'Rubik's Cubed' by Dan Powell
The original cubes you could dismantle into component parts, revealing the inner workings before slotting and clicking the colours back into place, bypassing the entire puzzle in favour of the purely mechanical effort of assembling the coloured sides. It was an exercise in reconstruction rather than revelation, destroying something to rebuild it as it should be, all parts perfectly in place without the hard work.
The new ones, smaller than the ones of my youth, though my larger hands might create this illusion, probably work the same way, the partial cubes that make up individual face colours backed with an almost arrowhead of plastic to slot and grip in the central stems around which the rows and columns twist when wrenched this way and that in an effort to find the solution.
We sit on opposite sofas and I try to make sense of what you tell me. You explain what has gone wrong for you and I slot that into place with the reasons you gave for why we can’t go on like this. I slide the puzzle of our relationship around in my head but it is impossible to keep track as you throw more colours into the mix. Somehow the cube has more than six sides, colours have been added beyond the traditional red, white, blue, yellow, green and orange. The rows and columns increase in size to accommodate the added purple and pink, grey and brown and more.
‘I can’t work this out,’ I say, my mind twisting and turning what you have said further and further into disorder.
‘There’s nothing to work out,’ you say.
I look at your bags, packed and ready at the door and realise the puzzle is already in pieces and no matter how hard I push they won’t fit back together.