The Missing Puzzle Piece
Disclaimer : I'm a huge KPop fan and you will come across names and photographs of KPop idols in most of my stories. They are my muse and inspiration in so many ways. The incidents and characters are fictional and have no resemblance to any K pop idol in any manner.
Detective Jeon woke up with the abrupt loud sound of his alarm. He snaked out a long muscular, veiny arm to switch it off. He stretched out his sleepy body on the bed and switched on his mobile phone. He always switched his cell off at night so that he can get an uninterrupted good night's sleep and wake up fresh in the morning.
He finished his morning routine and made a cup of coffee as he glanced through his messages. With his coffee in one hand and the cellphone in the other, he went to the balcony and the cool breeze hit his bare arms and legs. Sipping the hot bitter coffee, he noticed a missed call from the Chief precisely 2 minutes back. Oops, the phone was on silent mode! He called back, ready for a rebuke.
Jeon: Good morning Chief! Sorry I missed your call.
Chief: Jeon, my man! How are you? All well I hope!
Jeon( confused): Err... Yes Chief, all well.
Is there something urgent? I will be in the HQ in 15 minutes, Sir.
Chief: Of course dear friend! See you!
Detective Jeon was totally confused and puzzled with the Chief's 'friendly' talk because he knew it was totally fake. There's something wrong somewhere! He was probably with someone who wasn't aware of his real job! After all, agents have to be extremely discreet and secretive about their work!
Dressed smartly in his trademark 'black ninja' ensemble of black jeans, black tee, black leather jacket, chunky black boots and a black baseball cap, he looked more like a college student than a detective! Literally dressed to kill! The young Detective was both respected and feared because he was a genius! A book loving nerd, a computer geek and extremely cool headed and mature for his age! He had solved every such case with an intelligence and professionalism that made people look at him with awe! In his spare time he sang, danced, painted and even cooked. Needless to say the female population (single and married) of the HQ had a crush on him! Obviously the men envied him!
In 15 minutes, Jeon was in the Chief's office, waiting. About 10 minutes later, the Chief walked in and waved at Jeon.
Chief: Sit down Jeon.
Jeon: Thank you Sir. Is everything alright? You seem to be worried about something.
Chief: Ah! Can't fool you, can I ? Yes, Jeon , I'm a bit worried.... It's a personal matter and if you don't want to help, I can understand.... But you are the only one I can confide in.... It's about my daughter, Lucy. She ran away from home. She left me a note on my study table. It's been 2 days now.... I have no clue where she is and how! I'm scared she might have been kidnapped! In the morning, my wife was sitting next to me, so I had to pretend all was well!
Jeon: Chief, I will do my best! You trusted me enough to share your worries, so let me prove I'm worthy of that trust! Can I see the note?
The Chief handed Jeon a beautiful purple scented envelope with a note, written in beautiful black calligraphic handwriting, that said- 'Dad, can you see me now? 💜Lucy'
Jeon: Sir, please give me some time.... I will get back to you soon.
Chief: Jeon, this stays between you and me! My daughter shouldn't get hurt.... Please find her! Please.... Before my wife realises Lucy is missing, please bring her back home.... Keep me updated! Thanks Jeon!
The Chief left and Jeon kept staring at the note. Scented envelope? Calligraphy? He thought about Lucy, trying to remember her habits, likes and dislikes.... Well, he couldn't recall much! Lucy was the Chief's daughter after all! Damn, he couldn't even go around asking anyone! He did know that Lucy was a very intelligent, sensitive and artistic person. She loved reading and music, which is why she liked talking to Jeon - similar interests! She painted and sketched; it looked like she had picked up some calligraphy too!
Lost in his thoughts, Jeon walked up to Dr Kim at Forensics and gave him the envelope for fingerprint analysis. Dr Kim was to give him the report immediately, so he waited. After about half an hour, the report was in his hands. Even Dr Kim didn't know it's contents!
Detective Jeon walked up to his black Fortuner and drove away. He went straight to Jin's bar. Talking to Jin, his friend, was always great because that goofy man, with his crazy sense of humour, could make Jeon forget everything!!! Jeon always felt refreshed and re-energised after spending time with Jin!
After a sumptuous lunch and a light cocktail Jin specially made for him, Jeon went back home. As he lay on the bed, reading the fingerprint report, he thought of how worried the Chief was! Well, the report only reinforced the fact that the envelope had only Lucy's fingerprints and she had left on her own. The calligraphy was hers too. She had taken her time on it... She was definitely not kidnapped, which was what the Chief was mostly scared about, since there was no ransom call yet! Jeon called the Chief and gave him the update. He heard the Chief sigh with relief.
Jeon was sniffing the purple scented envelope. Lavender. It was a very subtle hint, like the perfume itself! He took out the note again and read it... Looking for some clue, somewhere, to make him sure....There was none.
Suddenly his phone rang. It was the Chief.
Chief: Jeon, another envelope with a note!
Jeon: I'm coming over right away Sir!
Jeon quickly drove to the HQ. The Chief was waiting for him in his office. He quietly passed the envelope to Jeon.
Chief: I'm relieved she isn't kidnapped! I'm relieved to get this note because it means she is alive and fine.... But, Jeon why is she doing this?
Jeon: I have a theory, Sir... And looking at the second envelope makes me feel I'm almost right! But before I say or do anything else, I must have more proof! You must tell me about the conversations you and Lucy have had in the past few days or months....No matter how personal! Please don't hide anything!
Chief: Ok.... Fair enough....Last month Lucy and I had an argument about her frequent late nights, pubbing, coloured hair, tattoos, piercings and no-good friends' circle full of alcoholics and junkies! We have been arguing about these things off and on, although her mother has no clue!
Jeon raised an eyebrow and spoke in disbelief, "Sir, you really did that to her! I'm shocked to know that! I always thought you were a broad minded and tolerant father, an open minded person who doesn't judge a person just because he / she drinks or has a tattoo or coloured hair! I'm sorry to say I'm disappointed Sir... Now it's even more difficult for me to share my theory with you.... Have you tried calling Lucy?
Chief: Yes.... But she never picks up! I don't have time to keep calling her you know! I'm a very busy man!
Jeon: Sir, please think about all the hurtful words you said to Lucy and reflect on your actions.... Please give me Lucy's number. I'll try to talk to her....Let's meet tomorrow. Good evening Sir.
As Jeon drove back home, he was thinking about how people don't realise how much their judgemental behaviour can hurt and harm another person! Well, it's not like he can change the world!
After dinner, Jeon took out the envelope from his pocket. This time it was rainbow coloured. The note inside had an open door drawn on it, with the following message inside - "Will you hold my hand if I come out?"
Jeon smiled a bitter smile and said to himself, "Poor child.... She is desperately asking to be heard, that's all!"
He sent a message on Lucy's number saying he was willing to listen to her. It was a short crisp message, which had the desired effect. Lucy called back immediately. She spoke to him for almost an hour and he just quietly listened to her as she poured out all her anguish. Lucy burst into tears as she thanked him and Jeon asked her to stay strong as he hung up.
He sent a message to the Chief saying he would meet him at his office at 9 am sharp. Of course, the Chief was there on time. Jeon had reached earlier and made some coffee for Chief. The men sat down and the Chief looked at Jeon.
Jeon: Did you see yesterday's envelope and the note Sir? Did you understand anything?
Chief: Nope! Why would I call you if I did? Lucy is driving me crazy with her riddles, honestly!
Jeon: Sir, did you do some thinking and reflecting last night?
Chief: Jeon, I was too tired! I slept immediately after you left....
Jeon: I don't believe you could sleep when your daughter is missing! Please Sir, you will lose her for ever if you don't pay attention to her now! I spoke to Lucy last night. She is...
Chief: What? She spoke to you but never picks up my calls!!!! I'm her father, dammit!
Jeon( sighing): Forget it Sir! She is better off wherever she is right now! You will only end up making it worse for her and hurting her more!
Chief: I...err...I'm sorry, Jeon... I'll listen quietly now.
Jeon: If you interrupt me one more time, Sir, you will never see your daughter again... Please listen to me and try to understand ... No hating and no judging! No name calling, no angry tantrums! Ok?
Chief: Ok....I will try...
Jeon: Sir, the first envelope was purple, lavender scented and the note asked if you can see Lucy now. Have you really been a good father, Sir? You are so immersed in your work that you have no time for family! Lucy did this to gain your attention because she feels she is invisible to you! Whether she is home or not, happy or not, you are least bothered.... Also, when you disrespected her friends that day, you also disrespected her, dismissed her choices outright and judged her without knowing anything about anybody.... She feels you neither love nor respect her as an individual.
Secondly, the colour purple is used by the LGBTQ community. Lucy is trying to tell you that she is a.... lesbian....That's where the second envelope and note comes in. The rainbow represents the LGBTQ community. The note inside has a drawing of an open door which has 2 meanings -
1: you have to accept her with an open mind, and.....
2: she is ready to 'come out' or basically declare her sexuality openly, if you are ready to hold her hand. That's it! The puzzle is almost solved! The last and most important missing piece is still in your hands...."
The Chief sat stunned and silent as Jeon carried on, "Sir, these cryptic notes are Lucy's desperate cries for acceptance and love.... If you are ashamed of her or find it disgusting, she will never come back home, so that you don't get embarrassed.... But, if you accept her without judging her for it, she will come back immediately! The ball is in your court, Sir."
Chief: How do you know she is....you know....a lesbian? Did she tell you? What else did she say?
Jeon: Sir, last night I sent her a message saying I'm ready to listen to her. When she called, she spoke for more than an hour while I just listened quietly. I didn't interrupt her, advise her, shout at her or judge her.... Nor did I offer my opinion because that's not what she wants! She wants to be seen and heard in a world that is blind and deaf to everything that doesn't conform to laid down stereotype standards! She wants to be loved by those who claim to love her unconditionally but never do so! Sir, what should I tell her?"
The Chief had tears in his eyes as he said, "Jeon , thank you for opening my eyes! There's nothing and no one more important than my Lucy and her happiness! I'm so sorry I hurt her so much... Can you tell her I apologise for my harsh words? Can you tell her that her sexuality doesn't change my love and concern for her? I have gone mad looking for her..., waiting for her.... I lied to her mother about her being on a sleepover with her friend! Please ask her to come back, Jeon!"
The Chief was sobbing loudly now. He felt two soft hands on his face and saw Lucy in front of him. She was crying as well. As father and daughter hugged, Jeon tried hard not to get emotional. He was glad the missing puzzle piece had been found and the puzzle had been solved.