When Ava was five, she chased a pair of vesper sparrows into her father’s field of wheat. The honey-colored wheat rolled to silver as she ran through, parting the rows. Ava quickly lost the birds. She stood there in the sun-cured wheat for a while, watching clouds gather like sheep in one corner.
Ava’s father had bad numbers. “Really bad,” her father said. The doctor had told him so.
Ava didn’t know any bad numbers. She knew some big numbers. She knew some little numbers.
What was a bad number?
When Ava returned to her yard, she found her mother sitting in the swing hung from the willow tree. Her mother sometimes sat in the swing when she wanted to be quiet. “Do you want me to push you?” Ava asked her mother.
“Yes,” her other answered.
Ava tried to push her mother as high is the clouds.
After a time, Ava stopped pushing and her mother slowly rocked to a stop. Her mother spoke softly: “You need to stay out the wheat from now on, Ava. Your father is going to start harvesting soon.”
When Ava was seven, she chased a single raven from a field of weeds.