Dear Hopeful Puzzler,

I understand that you and your family are not lifelong puzzle enthusiasts and that you were only looking for momentary diversion during a stressful and upsetting time, but it has been four months since I have been stuck underneath the television in the living room. During this time, I have narrowly avoided being chewed up by a rat, a cat, and a very aggressive pet bird. I have also developed a severe dust allergy, which, as the person responsible for cleaning the living room, you will understand is a major concern.

Before joining your household, I lived a fairly sheltered life. Most puzzle pieces never see the light of day—especially those that are meant to depict shades of gray arranged in a gradient pattern. But then, on that fateful day one week into the Shelter at Home order, you clicked the “Purchase” button on an unethically understaffed e-commerce website, and my life was forever changed.

The dreams of a young puzzle piece are small ones. The day that you and your family popped off the cover of our box and haphazardly scattered us across the top of a coffee table was the best day of our lives. In many ways, it was the beginning of our lives. Those two long evenings of you and your adult children trying to fit us together were incredibly special to me, and I was so happy to be able to share this experience with my sister, Slightly Darker Shade of Gray, and my cousin, Slightly Darker Darker Shade of Gray.

Life was ideal. That is, until your elbow knocked me to the floor and an unsupervised Roomba carried me to my current resting place underneath the television. Of course, there was no way that you could have known what had happened to me. No one notices a missing puzzle piece until the puzzle is near completion, and from what I can tell, you are still quite a long way away from that. This is why I am taking the responsibility to communicate my needs and my wants clearly.

I only want to be given the respect that has been given my nine hundred and ninety-nine siblings and be returned to the coffee table. I am not even asking you to complete the puzzle. I understand that puzzles can be complicated, especially grey ones, and there are so many other activities that you can do in your house during these times.

Though my position under the television set may be uncomfortable, I am well placed to overhear conversations, and I have heard a lot about your son’s exploits with gardening and your husband’s multiple failed attempts at the New York Times’ Dutch Baby recipe. And of course, there are your own trials and tribulations with trying to build a coffee table out of a wood pallet that you found in an alleyway six years ago. With all these new interests, I am sure that it is the easiest thing in the world to forget about the task that you began almost half a year ago.

Of course, I understand that life has been stressful for everyone over these past several months. Hobbies have been picked up and then discarded. Passions have come and gone. Such are the new regularities of life, and we must all find our own ways to adjust to this strange new world. I just hope, that within the confines of these busy times, you will find it in your heart to rescue me from my present obscurity.

Trying to Be Yours Again,
A Hopeful Puzzle Piece

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