Chapter 5 – Avery
Days passed in a blur as Willow mourned the loss of the life she had known and the circumstances she now found herself in. She wandered from the living room to the chairs by the fire pit and back again. Food consisted of nibbling on pieces of bread or downing a banana or apple from the baskets she found in the pantry. The phone rang several times over the course of the week, but Willow ignored it as she alternated between sleeping and crying.
Saturday morning was turning to afternoon when a car pulled up the drive. Silence greeted Avery as he got out of the car. The silence sounded louder with the crunch of the gravel beneath his feet. He grabbed some paper sacks from the back seat and headed towards the house.
When there was no answer to his knock, Avery opened the door and headed in. Seeing Willow asleep in a chair, he continued to the kitchen where he dropped the paper sacks. Opening the pantry, he began to put away the groceries he had brought. It didn’t take long for him to realize not much had moved on the shelves. He had already been concerned at the lack of answers to the numerous calls he had placed to her phone, but this was taking it to a new level.
Minutes later he moved to the living room and stood watching Willow sleep for a minute. “Lord, I’m out of my element here. Help.” He rubbed a hand down his face and looked around him. Making a decision, he leaned down and gently took one of Willow’s arms. Wrapping it around his neck he slipped one hand under her back and another behind her knees and gently swung her up. She stirred briefly but the movement, in general, did not seem to affect her. Avery carried her up the stairs to the bedroom she had chosen the week before and placed her on the bed. Positioning the covers, he pulled them up over her and then slipped out of the room, closing the door behind him.
Back downstairs, Avery headed out to his car and popped the trunk. It was probably a safe bet that if he could carry her up the stairs without her waking, he could do a little work without the noise being an issue.
First item, a bicycle. He pulled it out and took it back to the porch where he leaned it up against the house. Back at the car he proceeded to pull out some scrap wood and headed into the barn, staggering under his load. Avery had spent his week looking up how to convert a barn stall for chickens and was determined to get the work done today before he had to get back. The next time he came out, he could bring chickens with him, or have some delivered if she wanted a large amount of them.
While he worked, he prayed. It was what his mother had taught him to do, and this situation definitely lent itself to that!
“Lord, You’re going to have to do something here. I can’t act like her father, even if I want to. You need to give her a desire to live because its not just about her anymore and I know you know that better than anyone. I just need to tell You how frustrated I am over this situation. I want to see her succeed and thrive here. This is a good place.”
As Avery prayed he swung his hammer and soon there were roosting boxes for chickens built along one wall. When he was finished, he packed everything up and headed back into the house. He searched through a couple of drawers in the kitchen until he found some paper and a pen and then he started to write. One note was left on the kitchen counter. One note was placed on top of her violin that stood in a corner of the living room. One was put smack in the middle of the chair cushion where Willow had been sleeping just hours earlier. Lastly, Avery climbed the stairs one more time and placed a note on Willow’s beside table, with the cell phone beside it. Hopefully when she woke it would be the first thing she saw.
Then he headed back down the stairs, took one last look around, and pulling the door shut behind him headed back to his car.
His thoughts troubled him as he pulled back up the drive to the coastal road that would take him back out to the town.
“Lord, help me not to make a big mistake here. She’s going to be really upset with what I’m doing.” But that thought didn’t make him change his mind. Something needed to change and Avery knew just the person who could help. Slowing before he would have reached town, he pulled off the main road onto a dirt one and bounced over the rocks to the third house. Pulling in, he got out and made sure to slam the door loudly to announce his arrival.
The sounds of kids screaming as they played in a backyard somewhere up the road reached his ears and he smiled to himself. He had fond memories of playing the same way as a kid. Just then a door opened and an older woman came out of the house.
“Avery? What are you doing here? I wasn’t expecting you. At least I don’t think I was!” the woman placed a finger, wrinkled with age, to her lips and seemed to get lost in her head as she tried to remember something she couldn’t.
“Hi, Mom.” Avery closed the distance between them quickly and wrapped the woman in a hug.