Avery West, where have you gone? I saw your flyer today, fastened with that thick, clear packing tape to a pole outside of 7-Eleven. You don’t really look like me; for one, I don’t look good in pink dresses. Two, I wish I had your green eyes. Three, I haven’t been 120 pounds since I was fifteen years old. Well, I suppose you are fifteen, so we do have more in common than just our name. Your mom is looking for you, Avery West. She’s a mess without you.
Avery, what do you like to do for fun? I see that you were last seen at the mall. You know, every year on our birthdays, Mom would take my sister Jamie and me to the mall for our “Special Day”; we could pick out any clothes we wanted, choose a movie to see, pick out what restaurant we wanted to eat at for dinner, with no protest, up until we were eighteen. I’m sure she spent a fortune. Her mother never even acknowledged her birthdays growing up. I don’t really speak to her that much anymore. Was it your Special Day that day? You only have a few more left, you know.
Avery, do you play any sports? Your school was our biggest rival, that's why I ask. I played field hockey for six years; I loved the sport, but not the games so much. I always saw all the other girls' moms and dads in the stands, even at away games, but Mom never really came. I was grateful I played though. Anytime I was scared at night, Mom and I were protected by my stick. Did you see your mom's face in the stands? I'm sure she can't wait to see you play again.
Avery, where are you? It’s been a week since I first saw your flyer. Did you run away from home again? Mom didn’t even really seem to care that I was gone. She was always a cool parent like that; all my friends with uptight moms were always jealous of our dynamic. I guess I was an adult by then, I just didn’t want to see her get hit anymore. But you’re technically not an adult yet. I’m sure your mom is really worried about you. You should get home.
Avery, have you been in love yet? I think I’m in love, but I’m not sure. He doesn’t hit me, he doesn’t lie to me, he doesn’t ignore me. Is that love? Mom’s girlfriend does all of those things, and Mom loves her more than anyone she’s ever known, even Jamie and me. Mom is always trying to give me advice about relationships, but I don’t know if it’s wise to take it. She’s living with that girlfriend again, I haven’t seen her in quite a while. Are your parents still together? I’m sure they love you so much. You really shouldn’t keep them worrying much longer.
Avery, they found your body today. Your pink dress was ripped to shreds, your green eyes gray, your fifteen year old flesh cold. It reminded me of first seeing Mom in her casket. She looked so unnatural; her face was caked in makeup, but she didn’t even own any, much less know how to apply it to her face. I guess they had to do their best to cover up the bruises. Our poor moms. I saw yours on the news this morning, she’s absolutely broken. Mine is too, in a different way. Avery West, you’re not missing anymore. But me, this Avery West, Age 21, Eyes Brown, Hair Blond, Height 5’8”, Weight 150 lbs, Wearing jeans and a black sweatshirt, I’ve never felt more lost.