iii. How Did We Get Here?

Olive,

I didn't realize Alessa, too, was writing letters to you. I can't say I've been the best of fathers when you left. Until this day, I don't know why you did. I hope it's not because I won the Bee and you didn't. Aren't we a little too old for that?

Little Alessa's growing older and older as each day passes. She and Leaf's son are growing closer. Kind of reminds me of you and I when we were kids. I don't know if she has stopped writing to you already. She seems quite happy with her life and it makes me broken-hearted that we aren't there to make her life happier.

I know, I know. I'm acting like your workaholic dad. But I know Alessa's more capable of taking care of herself than me. I trust her that she could make the right decisions in life. She has always had, anyway.

I guess I've run out of things I could say. I do wish you'd come back. The house is lonely except for Alessa – who's distancing herself from me – me, and my ant farm.

Sincerely Yours,

William.


"DAD!" He was about to put the letter in the mailbox when Alessa came running to him. She had just come from school; her face was flushed and for a minute William thought she was going to hug him.

His arms were open, but she zipped right past him, shouting something like '"He asked me out!" He was a little bit hurt, but he was chuckling, anyway. Children. Alessa was growing too quickly for him. He really wished Olive was here. She was better at dealing with this kind of stuff. William had always been socially awkward and maybe, a little bit too proud.

"What is it, Alessa?" He entered the flat then took a seat beside the young girl.

"Corn asked me out!" She squealed, in that girlish shriek he could never understand.

"Leaf's boy, huh…Aren't you too young for this? What are you…Ten?"

"…Fifteen, actually."

William then felt guilty, "How time flies…"

"Especially when your parents are AWOL." Alessa snapped, and for a fragment of a millisecond, he thought he was looking at Olive again. They looked so alike – mother and daughter. They had the same dark eyes and hair. The only William trait she had inherited was her aptitude for dance, but Alessa hadn't danced since she was seven.

"Don't get started, Alessa," His voice was rising. William was both angry and sad, but anger got the better of him, "Don't talk to your father like that. Go to your room. No dates for you."

She stomped to her room; her face unreadable.

Then he felt guilt eating his soul. 'Elanguescence,' that was the word Olive had misspelled. The slow death of a soul. How apt it had been, for fate to choose that word for her.


Olive,

I don't think I like you that much, anymore. You're tearing our family apart. It's been three years since I've written to you and I've already given up hope. So I decided to be happy. It isn't hard to do, actually, to feel joy. But you and father have been sucking up all of my joy, it's quite cliché already. It feels like I'm in one of those teen drama chick flicks, except I don't think my happy ending would be possible if Dad continues to be a prick and if you continue ignoring my letters.

I'd email you, actually, if I knew what your email address was.

But, like I said, I've given up trying to talk to you. It's quite hopeless. And, I actually like having hope. But you're making me hate every single virtue God Almighty has to offer humanity.

I don't have anything to say anymore to the likes of you.

Alessa.