Strength isn’t about how much you can handle before you break, it’s about how much you can handle after you break.
I wake up to screaming. I jump out of the bed and rush into the hallway. I grab the door knob to Avery’s room and turn it. Locked.
I dang on the door. “Avery!” I yell as I continue my assault on the door. “Avery!” I yell again. I bang on the door and yell a couple more times. Then I take a set away from the door. I slam my shoulder into the door. It busts open.
“Avery.” I say as I approach her. “Avery.” I say as I shake her. She starts to fight me or whoever she thinks I am. “Avery.” I say as I grab her hands. I hold her two hands with my left hand and I pull her to where she’s sitting up.
“Avery.” I say as I pull her to me. “Avery.” I say shaking her again. She opens her eyes. She stops fighting me. I let go of her hands. She takes quick shallow breaths. “Breath. In. Out.” I tell her. She nods her head trying to catch her breath.
Once she finally calms down and catches her breath she runs a hand over her face. “I’m sorry.” She tells me. “For what?” I asked. “Waking you up.” She tells me. “Don’t be sorry.” I tell her. She looks around the room. “You broke my door.” She says with a laugh. I look over at the door. “Yeah I guess I did.” I say with a chuckle.
“You actually locked it.” I say recalling her saying she was going to lock it. “Force of habit I guess.” She says. “That a new habit?” I asked. “Yeah.” She answers.
“Want to talk about it?” I asked. “No.” She tells me. “Want to talk about something else?” I asked. “Sure what do you want to talk about?” She asked. “Anything.” I tell her.
“Okay let’s start with why am I in your lap not that I mind?” She asks. “I thought it would help calm you down if you had something to use as a physical anchor.” I tell her. “Your a smart man. But what if it turned out like it did at the clubhouse?” She asked. “I didn’t think that far ahead. I just acted on instinct.” I tell her honestly.
“Well I’m no longer in need of an anchor.” She says. “Right.” I say as I let go of her but she doesn’t move to get out of my lap. Instead she wraps her arms around my neck and turns her body to face mine. She wraps her legs around my waist. “I didn’t say I wanted you to let go.” She tells me.
I wrap my arms back around her without even thinking about it. Our eyes meet and I can see a battle being waged in them. “What battle are you fighting?” I asked. “Right now?” She asked. “Right now.” I answered. “My head is telling me to run like hell. That I’ll never be safe. That he’ll find me. But my heart is telling me to stay. That I’m where I’m supposed to be. An if he finds me I’ll survive.” She tells me.
“Which one is winning?” I asked. “Right now. My heart.” She tells me. “An your head?” I asked. “It’s trying to pull ahead but you see there’s something that just keeps pulling at my heart keeping it in the lead.” She tells me. I nod.
We stay like this for awhile. Just sitting in silence. Holding one another like this. Until she lays her head on my shoulder and closes her eyes. I guess this is her way of asking me to stay. Soon I find myself leaning back. Laying my head on the pillow and closing my eyes while holding her close.