My sister is dead. My brother is lost. And me? Well I’m fine. I sit in the same seat, think of the same old crap that haunts me every day of my life. But compared to my dysfunctional family, I’m fine. I’m not perfect but I’m fine. I’m healthy. Unlike my mother was. She died when I was six, she had severe skin cancer. From then on my dad looked after us but he never expected that my sister Penny would too get cancer.
She was nine when she was diagnosed. It was one year after mum died and our family was just starting to recover. My brother Patrick broke down. I’d never seen him like that before, but I guess seeing your youngest sister dying the same way your mother did really hits you hard. But not me. I was used to the pain, to being lied to, being told that everything was going to be fine. The worst part is when you know the truth is the opposite.
The last memory I have of my sister is watching her eyelids drop over her cloudy eyes. But they weren’t always that colour; before she became ill, they were a beautiful amber colour they matched mum’s. In other ways they were similar too, not just the cancer either. I mean, they both were had an extremely bubbly personality, the kind that couldn’t fail to make you smile.
I didn’t cry when Penny died because, much like watching a sad movie a second time, I’d been through it before. I’d seen those eyes close, the eyes that would never open again. I felt her white hand limp in mine and her chestnut hair loosing its shine. But I had seen then shine in her eyes fade a long time ago, because unlike mum, she knew what was coming. She knew she was going to die. You didn’t have to see it in her eyes or read her diary to know; she said it regularly. She’d say it out loud. She wasn’t scared of saying it, sometimes I even wondered if she was scared of death. Then again I guess death would believe a relief after all that pain.
It was only a year after Penny’s death that Patrick at the age of 16 ran away from my father and me. Although he wasn’t running away from us, he was running away from the problems that we carried. In a way I envied him, he probably lived far away from us and had forgotten his past. I couldn’t do what he did; I wasn’t brave enough to start a completely new life. I was hoping that the next year or so would let me do that, to an extent I mean. If I could just forget about Mum, Penny and Patrick my life would move on; and once my life had moved maybe dad’s would.