Janine realized later that it was a sudden and overwhelming iron deficiency that had led her to sleepwalk out into the middle of the field, where she woke up with her hands in the dirt, having just eaten fourteen small smooth stones.

It was a form of pica, she discovered, after doing a quick search on the Internet, but a more extreme form because normally you just eat dirt–easier to digest–and then are done with it.  But Janine was never one to go halfway with things.  “Maybe I should now though,” thought Janine, sitting at her table sorting through a pile of puzzle pieces.  They were all yellow, every single one of them.  “When did I buy an all-yellow puzzle?” she wondered.  “What is the point of that?”  Well.  The good news was that a 1500-piece all-yellow puzzle was going to take her a while to put together, and so now she had plenty of time ahead of her to ponder how to hose off this nocturnal impulse to go rummaging around in a rocky field with her eyes half closed when she should be in bed.

So for the next week or so, Janine stayed home waiting for the stones to pass.  An awkward way to spend your time, not to mention having to come up with all sorts of excuses for why she couldn’t go out, why she couldn’t come to pick up her UPS package, why she had to cancel at the dentist, why she stopped going to her hip hop dance class.  Fourteen stones.  That was the reason. You don’t want to be caught out when one of those babies starts to drop.

Sometimes it’s good to have a reason not to go out, thought Janine.  It’s like when you’re sick and that’s the only time you really have permission to stay in bed and take a look at what’s in the room with you.  Things you forgot about.  Books you bought and meant to read.  A knitting project that’s 3/4 of the way there, even though you’ve technically been working on it since February.  A pile of clothes that needs to go to the consignment shop.  Tons of plastic, knitted, and birch bark animals crowding the windowsill.  Why?  Well, why not.

So far the outline of the yellow puzzle is put together, and the lower left segment.  At least what she is calling the lower left segment.  Because when something is all yellow—there is no left or right, up or down.  Just pieces to snap together, one at a time.

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