Puzzles provided comfort. When the world around her was a maelstrom of mess and misunderstanding, puzzles were there where everything would fit eventually.
Then the diagnosis came.
For her it was a relief, for her mother a source of shame, for her father an explanation which not only explained his daughter but himself.
Within months of the diagnosis, her mother left; no longer able to put up with the blank stares the daughter would give her whenever she tried to explain why she needed to fit in, why she needed to make an effort to be normal.
Puzzles didn’t need to make an effort to fit; puzzles just did.
She liked puzzles. Mother did not. Mother had left.
He would sit beside her in silence and watch her decipher the puzzle she was working upon.
One day, he spoke. “The world is made up of puzzles. Sometimes people try to put you into a puzzle where you don’t belong, but for everyone, there is a puzzle where you fit perfectly and it’s beautiful.”
She stopped working on her puzzle, took his hand and squeezed it. He looked surprised but relieved.
Time passed and she moved from 2D puzzles, to 3D puzzles and then the world. She liked to watch people and fit them into the world like puzzle pieces. Her father was right, sometimes they didn’t fit and it was awkward while other times, they did fit and it was beautiful.