She had beaten leukemia once, but it returned to claim her. She also had a condition that caused her blood cells to deform, so she had a lot of clots and pain and visits to the hospital. Most of her short life meant going in and out of hospitals.
When she died I was six years old. What I remember of her is the smell of strong hospital detergents. I’m not sure my memories of how she looked are real, or if they’re something I’ve picked up from the photo albums at home.
Back in Sweden I promised mum that I would go to her grave in Sussex on the 29th, and Mark agreed to drive me. Mum always goes into one of her more morose moods when thinking about Ellie.
I’m to take pictures of the grave, and send it to mum. And as always, I’m feeling split about going to the grave of this person that I never knew, but which has had a big impact on my life.
She would have been twenty this year, and I wish that I remembered her more than I do. Sometimes I wonder how my life would have been if she had been healthy, and if she had lived. I don’t rightly know how much she’s affected me, but I think now that it’s affected my parents a lot.
I’ve always thought of Ellie as some sort of a ghost. She has a way of jumping into my life with a ‘boo’, and it catches me off guard, and I never know what I should feel about it. I feel a bit guilty for not feeling much about her. I mean, I’m going to the grave because mum asked me to, not because I feel any particular affinity or longing for a sister I really never knew.
Sometimes I wonder whether my family isn’t so strange because my parents don’t dare to commit, after losing Ellie. Maybe the distance I sometimes feel from my parents are because of that. That’s just idle speculation. Maybe we’re just archetypal Swedes or English that doesn’t form close bonds? But that’s silly because I can look – and be envious – of Mark’s relationship with his parents.
Like yesterday when it was all sorts of hugging and that, to the point where I nearly felt excluded. They had got their boy back, and wanted him for a few hours, and I had to go somewhere else. That’s only fair, because I have him all the time, and they just borrow him for a short time. But sometimes I wish I was as close to my parents as he is to his.
And maybe all that is due to the fucked up thing of losing Ellie back then. How different would life be if I’d been the little brother of the household, instead of basically a single child? Would I have been different in my head from the conflicts and the sibling rivalries? It’s useless to think like this, I know.
We went down to Tesco’s today and filled up the car with groceries, and then I went and had my Grado’s fixed. There’s a little shop here in town that does that, so now I have a new spanking cord attached to my headphones, and I’m compensating after having had to listen to music in cheap, tinny gamer headsets for so long.
I’m still half-planning to get an iPad, but I want to wait until I know what my school is going to do about those, and I have to decide if I’m not going to take a principled stand against the suit-happy Apple that try to crush all competition.
That probably won’t mean much, but at least my conscience would be clear knowing that none of my money went to support that. The problem is of course if I went and bought an Android pad from Samsung, the principled stand would probably be pointless because I assume Google and Samsung are just as law-suit happy.
It’s the obscene state where design decision can be patentable, I suppose.
As the days pass I’m becoming more and more fretting about that because the first month looks likely to be a whirl-wind of decisions, and I don’t know anymore if what I’ve decided to do is the smart thing. What if my plans are silly and stupid?
Why do I want to go to stuffy Oxford anyway? Should I change, and try to get into Cambridge? Cambridge would be no less stuffy, of course, but if Stephen Fry can come out of Cambridge a success, then maybe I could too. And I’d be closer to Mark. We wouldn’t go to University in different parts of the country. We wouldn’t be, in practice, separated for two months at a time.
Why do I want to go to any stuffy thing like that? What if I don’t get in? Argh. I shouldn’t think about this now. I have a month to think about that once school starts up, and I can talk to my tutors and councillor. They could give me some actual advice.