Puzzled Times

I´m forcing myself to sit down and write just for the sake and discipline of it, because now that more and more people are getting infected and the curve is spiking up, it´s hard to focus my head in any other thought that does not include the word Coronavirus in it. 

Isabel found a 500 piece puzzle that was shoved in a drawer.  I don´t even remember the last time I made a puzzle.  We were together for less than fifteen minutes and then Isabel got bored and left, and that´s how I ended up alone.  After a long time of being intimidated by the number of pieces and not knowing where to start, I started to form small groups of colors and a little later I was so into it, I could not stop making the puzzle.  I could hear my boys fighting over who knows what upstairs as a background noise.  BOYS BEEE QUIET! I shouted with all my strength.  I need to Concentrate! Because of my very, very loud cry, they understood this was serious business and miraculously they left me in peace and there was silence for a couple of hours.  Making this puzzle has been the high moment of my week. 

While I fit the pieces, feeling a tiny rush of adrenaline when one finds the correct place,  I have this memory of making a puzzle on my grandparent’s glass table when I was a girl.  Then, I deliberately dedicate the next few hours reviving a bunch of memories of those never-ending afternoons playing cards.  My grandparents had a name for each card.  It was like a family slang.  They lived on Camelia Street in the Florida neighborhood in Mexico City.  This destiny made me produce the same endorphins I now have when I travel someplace.  If I could choose to be quarantined in any house in the world, stay in a pause in any time of my life, it would be there. 

Of course 90% of that house’s enchantment was my grandmother.  Until this day, I have not met a happier, funnier woman than she was.  We all orbited around her like bugs, attracted by a light bulb at night.  One time, she asked me to keep a secret.  Just my sister Maria and I knew that the real reason she had broken a rib one time was because she had jumped on the beds with us.  She fell and landed in a bad position.  She begged us not to tell my grandfather one word about it…. He will KILL me if he finds out I was jumping on the beds, mija.  I burst into laughter while I find two of the blue missing pieces I was looking for. 

Of course like a good masochist, after a good memory, as if it were a glass of wine, comes the hangover and I question if my children will remember this lockdown like I remember that house.  Then, with that mere thought, I summon them and they start to fight again….WILL YOU PLEASE BE QUIET?  I am working!  I shout again while I complete the upper right corner of the puzzle. YESSS! No, definitely, my house is not as peaceful and I am not a light bulb that attracts people like bugs, actually, these days, I’m more like a bug repellent. 

My grandma used to tell us stories every night; Catimatinca, Rosa, Margarita and Violeta and other stories that were not the typical ones.  The only thing I tell my kids every night is to go to bed or you will be grounded with no screen time tomorrow and it WILL happen this time!…you’ll see! 

I really need to stop comparing myself to my grandmother.  Long time ago, I read The Art of Happiness written by the Dalai Lama.  I don’t remember much about it, but I do remember a point that I never forgot.  Human beings will measure their happiness comparing themselves to other humans.  This is a nasty habit that we cannot avoid.  So, if we will do this practice anyway, it would be very wise to compare oneself to those who are less than you.  

Okay, with that thought in mind, I will think of the most horrible people I have met, in the most hideous places I have been to, and then I think of myself as a saint, my house is Paradise, my kids are the most fortunate beings on this planet.  Anyway… I am now about to finish my puzzle. Hurray!  I am filled with immense joy, a little conquest I won, an enigma I figured out all by myself. 

I discover my son Andres at the door frame with a mischievous smile. Mom! You are NOT working, you are making a puzzle.  Look, mijito, at this point in time, this puzzle here is the most important work in the world, so stop bugging me and order another puzzle from Amazon this instant. 

Regina Moya, day 92 of lockdown.