My oldest brother Daniel and I travelled to Gällivare two hours later. In all the mess and confusion that arose after it was certain our father was dead, our youngest brother had to begin with been contacted by no one. Everybody though that somebody else had been in touch with him already. Our little brother heard the news about an hour later than everyone else. For that I am sorry. We never meant to, little brother. This did not give him time enough to join Daniel and me for the bus trip up north, but he did not miss out on much... It was the most horrible journey I've ever made.
Daniel was sort of hyperactive. His phone rang a lot but obviously not often enough since he also made phone calls and sent text messages ever so often. He was laughing about the weirdness of life and death, and talking almost constantly the first couple of hours, totally wound up. I didn't do much other than cry. I'm not the kind of person to cry in public, but this time I couldn't help it and I didn't care. That's how shattered I was. And my brother kept being wound up. The perfect examples of two completely different forms of shock.
Daniel's best friend came to pick us up at one of the bus stations to give us a ride the remaining 250 km. At least in the past this friend has been known for the habit of arriving either late or even later. I think this was the first time that he was punctual -well, even early, because he was already waiting when the bus arrived. I would find a lot of things moving within the next couple of weeks. This was one of them.
We drove in the dark and cold, slowly approaching our destination. I did not have many tears left at that point, but the few ones remaining showed up every now and then. I remember Daniel and his friend talking but I don't remember what about. Maybe I spoke some words too, I have no idea. My main memory from this trip is the feeling I had while looking out the window, watching the stars.
In January, earlier that same year, I left the town my father lived in. Then, too, I was sitting in the back seat of a car, staring out in the darkness, thinking of how I would miss my father now that I couldn't meet him as often as before. I felt a bit low but I found a little comfort in watching the stars, in particular Ursa Major that is practically the only constellation I remember from the ones my dad once taught me. Both my father and I could look at the same stars, so we were not really that far apart, I remember myself thinking. So, in that thought I found a little comfort.
Now, in the back seat of a car I rode because my father had died, the sight of the stars no longer brought me that feeling. Another kind of emotion was closing in on me. My father would not gaze upon the stars again. He would see nothing, hear nothing, speak nothing, ever again. Maybe the appropriate word for the feeling I had is despair.