an interesting thing to say – that you never place the last piece! Here is a puzzle for you to ponder Alan – what if the last piece, happened to be your first piece?

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Alan Kemister
Alan Kemister (@alan-kemister)
6 months ago
Reply to  Eric Radcliffe

The first one now shall later be last because the times they are a-changing.

Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi (@katy-bizi)
6 months ago
Reply to  Alan Kemister

I have to say, Alan, your comment was truly what I like to call “food for thought”. It really makes you see puzzles in a different way, just like Juma’s story puts you in deep thoughts.

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
6 months ago

Hiya Juma, a wonderful inner and outer duel between the self and its purpose. And in the end is the puzzle really a puzzle as Penelope discovers the beauty in the rain, and the sun, but also the tiny shoot pushing its way through the soil, the last piece of the jigsaw. Another wonderful write Juma – Thank You.

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
6 months ago

How interesting that you took Penelope from weaving at her loom to assembling a wood jigsaw puzzle on her computer. In both cases, she is waiting and hoping for something to happen to get out of her isolated state. I love it that she found a sense of maturing in the process, accepting life as a mystery without a definite solution; looking at life, and even her own name, in a new way. Great writing!

Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
6 months ago

Congratulations, Juma! This story is beautifully written, and very inspiring.

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Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse (@marianna-pieterse)
6 months ago

Congratulations, Juma! I enjoyed this story so much. Well done!

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
6 months ago

Congratulations Juma. This was another great story from you – Thank You!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
6 months ago

Congratulations. I love how you take life as a puzzle to solve. Very well written.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
6 months ago
Reply to  Juma

You’re welcome.

Santina Forlenza
Santina Forlenza (@santina-forlenza)
6 months ago

Hi Juma, you gave to Penepole a wonderful story to live in! And she became the silver ball driving her life. Thank you Juma.

Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi (@katy-bizi)
6 months ago

Juma, congratulations! You have written another truly amazing story. Keep writing and sharing with the world your gift!

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Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti (@dipayan-chakrabarti)
6 months ago

The story is a fantasy, but it is rooted in reality.

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti (@dipayan-chakrabarti)
6 months ago
Reply to  Juma

You’re welcome.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
6 months ago

I am happy for you, Juma. Congratulations on another win.

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