This time it was a puzzle piece.
I watched, fascinated, as its edges began to curl in the crackling oil. I saw, perhaps, the leg of a small dog. Or could it be flowers, ready to bloom? Was this where all the lost puzzle pieces of the world ended up?
I imagined some poor soul assembling this puzzle on their dining room table, anticipation building as everything began to come together, and then… one piece missing, never to be found. The unfinished puzzle, boxed back up and returned to the shelf, ready to mock them whenever they needed a bath towel or decided to play a game of Sorry.
At this point, I realized that I was talking to myself, speaking my thoughts… slowly. Like reading a book to a small child. I was clearly weak with hunger.
I reached down, pulled the piece (now soggy with oil) from the skillet, winced as the cardboard scalded my fingers, and popped it in my mouth.
It was hardly as satisfying as I had hoped, but with some persistent chewing and a glass of water, I managed to gulp it down.
I tossed the pieces of broken shell into the sink and grabbed another one from the carton.
Always the optimist.