She awoke to find pieces of her mind scattered around her. She had fallen asleep in the middle of the floor in the middle of the afternoon. It was dark now and she was cold. The wooden planks of the floor and the walls creaked in response to the wind outside.
She lifted herself up on her elbows slowly and looked around. At first glance it looked like all the pieces were there, but she’d have to count them one by one to be sure. In any case, it was good that they all seemed to be there. Too often these days she would wake up on the floor to find too few pieces remaining around her. Those days were not good days.
She dragged herself on her elbows to the small table close to the edge of the room. She reached up to turn on the lamp and picked up her notebook and a pen. Then she dragged herself back to the place in the middle of the room where she had been sleeping. Keeping her head as straight as possible, she sat up and crossed her legs. She reached out her hands flat against the floor and slid them forward until she came across the first piece. She examined it carefully, taking in the varying shades of purple and looking for any scratches or dents. She turned the piece in her hand several times checking for any roughness or chipped edges. It seemed to be intact. She smiled and bent down to jot in her notebook:
Thursday, March 17, 1998, 8:24 p.m.
1. Sincerity, purple — as new
She raised the piece to her open head and felt around for the right spot. She dropped the piece in and tapped it gently to make sure the fit was right. Then she slid her hands on the floor again and came to another piece.
One by one she found the pieces, examined them, recorded them and their condition, and then placed them in the correct spot in her head. Soon she had returned each piece to its place and had filled two pages:
1. Sincerity, purple — as new
2. Doubt, green — as new
3. Anger, blue — poor
4. Sarcasm, yellow — good
5. Hope, gray — adequate
6. Peace, purple — excellent
They were all there: 517 pieces, all accounted for, all recorded, and all placed securely back in her head. It had taken her more than three hours to process all these, but she was glad for it. This was the first time in six months that she had awoken to find no piece of herself missing.
Now with her head full, she stood up and stretched. She went to the kitchen for tea and then walked back to the room and looked out the window. The sliver of the moon was low in the sky and a few stars were visible. She could just make out the bare branches of the hundred-year-old tree that stood in the middle of the lawn close to the house. A strong wind blew and again the house creaked.
It was almost midnight now, time to once again sleep. She reached up her hand and smoothed it over her full head. There were no gaps, no dents, no edges jutting out. Every piece was in its place. She smiled once more and went to the center of the room.
She didn’t know how long she would sleep this time nor what she would find when she awoke. But today had been an excellent day; today she had been whole. She was grateful.
37. Gratitude, red — as new