Lucy was a very good girl whose kindness and generosity was a great delight to all she met. She saw the world and everyone in it as good, but she could not see herself as such. No one expected her to be better, but she held herself to great standards. She always gave and rarely took, and her giving nature became her greatest fault for she would often appease others at the cost of her own well-being.
Her father tried to instill some sense of balance in her but the concept of bad was lost on the girl. She simply could not believe that the world was anything but good and scoffed at the idea that people could be evil. She was quick to excuse and even quicker to forgive, even in the absence of an apology.
Ellis admired his older sister’s kindness but even he knew better than her. Where the world was bright and only getting brighter for Lucy, it was dark and only getting darker for Ellis. With time, this difference grew, and his feelings changed from admiration to tolerance to annoyance. No matter how hard he tried to reason with her, she never wavered.
The first confrontation of many was when she returned home after having been missing for two days with burn marks on her hands. She promised to be more careful only to come home with bruises on her knees the following day. Their father had all but given up trying to reason with his daughter by then, but Ellis had not. He would always question, and she would always rationalize, and this pattern continued for years until, like their father, he grew tired of trying to reason with her.
At fourteen, Ellis stopped trying and he eventually stopped talking to Lucy altogether.
He left home at sixteen. His father had pleaded with him to stay and he himself had almost relented for he loved his father, but when he saw his sister approaching, he was immediately filled with spite. He kissed his father goodbye and left.
In his solitude, he missed his family greatly, but he relished in the peace he found in his sister’s absence. For five years he did not have to worry for anyone but himself. Although the guilt and shame for leaving was unbearable at times, he remembered this whenever he felt tempted to return:
‘She lives as she pleases but I cannot for I worry about her more than she does herself and I care for her more than she does herself. But what is that life when one cares more for others than for oneself? And how long can one care but always go unheard?’
But when he received word from his father that Lucy had been missing for almost a year, his conviction turned to smoke for despite his frustrations and resentment towards his sister, he still loved her.
So, he promised his father, “I will return to return her,” which comforted him.
And he promised to himself, ‘Then I will leave again,’ which comforted him.