This Is Us

Take Another Piece of My Heart

Vivian McInerny
Human Parts
Published in
4 min readAug 29, 2022


How jigsaw puzzles presented the big picture.

Image by Vivian McInerny of the pedestrian bridge to the Glass Museum in Tacoma, WA

I did not like doing jigsaw puzzles. My husband did. Early in our marriage we discovered our irreconcilable differences and avoided the subject.

But, as is the case of many marriages, the arrival of children changed things.

Without discussion or warning, my husband introduced our young daughters to puzzles. They share just enough of their father’s Welsh DNA to be intrigued. But not enough to actually finish a puzzle. This was evident the first time he dumped a picture puzzle onto the dining table, a puzzle torn asunder for the sole purpose of putting all 1,500 pieces back together again.

For entertainment purposes.

As his British traditions went I found puzzling less, well, puzzling than grown adults donning silly tissue paper hats to demonstrate their ability to have spontaneous good fun. Once a year, like clockwork.

I am not averse to games. Word puzzles — crosswords, Spelling Bee, Wordle — I do them all. I could, and probably did, brag online once or twice. I mean, have you ever done The Daily Mini in under 45 seconds? That is Gram worthy.

Yet, it was while clicking interlocking pieces of cardboard together with my husband that I fell madly in love with him again.

I remember precisely how it happened.

We were at the coast with friends, five of us sitting around a beach house on a rainy afternoon. I don’t recall the season. It might have been any one of the four as it rains approximately 185 days a year in Seaside, Oregon which holds the title of rainiest place in the state. Days tend to blur, much like the sky and sea, into fifty shades of gray.

And not the erotic kind.

The point is, no one was in a mood to venture far from the wood-stove.

“Let’s do a jigsaw puzzle,” said the hostess.

“I hate jigsaw puzzles,” said her husband.

“It was a gift,” said hostess said, her words squeezed flat between clenched teeth.

Then she thanked the gift-givers, my husband and myself.



Vivian McInerny
Human Parts

Career journalist, essayist, fiction writer, and life-long spirit-quester.