Avery and I have been together ever since he was brought home seven days ago. I hardly dare to leave him. When he falls asleep, I go outside to do some chores. Clean the chicken coop, clean the horses' stalls, feed them all, carry in some water, then some firewood. Then when I get back inside, usually Benjamin is fussing a little in his bed. I get him up and change him, feed and then heat water for his bath. When all that is done, I start thinking about what to prepare for our food. I have been making soups and stews so it is easier for Avery to eat. Right now I just put the broth in his dish and spoon feed him. He does not like this at all. I can tell it bothers him that I am feeding him, but he can't hold the spoon or a cup. This is what has to be done, and he better get used to until he gets better.
Ruth stopped in this morning. She was anxious about Avery's condition. I told her he doesn't want to see anyone and he is really in bad shape. She left me some oranges she had brought in for her restaurant in the hotel. I know they cost her a lot of money but she would not take anything for it. It is her way to do something for Avery. I will make him some orange juice today and see if that will help. We sat in the kitchen and she held Benjamin. He was happy and smiling and made us both laugh and forget our problems for awhile.
After she left I made some vanilla pudding for a surprise for Avery. Maybe something sweet will taste good to him and it is full of fresh eggs and milk. Avery woke up and sat up for awhile and sat with him and just talked told him what was going on while he was gone. He seemed very distant to me. Not like his old self. I brought Benjamin in and thought he would cheer him up, but Avery seemed more troubled. I know he is always used to being in control and this whole thing has been hard for him to accept.
I put Benjamin down for the night and went to sit by Avery, I thought he was asleep, but he was awake. I said, "Avery, I know this is a hard thing you have gone through. I know you are still in pain, but you are healing. Is there anything more I can do for you?"
He looked at me very seriously and studied me for a minute, "Rachel, I feel I have let you down. I let Hank Garrison down when I lost his load of goods. I have let my son, Benjamin down."
"Avery Longworth! Don't you ever say that again!" I was angry and I knew my eyes were blazing, "You have never let us or anyone else down in your life. One man cannot take on a whole band of outlaws. Yes, they got the freight but you got the horses and wagon back, did you not?"
"Yes, but I still lost the freight. I figure I will have to swallow that loss and give him his money back. It is just not right for him to pay for something he did not receive. He paid me in advance you know."
"Are you worried about the money? I did not touch it while you were gone."
"I know. But we could have used that money. I wanted to do some things around here to make it nice and homey for you. You deserve a nice house, Rachel."
"I have a nice house. I do not need things bought for me. All I want is my husband to get well and back to normal. I really don't want my husband leaving home and being gone for so long."
"Well, you know I have to earn a living. That is why we have a big house and a big barn and first class horses. I have never wanted to be scrounging for food and other expenses."
"Avery, you are only one man. You cannot do it all. For now you have two other drivers. While you are recovering how about hiring another driver to take over for you? I can send a note to Mr. Garrison to tell him we will return the money."
"I think we could hire another driver. You wouldn't mind helping me with this?"
I laughed out loud, "Avery, you know I don't! You know me better than that. I will take care of this. I think I know someone who might like that job."
Avery laid back down, but grabbed a hold of my skirt as I walked by, "Come here, I have missed you."
"Avery! You are recovering and I might hurt you," I said, but was secretly pleased that he seemed interested in me so soon. I had missed his touch.
"No Rachel, I just want you to lay down next to me. Just to feel you close to me will make me feel better."
I smiled at him and thought to myself, "this is my Avery. I do believe he will recover from this even though it is a painful recovery." I had an idea though that this job might be just the thing for my brother, Kenneth, who seems to be getting bored with our family farm. Last time he was here he told me there was a girl he was interested in. Maybe a job like this would help him out and help us out. Avery can run the freight lines from home but pay the drivers to deliver the goods. Yes, I can help him out with this.
Copyright © 2010 Kathleen G. Lupole