Brad gave Ava hope. Brad gave her a reason to live again. In him she found her will. He wasn’t perfect, but he was always gentle and when she needed him the most, he was there.
Then, in an instant in a casino hallway, when Ava needed him to be there once again he put his own wants over her needs and left her to find peace on her own.
That quest for peace drove Ava into the midst of the desert. She was no longer running, just walking. Her feet were bloody and raw. Each step leaving a crimson footprint and bits of flesh in the dirt. She thought that the pain in her feet was a welcome alternative to the pain in her heart.
But that throbbing pain intensified by the second. Sweat poured out of her like a faucet. The lactic acid in her thighs made each step feel like she was dragging a ball and chain. Her mouth was so dry she could taste blood in the back of her throat. The sweat had poured into her eyes so much that her vision blurred. What Ava could make out was the orange tint of the sun that painted the landscape. She looked to all sides and the desert was surrounding her.
“How did I get here?” she thought to herself. Ava dropped to her knees with both palms on the ground, overwhelmed by the loneliness. She wept so intensely the dirt beneath her face fused with the tears and transformed into mud.
“I just want to be happy! I tired! I’m so tired. I just want my daddy!” Her tearful plea travelled for miles across the empty desert landscape. Ava wept. She stayed fixed on her hands and knees like a statue while the tears fell. Then, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath in.
Ava exhaled, opened her eyes and looked toward the rising sun. The silhouette of a man was standing in the distance. She heard a voice call out, “Ava.” The voice was unmistakable, it was the voice of her father.