It was pitch black night when Daniel and I arrived to our childhood home. The deep snow lit up a bit, as did the street lights with their cold gaze. The driveway was fairly free from snow. Perhaps that was one of the final things my father had been up to, I remember thinking. Every once in a while I had dreamt of being able to give my father a snowblower for Christmas to replace the snow showel he used, to spare his aching joints some of the pain. One of many things I would never be able to do now that he would never be again.
Daniel and I stepped into the hallway where we had been so many times before. Everything was different, everything was the same. Dad's winter jacket hung between other jackets, his shoes were on the floor beside other shoes. So many pieces he had left behind.
Our mother, Niklas and his girlfriend were waiting for us. Everything was very still, the surreal feeling very present. It took us some time to go to bed. Things to talk about, to be sad about, before sleep was possible. My mother insisted that I'd sleep with her in her and dad's bedroom.
On dad's side, I couldn't sleep. My mother snored, I couldn't sleep.
After an hour or two I went out to the living room, to the couch where my father had not watched enough movies. Thoughts were bugging me, I couldn't sleep. I cried, I couldn't sleep. Upstairs Niklas was making music, the sounds that came through the ceiling told me he was recording rhythm sections. Good. His way to deal. I wasn't yet sure of mine.
A cat soon appeared in the night, Niklas black, heavy Darwin. He kept me company. Sat on my chest while I laid there crying. He washed away my tears with his weird little cat tongue. Maybe that's why he's a heavy guy, maybe he eats simply everything. He kept me company like this, every night during my stay, cleaning my tears away. And on this first night it might have meant particularly much to me. It took me a long while and a lot of tears, but finally I managed to fall asleep, while the comforting cat remained on my chest.