• Laura

Unsolved Mysteries: The Case of the Missing Puzzle Piece

Raleigh, NC: The puzzle was in the three-year-old’s possession for less than 48 hours when the piece went missing. After the initial excitement of finding a jumbo-sized Treasure Map puzzle in his basket on Easter morning, the box was left unopened for most of the day. Easter service and egg hunts filled the daytime hours. But on Sunday evening, eggs found and candy consumed, work on the fifty piece puzzle began.

He approached the puzzle with intense concentration, connecting seven pieces before his mother dragged him off to bed. On Monday morning, he added three pieces before he was unceremoniously lifted away and buckled in his carseat to drop his brothers off at school. After returning home from school drop-off and a Costco run, he was able to add sixteen more pieces in between begging for more Easter candy and following his mother around the house as she did all the vacation laundry.

By the time they needed to leave for afternoon carpool, the puzzle was half-completed. He stamped his foot when his mother said it was time to go; he wanted to keep working. She would not budge. “The puzzle will be here when we get back,” she said. “We have to leave or we’ll be late.”

His mother was right; the puzzle was still there when they returned home. He added five more pieces before dinner. The final nine remained; would he be able to complete the puzzle before bed?

As soon as dinner was over he returned to his work, eager to put the last pieces into place. “Almost done,” he announced when only a few holes remained. With just three pieces to go, his mother came to cheer him on. “Only two pieces left!” she exclaimed with enthusiasm after he pressed another part of the map into place. He slotted the next to last piece into place, and started looking frantically for the last piece.

“Where is it, Mommy?” he asked, pouting a little. “I can’t finish my puzzle.”

A search party sent under the couch revealed three goldfish, two matchbox cars, and a blue crayon, but no puzzle piece.

His brothers were questioned. Had they seen the missing piece? One grinned mischievously, but wouldn’t answer. The other barely glanced up from his book, uninterested in the case of the missing puzzle piece.

With no leads, and a rapidly approaching bedtime, the search was called off until the morning.

On Tuesday, he spent the day taking apart the puzzle and putting it back together. Each time he hoped the missing piece would be revealed, but the case remained unsolved. Another search mission was executed; a marble and a bookmark were rescued from under the couch, but the missing piece was not.

The missing piece is orange on one side and shows the ocean and the back of a sea dragon on the other. The owner of the puzzle is offering three pieces of Easter candy and one small dinosaur figurine to the person who can find the piece and allow him to finish the puzzle.

This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in the series "Breaking News".

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