On Stages of Love

The puzzle pieces are scattered, surrounding me in this crammed room.


I wanna vomit, but I lose the courage to do it.


Courage, huh.


Courage is dangerous. In fact, courage is the face behind my mask of stubbornness and strong will.


There is too much courage, too much vigor—it is overwhelming, suffusing the time to pause and think. Thoughts are alien in my courage. All the while, I have been thinking about making the most out of everything yet losing everything still.


Courage can be pretty much ironic.


So courage it is.


It is but fueled by the courage that I painstakingly lay each piece around me as I try to make sense of the whole puzzle. Just so you know, I am not provided with a guide. The pieces I find inside a box neatly wrapped in manila paper, untied. The box is neither enticing nor mysterious. I happen to open it, for I get curious. Plus courage, mind.


Curiosity is the mask; courage remains the face.


How do the pieces lay in disarray before me? I am clueless where to start. What am I solving anyway? There is ample time—and courage—but I am also having second thoughts, what-ifs, hypotheses… As much as I do not know where to set off, these doubts I am mindless about whenever they may take me.


Courage and doubts: what an interesting pair.


But I pick a single piece anyway—one nearest to my left hand. I dispossess a hidden layer of the hand I choose. It just is I come to think of at the moment. Oh, maybe courage has willed it.


The single piece lay on the floor. It is still. And quiet. I think of death. And rainbows. Both are magic. Both are ends. And Beginnings. As I look at the rest of the pieces, they may have also been randomly picked by me. They may have also looked at the first piece to pave way for the rest.


This courageous move is ridiculous. Well, courage is the face and all others can be masks.


Imagine a thousand pieces on the floor, and I have yet begun with a single innocent piece. What are the chances? What are the odds?


Nevertheless, I am not sans hope; for the seemingly random pieces contain seemingly random colors seemingly suggesting a pattern—the whole point of the puzzle. The sense of my beginning choice.


A pattern with courage: not a hideous idea.


I follow the pattern. I take courage with me. They are inseparable—a match made in heaven. I must say the pattern is the stalwart ally of courage, for it is the pattern I gradually make both sense and progress. When the time comes and I have to share my story of this formerly clue-less puzzle, I will gratefully confide to anyone that solving the puzzle is possible with its pattern. So is any type of problem. The pattern is the lighthouse. Through pattern, I gain a repetitive form of conduct; through repetition, I earn a habit. And habit is breakable. Plus the fact that I possess this whole lot of impossible courage: anything is possible, breaking habits included.


 A pattern is a chain. It contains a series of strong points, but there is an unmistakable weak spot. To break a habit, a pattern, or a chain, always aim for the weak spot. When the weak spot is vulnerable, no habit, pattern, or chain is formidable enough.


And oh, make courage as the hitting blow.


I spend about an entire week to almost complete the puzzle. On the sixth day, the image slowly appears. I get the big picture. I am never struck by lightning before, but that’s how the revelation of the image comes to me. It is like jumping off the cliff (cliché as it may sound), but I have tried jumping off a cliff once (courtesy of my helpful courage) but finding a cool and soothing sea below. But with this, I hit a solid, firm ground. Unlike the former, I trust my jump is purely adventurous and fun; but the latter is totally risky. Like I’ve said, I do not know what lies ahead.


Now that I finally have the slightest hint, courage to solve the puzzle has withdrawn. I regain it by burning the pieces all together.


I courageously set the whole puzzle ablaze.






Mabel Shaira Calaban