The tears that were forming before now flow freely. Anger wells up in my gut at my mother. How could she not tell me about any of this? How could she be so selfish?
Duke asks, “What do they say?”
Barely able to speak, I hand him the stack and let him go through them. He quickly flips through and then sets them back on the table.
“Avery, sweetheart, I don’t know what to say.”
“I don’t know either. I feel like at this point, I have no idea if anything that my mother ever told me was true. And I have no idea what my father could have been hiding that would have made him leave.”
He takes my hand in his. “Angel, can I say something that you may not want to hear?”
“Go for it. Today has been full of a lot of things that I don’t want to hear.”
“I know it’s scary, but maybe we need to go see your grandpa. Maybe he will have some answers to all of these questions that you have.”
I know he’s right. It’s really the only way to keep this train moving forward.
I sit there running through everything in my mind and trying to process all of it. I feel like I’m staring off into a trance until I feel a tiny furry puppy rubbing against my legs.
I look down and see George, who is now trying to jump up in my lap. I grab him and wrap my arms around him. He tucks his head in my neck and lets me cry against him.
Not wanting Duke to feel like I’m ignoring him, I pick up the dog, and both of us sit down in Duke’s lap. He encompasses us in a big hug.
“I love you,” I tell him through the tears.
“I love you too, Angel.”
“Thank you for going through all of this with me.”
“You’re welcome, but you don’t have to thank me for that. I’m here for you, no matter what.”
“We can go see my grandpa,” I whisper. “But not tonight. Tonight, I just want to lie in bed with you and our dog and forget about the rest of the world.”
“Whatever you want, Angel.”
It’sbeentwodayssince I found that box in Avery’s basement. I almost wish I hadn’t found it at all.
Avery has been dealing with things the best way that she can. We are still doing work around the house and still all over each other, but she seems distracted. I know the whole thing is remarkably hard on her, though, so I don’t hold any of it against her.
The night that she went through everything, after she went to sleep, I snuck downstairs and put everything back in the box so that she wouldn’t have to stare at it. And she hasn’t touched it since.
I made the suggestion that we go see her grandfather to try to get some more answers, but she hasn’t brought that up either. Honestly, she hasn’t brought up much of it at all. I think part of her processing all of this is a tiny bit of avoidance.
I don’t blame her. This is a lot of shit to deal with.
I’m not entirely sure how to help except to be here for her. I’m glad I got George because he definitely seems to be helping. Getting that dog was probably the smartest thing that I’ve done.
After working on replacing a piece of wood around one of the outside windows, I come inside to wash my hands. To my surprise, Avery is already standing at the sink, rinsing off George’s paws.
She looks up at me while holding a puppy paw under the running water. “He decided it would be cute to step in paint.”
“How many paw prints did he leave around the house before you noticed?”