Kemi was dark and cold and empty. Except for the bars.
The train abandoned us (dropped us off) at 22:30. Assuming we’d just go and catch the bus into Sweden, we walked over to the station and checked the schedule.
But Cavan’s wonderful internet forum lied.
The bus wasn’t there.
In fact, it wouldn’t be in Kemi until 6 am.
We went looking for a place to sleep; a hostel, a cheap motel–anything. All we found that was open besides the bars was an expensive hotel, though even that we thought was a bar until the man at the counter told us it was the hotel. The room was cramped and we had to be careful not to topple anything with our packs, like expensive wine glasses or drunks. The lighting was low, like a dark sun; it glanced off the burnished, oily metal.
“Eighty two euros for one night,” the man in the bar/lobby said, counting money. “It comes with breakfast,” he added, a little apologetically, scattering the coins everywhere.
Don’t be apologetic about breakfast, I thought. Never. Ever. Apologize for breakfast.
But still. Hel. Eighty two euros was far beyond our budget. “Hm,” I said in faux-consternation, then lied: “We might be back,” just to seem slightly less of an irksome penny-pincher. We left, ignoring the people at a nearby table who were trying to speak to us in French.
We returned to the train station, thinking we’d sleep in there. But of course, it was locked.
We stood outside the train station. The night sky was still a little sun-stained, even at this hour. Its pink darkness and the orange streetlight reeled above us. We reeled. No place to sleep.
No. Place. To. Sleep.
Except for those bushes.
There was a clump of them, between the station and the main road. I stalked over to them, fingers already numbing with cold (they call it the midnight sun, but it’s not very warm). I could feel Cavan’s gaze, sharp with trepidation, watching my departure. I turned.
“Let’s go to sleep,” I told him.
He didn’t look happy as he walked over. I wasn’t either. But at least the bushes would hide us from the stumbling drunks, the police and nosy passersby.
We shoved ourselves as deep into the bushes as we could without getting snagged and trapped. Despite Cavan’s protests, I nominated myself for first watch, threw a sleeping bag over him and made him go to sleep. I huddled under the sleeping bag beside him, thinking about how funny it was that I was–at last!–in the hometown of the band closest to my heart. But instead of wielding the horns at some epic show, I was sleeping in a scrubby pile of Lappish brush.
(Day 6 poem)
Her hair is the copper of pennies
his head is shaved.
Coins drop and shiver against the old wood.
The hotel has no reception
just a bar.
the sort that makes her look like a bloodstained Freja
the sort that makes him nervous.
Eighty two euros, he says. And it comes with breakfast.
Three soft folded prisms is all she has.
I don’t have enough, she says.
She opens the door, moonsilver drenches her.
The door closes, he picks up the coins.
If only ribcages didn’t exist, she could keep
warm. She wishes she could crawl inside
nestle against his lungs.
The bus doesn’t leave till morning, but she has no key
She lies down under the trees, with the beer cans and dead leaves
while he polishes his coins, wondering if they’re keys.