"After Every Rain"
by Ciardha

Things never turn out to be the way you expect them to.

Every person has more than just one face, and more than just one characteristic aspect – There is always black and white, strength and weakness, energy and exhaustion, will and doubt.

As long as all is in equal, everything goes just normal. But if the dark side of the medal overweighs, control can be lost easily:

Strength can turn into pure weakness that is making one stumble and even fall.

Energy can turn into exhaustion, so that once you have burned the candle from both ends, it burns too much and the wax melts too fast.

The greatest passions can become trivial, and dreams can turn into horrible nightmares.

What seems to be never enough suddenly is too much, and one who flies high falls all the deeper:

Every person – as strong as he might be – has to stop one day if he neither wants to burn out nor to fade away.

He has to decide whether to stop or to continue, and the decision might be connected with dreaming, joking and laughing, and also with serious thinking, disagreements and even tears.

But after all: Only you can decide for your life.

…and after every rain comes the sun.

He woke up when he felt someone’s hand at his shoulder and heard someone saying something about “…in about ten minutes…” Whatever it was that should be in 10 minutes, he decided, HE would not be the one to witness it. It felt as if his entire body was hurting, especially his head. The last days had been tiring, way too tiring as he thought, and he didn’t care what was about to happen next. The only thing he cared about now was sleeping, finding rest. “Leave me alone…” he mumbled, refusing to get up. But again he felt the hand at his shoulder, now gripping it firmly and even shaking him a little, and again he was asked to get up: “Really, we’ll be arriving in less than ten minutes, so hurry up now!” – “Will you stop shouting and shaking me, Tommi?!” he answered angrily, pushing away his brother’s hand and opening his eyes. His brother sat right beside him and now had his arms crossed before his chest, looking down on him. “I wasn’t shouting” he said, both offended and annoyed by his brother’s reaction. “Now get your things packed so that we can leave the bus and go into the hotel as fast as possible, we don’t have that much time.” – With these words, Tommi left his younger brother and went back to his seat in the front of the bus.

Meanwhile, Jonne really got up and silently tried to find some of his things that were lying around in the back of the bus. His head was aching terribly and he was still extremely tired, but he couldn’t change that now. The others had already got their stuff together as it seemed, and he wondered how deep and long he must have slept, for he had not recognized them walking about and talking. Well, he heard them talking now… that there where still seven shows to play, an entire week, each night another place, no days off. The last few shows left for this summer, and he wished it would be over just now. He felt sick. It wasn’t only his headache or his complete tiredness; moreover, he simply did not want to go on. I can’t stand this another minute, he thought, I can’t. Stop it, now. Let me sleep. Leave me alone…

But no, he then told himself, you can’t stop it now. You have to finish that tour, have to play these last shows, have to go on as you did before… Have to. Recognizing that it was his duty now, that he MUST do it and that he had to force himself to continue actually broke is heart.

This was not what he had expected. Not at all. Didn’t he love what he was doing?

Just when he had found all of his things and put them into his bag, the bus came to a halt in front of a hotel. Pretending to be still packing, he waited until the others had left the bus. As he had not recognized that Larry waited for him, he was startled when Larry suddenly stood beside him. “Still searching for something?” he asked. “Yeah… well, not really. I… don’t know.” Jonne answered hesitantly and looked away. “No. Let’s go, we’d better be off.” He said after a short moment of silence in which Larry simply stood there worrying, watching his friend. Together, they walked out of the bus and over to the hotel in silence. There they were told that they still had some enough time to go into their rooms and to relax a little.

Some time later, they sat together in the hotel’s restaurant and ate. Jonne, who wasn’t hungry at all, only drank coffee, listened only halfway to what the others were talking about. He looked away all the time and he was careful not to meet any other’s eyes while he was still deep in thought. One week, he thought, only one week left…

“Jonne?” Larry interrupted his thought. “Are you okay?” Jonne merely shrugged and, absent-mindedly, said, “Sure…”, but didn’t dare to look into the other’s face. “Oh but of course!!” Christus said ironically. “Of course you are okay, not talking to anybody and deep in thought the whole time! Don’t you see we have known you for long enough? We are not blind; you’re not okay at all!!” Jay, Antti and Larry agreed by nodding or silently saying “Right…”

Then they all looked expectantly at Jonne, who felt badly surprised at his friends’ confrontation. It felt as if they had been planning to talk to him that way, and he felt singled out. In his opinion, it would have been okay if only one of them had asked, but all of them looking at him now as if they wanted to say: “Tell us, NOW!” made him angry, so that he almost shouted: “I am okay! I’m simply tired, is that such a surprise?! I’m just sick of it all!! Sorry that I’m not perfect!” The others simply stared at him for a moment, and then Christus said heated: “Nobody expects you to be! Of course you are tired, we all are and nobody is criticising you! There’s absolutely no need to be offended! Larry was asking you if everything is alright and I said that it obviously isn’t….” – “Well and I told you it is!!” Jonne interrupted him loudly. “Excuse me now!” he added, got up, left the restaurant in a hurry and almost ran up into the room he shared with Larry. He was fighting tears of anger right now, because he felt so desperately frustrated with the whole situation. Of course he had not wanted to shout at them, but he did not want to tell them his inner conflict either.

He was angry about himself… if he had tried to be just normal, if he had tried not to think too much about what he wanted and what he did not want, the others would not be suspecting anything right now. But then again, how could he possibly tell them that he felt as if he couldn’t play a single show anymore? Arriving in his room, he closed the door behind him and went straight into the little bathroom, where he locked himself in. “Get yourself together!” he said loudly to his reflection in the mirror.

Meanwhile, the rest of the band was talking about him. “What was that now?!” Jay said, taken aback by Jonne’s sudden anger. “I mean… getting furious, running out of here? He’s not that bad tempered usually!” – “I don’t get it, either”, Larry said thoughtfully. “He’s been unapproachable all the time in the bus already. Maybe we should really just leave him alone for a while. Well at least until we have to play tonight. It’s only one week left.” A silent fell between them, which Christus suddenly broke angrily: “This is stupid!!! We were trying to help him, weren’t we? You were just asking, and there was no need to be offended! It was really obvious that he was lying, why does he do that?” – “Wait a second”, Antti suddenly interrupted, looking alarmed. “First of all, we shouldn’t get angry right now, this is the worst timing ever. And then – did you hear what he said? He said something about being sick of it! In the last few days, he has said that he didn’t feel that good, that he had a headache and all. We’re running a marathon at the moment, travelling from one place to another. Larry is right; we should just leave it at that. Jonne will calm down, or he won’t, but whatever his reaction is – we have seven shows left to play and then it’s over anyway. I think we’re all done, we’re all tired and it is no secret that each of us is getting annoyed at being in a hurry all the time. Well, I am.”

Jay agreed: “That’s true. I’m tired as hell. It’s been a great tour and I love playing, but I have to admit that it’s getting exhausting.” – “It really is”, Larry admitted as well and they all came to the agreement to make the best of the last days and to try not to get angry at each other.

Only Christus wasn’t really satisfied. “I’m angry…” he said silently, but then decided to stop discussing the matter. Honestly, he wasn’t even sure if he was really angry with Jonne, or if it was just true what Antti had said, that they were all exhausted and therefore a bit more annoyed than useful. “Hey, don’t think about it too much, Sir.” Larry smiled, tapping Christus’s shoulder. “Let’s go now we still have two hours or something.”

Together they went into their rooms. Jay had one of his own, Antti and Christus shared another and Larry had a room together with Jonne. They had been sitting in the restaurant only for about 15 minutes after Jonne had left and Larry wondered in which mood he would find him now.

“I hate to say so, Larry, but I’m glad I don’t have to share rooms with Jonne today… it’s not right to be angry, I know, but I’d probably start discussing with him every minute.” Christus admitted shortly before they reached Larry’s and Jonne’s room. “I won’t.” Larry answered silently and shrugged, looking at him sceptically. “You’d better calm down a little bit in the next two hours, so that you won’t be angry with him during the sound check or at the show tonight!” he added. Christus nodded. “I know. You’re right. See ya, then, ‘til later!”

So Jay, Antti and Christus went into their rooms at the end of the corridor. Larry opened the door to his with mixed feelings.

He found Jonne lying on the bed, his head turned to the window so that Larry couldn’t see if he was asleep or not. He closed the door as silently as possible and carefully walked over to his own bed, when suddenly he heard Jonne saying “Hi.” It wasn’t more than a whisper and he didn’t turn around. “Hei…” Larry said, almost as silent as Jonne before, “Were you asleep, did I wake you up?” He was worried. “No, never mind”, was the answer, but Jonne still didn’t move to turn around. Larry thought he sounded strange, talking so silent as if close to crying.

He decided not to sit down on his own bed, but on Jonne’s, respectfully careful not to come to close. He can still tell me to go away, Larry thought, but Jonne didn’t say anything for a long moment. In fact, he didn’t even move. Very careful, Larry placed his hand on Jonne’s shoulder. “Don’t worry”, he whispered. “It’ll be over soon.” – What else could he say? He didn’t even know what was wrong. “Rest, now. We’ve got two and a half hours left and it’s the best to relax a little.” Just as had taken his hand away, Jonne said “No.” Larry was startled. He wanted to ask, what, ‘no’, and why? But he didn’t. Very slowly, Jonne turned around so that he lay on his back and not on his side as before. He looked directly into Larry’s eyes, and Larry found it hard to look back – Jonne’s expression seemed all too desperate, too sad, and so very tired. Larry couldn’t tell whether Jonne had cried, nor if he was about to do so.

He suddenly remembered what he had once written about someone else, ‘So fragile that it’s hard to touch you’ and he wondered if Jonne really was breaking down on something, only that he and the others were too blind to see it.

Finally, Jonne broke the silence: “Christus was right.” Again, he was barely audible. Larry merely stared at him helplessly, not knowing what to say. Although his glance was clear, Jonne seemed to struggle with himself for some reason. Jonne didn’t look away and Larry as well refused to do so, even though he felt he couldn’t stand his friends’ sadness any longer.

“I’m not okay.” Jonne continued, a little bit louder now. “I’m tired. I’m annoyed. It’s not easy to tell the same things every single day and to remain light-hearted and in a good mood all the time”, he explained and, knowing perfectly that he had left out the most important part, he closed: “But I won’t bother you and the others with these things any longer. We have shows to play, interviews to give and it’s pointless to make it even harder right now. I’m sorry that I got angry at your question. I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did, but I have. I’m sorry about that. I will be trying to get myself together from now on.”

Larry nodded, wondering on how very calm and barely emotive Jonne’s voice was although the expression on his face, especially in his eyes, seemed deeply vulnerable. Then he said that it was okay. “You needn’t be sorry. You actually just said the same as Antti did before I came in. He said that we all were exhausted and therefore must try not to get annoyed with each other.” A silence fell as Jonne seemed to think on what Larry had just said. Finally he looked away, up to the ceiling and then, slowly turning is head again, out of the window. Larry somehow seemed relieved to be freed from the sadness he had seen in Jonne’s eyes, yet he wasn’t sure if he wanted him to look away completely. But Jonne looked back again and asked, very composed: “What did you say, how much time do we have left to stay here?”

“Less then two and a half hours…” Larry answered, a little bit confused. Jonne nodded. “Would you mind me trying to sleep a little? Just to gain enough energy, you know? We have to perform and I don’t want to… well… I’m tired, you see. I think it’s better to…”

Larry interrupted him, smiling. “Never mind, it’s okay. I’ll wake you up in… two hours then, is that ok?” – “Yes, thank you.” Once more, Jonne turned around, his head to the window. He breathed in deeply, and then closed his eyes, hoping to fall asleep soon. For a moment, he felt Larry’s eyes still fixed on him caringly, but then he felt him get up and away from his bed.

In fact, Larry decided to let Jonne sleep and, being tired himself, lay down on his own bed to rest. But less then ten minutes later he felt that he wouldn’t be able to fall asleep, because of the fact that he was so deep in thought. Worrying what might be so wrong, he watched Jonne, who lay there motionless and breathing deeply and regularly – but finally sleeping.

What makes him so sad? Larry wondered, and how could someone so strong suddenly seem to be so weak? – Larry often admired Jonne’s strength and the energy he was able to afford, especially after having fought sickness due to stage fright. Concerning that problem, Larry thought, Jonne was finally getting over it, being less nervous and less sick from show to show. Nevertheless, something else must be wrong, though Larry couldn’t tell what. He thought on it: Jonne had been too silent, too detached in the last days. Could this really be only caused by tiredness as he said? Or was there more to it? Suddenly, Larry felt very strange. He had always thought he knew Jonne, but right now he felt as if Jonne locked himself in secrets.

A silent knocking on the door interrupted his train of thought. He prayed for Jonne not to wake up by this sound, but Jonne – sleeping deeply – didn’t even stir. Silently, Larry opened door, his fingers already on his lips in order to tell the person waiting there to be quiet.

It was Tommi. He immediately understood Larry’s gesture and asked in a whisper: “Is everything ok? I wanted to look after Jonne…”

Larry only nodded, then took the key out of the door and going out of the room, closed it silently. “He is asleep”, he finally answered in a normal volume. Tommi sighed, shook his head worriedly and explained: “I just wanted to let you know that some of you guys have to go to some radio station, there will be an interview. I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you earlier, it wasn’t planned until now. But I have already…”

Larry immediately shook his head in refuse and interrupted Tommi. “There is no way for him to go, I’ll go or someone else, but not him!”

“I know,” Tommi nodded. “I wanted to tell you, but you interrupted me. So don’t worry: Jay, Sir and Antti will go, I already talked to them. I didn’t want to ask Jonne, don’t think I did! He is really down, isn’t he? Were you able to talk to him?”

“Not really”, Larry told him. “He is very tired, or at least this is what he says. There must be something else, but I’m too blind to see it, or he is too good an actor. I was hoping for you to tell me, actually.”

“I don’t know, either.” Tommi admitted, not telling that he was worried. “Well then,” he continued, “He’ll stay here as long as possible. You should stay here with him and we’ll collect you from here and then drive to the venue together, so that you will arrive as a group. There will surely already be fans and it would look stupid to come in separated.”

As this seemed to be the best solution, Larry nodded in agreement. “When do you have to go and when will you be back?” he asked. Tommi checked his watch and thought about it for a moment. “We’ll leave in half an hour and we’ll come back in another hour at best, one and a half hour at latest. I hope we’re not late because otherwise our schedule is messed up. It’s a bit stressful…” he frowned. Then he said goodbye, remembered Larry to try to be ready in time and then left for the others.

Larry got back into the room and finally rested for some time, then got ready himself and finally decided to wake up Jonne again, even though he felt sorry to do so. Again, he sat down on his bed right beside him and laid his hand onto his shoulder. “Hey… I’m sorry…” he said silently. “It’s time…”

Jonne reacted immediately, yawned and rubbed his eyes. “Already?” he mumbled, sounding more asleep then awake. Even though this reaction caused him to smile, Larry was a little bit afraid of what Jonne might do or say next. “I’m sorry” he repeated. “No it’s okay.” Jonne said, now getting up. He tried to smile, but then yawned again and wanted to lie down, while Larry smiled back at him sympathetically. “Thanks for letting me sleep until now. I’m not really awake but… feeling better in a way. Well…” Jonne interrupted himself. He didn’t really know what to say. “You know what I mean” he closed and then went into the bathroom in order to get ready. “I know.” He heard Larry say, still sitting on his bed.

Jonne didn’t consider himself a good actor, yet he wanted to sound as normal as possible. He knew he had lied about feeling better and he knew that Larry had noticed that, but he couldn’t change that now.

Keep on pretending, he thought and wondered how long it would take until they would ask him again, until they would start discussing. Looking into the mirror, he thought that he looked horrible. He tried to smile once more, but then simply shrugged and sadly shook his head. “Forget about it”, he whispered to himself and then decided to hurry up a little.

He knew he had to shake off his doubts and his annoyance if he didn’t want to argue any longer… and he really didn’t want to end up discussing with the others.

After having changed his clothes, he put on some eyeliner and mascara. It felt strange somehow, not wanting to go but nevertheless getting ready. Before he got out of the bathroom he checked his reflection in the mirror and sighed. Come on!! He thought. This is what you always wished for! – But there was another voice in his head, asking: Is it? Angry with himself, he shook his head energetically. This is going to drive me crazy if I don’t get myself together now! – But he couldn’t help it, the doubt remained.

Larry was already waiting for him when he was finished. He smiled, but seemed thoughtful and asked: “Ready?” Jonne nodded, finally smiling back. “Let’s go then!” Larry said. On their way downstairs, he said “The others are already waiting in the van. They’re just picking us up from here.” Jonne looked at him questioningly. “How’s that?” he asked, feeling strangely annoyed again. Larry continued explaining in a low voice: “Tommi took them for an interview at some radio station they went to earlier and…”

“You didn’t ask me?” Jonne interrupted. “Jonne, you were sleeping! We thought you wanted to rest, was that so wrong?” Larry defended himself, wondering if there was anything one could do to match Jonne’s opinion. “Great.” Jonne said and then remained silent. He didn’t even really say hello to the others, just nodded at them and then sat down, getting seriously annoyed. They were talking about the interview, joking about some strange questions they had been asked and about the way they had reacted. Jonne didn’t take part and stared out of the window instead. When they stopped talking for a moment, Tommi decided to break his brother’s silence: “Still tired, Jonne?” he asked friendly. Jonne merely shrugged, which Tommi couldn’t see because he was driving. “Hey, I was talking to you!” Tommi laughed, really wanting to cheer him up. “Yes I am!!!” – Jonne gave his answer with such a loud and aggressive voice that they all winced. Frowning and slowly shaking his head, Christus turned around to the backseat where Jonne sat. Just in that second, they had arrived at the back entrance to the club they were playing in that night, and Tommi applied the brakes rather rough. Fortunately, there was no one standing outside yet, so that it went unnoticed. Silently, they left the car. Jonne was the last to leave. “You’ll go straight in and see that you don’t meet anyone who might be waiting for you, I bet they don’t want to be treated this way!” Tommi said coldly. Jonne simply went outside, pretending not to notice. “Jonne!” Tommi called sharply, causing his brother to turn around furiously. “Don’t you dare talking to one of your fans as long as you haven’t calmed down, I tell you!” – “I won’t.” Jonne said very silent, but he was shaking with rage. What else should he have said? He didn’t even want to talk to anybody right now. Why was Tommi being that strict anyway? Why didn’t they all just leave him alone?

He followed the others. When he came into the small room the others had only just entered, they all stopped talking. It was entirely silent for a second. Then Christus opened his mouth and was very close to shouting at Jonne, but Antti gripped his arm and told him to stop. “This is useless.” Antti said. “No why? Let him tell me how much he hates my behaviour, let him tell me that I have to calm down!” Jonne replied aggressively. “Let him tell me that this is completely unnecessary, that I’m overreacting and that I’m being an asshole right now, because I DON’T FUCKING CARE!!!” He was shouting now, and Christus was shouting back: “What the hell is wrong with you guy? Is there ANYTHING we can do right?! What are you upset about anyway, is it that we actually CARE ABOUT YOU? You’ve been shouting at us before and now you’re shouting at Tommi just because of the simple question if you are ok? What’s so wrong about it? If this is because of the interview we were giving instead of you, you should be thankful that we did it, because you are not the only one who’s tired!” –

“I didn’t even complain! It would have just been nice if you had talked to me before! I didn’t even know that there were any things planned!!!” Jonne felt as if his voice was going to break. He was shaking violently, and what was worse was that he felt tears welling up inside him because he was so upset. He hated it. He hated standing here and being forced to calm down because he had a show to play. He hated being stared at this way by his band mates. He hated arguing and not being able to just go away in order to prevent the worse. What he hated most was that he was at the edge of tears on account of all this.

Christus shook his head as if to say “I give up”. It was Jay who broke the sudden silence with a calm and friendly voice. “We didn’t know it either, Jonne. Look, Tommi had just got this phone call from that radio station, asking if we couldn’t just step in to promote our show tonight. He met us first because we weren’t in our rooms yet and so he asked us. Larry said that you were sleeping anyway. Do you think we wanted to wake you up for some stupid questions?”

Jonne looked to the ground. “I don’t know really…” he whispered reluctantly, feeling a single tear running down his face. He bit his lip. He couldn’t help it now. He leaned on the wall and then slowly sat down on the floor right in front of it, closed his arms around his legs and rested his head on his knees, so that the others didn’t see his face. It was silent. They were all sort of lost for words and Christus suddenly felt terribly sorry for having shouted at Jonne. Helplessly, he looked around.

Jay made an appeasing gesture into Christus’s direction and shook is head as if saying: “Don’t worry. Things will turn out well in the end.”

Jonne felt someone kneeling down in front of him. Even though he had successfully fought tears, he did not want to look up. “You should all calm down again.” As he hadn’t noticed his entering the room, Jonne was surprised to hear Tommi’s voice. “There’s no point in discussing. Let’s get your stuff on the stage now and start our sound check. We’ll relax afterwards and then you guys will be playing a great show so that everything will be forgotten tonight.” Jonne looked up sadly right into his brother’s face. Tommi, who had just got up again, held out his hand and let Jonne take it. Tommi smiled and as the others had already left the room, he gave Jonne a hug. “Don’t fight, really. We’re all done. Don’t worry so much, Jonne, you make things worse - mostly for yourself. You need a break, I know, but it’s not long ‘til you can have it, okay?” – “I’m sorry, I…” Jonne replied, but Tommi shook his head and smiled: “Don’t worry pikkuveli.”

As it turned out, they didn’t really have much time to relax before the show.

The atmosphere within the band was extremely tense and in some moments during the sound-check it seemed to grow even tenser. The six of them tried to play one or another song, but nothing really worked: If the band was playing the right tunes and rhythm, it was Jonne who missed his entry, and if he was right, one of the others did a mistake. At one point Christus kicked his microphone-stand after he had played a wrong tune over and over again. He was frustrated because of the discussion he had had with Jonne and about the whole situation in general.

Antti was, compared to the others, still in a good humour and had obviously decided to take the whole situation in good humour as well and tried to relax the situation a little:

“Wow, Sir, don’t destroy your microphone before the show, you might need it again!” he laughed, which brought him an evil glance from Sir’s side. “Very funny”, he said grumpily and put everything in order. “That stupid riff doesn’t work, I don’t know what I’m doing wrong!” he said defensively. “Hmm I guess you’re putting your fingers on the wrong strings on the guitar, which causes wrong tunes, which creates a horri….” – “Stop teasing, Antti!!” Christus interrupted him angrily, but then had to laugh himself. “I just don’t get it today!” He said helplessly. “You should make Larry play your parts then!” Antti proposed jokingly. He wanted the others cheer up as well.

“Well great Antti that would make him unemployed, standing on the stage and looking around stupidly, while I would be there with two guitars, but only two hands and make it even worse!” Larry joined in. “Hey, the last rehearsal is supposed to be bad, because then the show afterwards will get better! It’s not that we can’t play our own songs, we’ve had enough practise in the last months. I mean apart from Jay and Sir… and so on.” Antti continued joking. “Haha, if I only had to play your stupid bass-lines I would get along with it my dear friend! You should try the drums when you’re better with rhythms!” Jay commented and started to laugh. Even Jonne was forced to smile now. “You guys are insane…” he said.

You can’t let them down, he thought by himself and began to feel strange once more. What did he want? And did he really want it?

After having regulated some sounds they decided to stop practising because they all felt that they wouldn’t get very far. Afterwards, they all got dressed for the show and did the usual preparations and warming up. As Christus had made so many mistakes during the sound check, he played some of his parts silently over and over again. He seemed to be very serious and focussed, but if he was honest to himself his thoughts drifted away all the time. He thought that Jonne’s behaviour was cold and unapproachable – if talking at all he was giving only very short answers, which Christus found rather unnerving. Moreover, Jonne had seemed to have tried to ignore Christus in most parts during the rehearsal. Even though he felt sorry for having shouted at Jonne, he didn’t change his point of view. He didn’t really want to admit it to himself, but what he worried most about right now was that Jonne was obviously offended, if not seriously hurt. Christus wondered whether Jonne had almost cried because of his comment or because of the present situation. Even if it had been only a moment, or only a single tear visible – He had not intended a reaction like this, not at all. But then again, didn’t he have the right to be angry? Christus didn’t know. He stopped playing and decided to join the others who where, except for Jonne, talking vividly.

Jonne stood alone in the dressing room and had just finished changing his clothes and getting ready for the show. He couldn’t tell what he felt. He knew he was lacking energy and he wished he could refuse to play, though at the same time he knew that he could never do that.

He felt a little bit nervous, but then again he didn’t really know if he was nervous because of the show or because of the fact that he was afraid not to have enough strength to do his best on stage. Moreover, he did not know what to make of the discussion with Christus.

It knocked, and Tommi told him to join the others to go on stage now.

Jonne did so. He felt the excitement rising, especially among the others who seemed filled with energy right now. At least they are…he thought. “Jonne?!” Christus suddenly called, causing him to look up. “It’s time to go now. Same thing as always, we first, you last?” Christus was smiling, yet he sounded a bit stressed as well. Jonne nodded, now finally smiling back. “As always.” He took a deep breath. “Let’s go! Let’s make it.”

The others went to stage and immediately started to play the intro to their first song. Jonne heard people cheering and clapping in the club. People there were waiting… waiting for him.

Just one more second… he thought. Tonight, and then six more shows to play. Do it – now. Give me strength. – It was almost a prayer. He concentrated, tried to collect all strength left in him and then finally ran onto the stage and started singing:

“These are those days when I am yours
Pathetic little naked doll…”

- Misery.

Energy began to overwhelm every other feeling when the first song was finished and the whole audience was going crazy. He looked around in the club and if he wasn’t mistaken, the show was completely sold out.

As they continued to play, the others looked at each other and couldn’t help but grin broadly. They had made it – if the first songs worked, the next ones would as well and would even get better. Christus watched Jonne who seemed to be as comfortable on stage as ever. He knew what he was doing. Larry thought almost the same… there was this strength again, the energy he admired.

The fifth song they played was Still Alive. – It was time to slow down, as Jonne always introduced this song. He and Christus sat down in front of Jay’s drums. Jonne was trembling when he sat down and he was glad to be allowed to rest for a while. But nobody in the crowd noticed his shaking; nobody knew how weak he felt. He closed his eyes and started singing, silently, emotionally:

“…These are those days when I can’t get no sleep
I’m so tired I’d like to fall into sleep…”

This song was so very emotive…

He held the microphone with both hands because he was trembling so hard, and he found it hard to get up again, feeling even a little bit dizzy. Nevertheless, with the beginning of the second stanza, he walked up to the front of the stage and focussed only on singing, let nothing irritate him.

During Larry’s solo, Jonne went over to Christus, and, standing behind him, closed his arms around him and rested his head on his shoulder. With eyes closed again, he could hear people cheer. Only when Christus tried to take hold of his hand, Jonne looked up, right into Christus’s face. He was smiling thankfully, just as if he wanted to say that everything between them was alright. This reaction was a great relief to Jonne. He smiled back, and suddenly felt much better. He knew it was right. Then, making the audience scream and cheer again, he gave Christus a small kiss on the cheek and let go of him, afterwards embracing Larry as well.

Then he finished his song, feeling a strength he had missed the whole time.

“…I look like I’m dead, but when you look at me
I’m still alive…”

In the end, having played song after song, the time went faster than everybody had expected and they were already playing their last song, Goodbye, as an encore. Then they were done.

After they had been on the stage one last time to say goodbye to their audience, they stood backstage and each of them was talking in the same time. They were excited and happy with the way the show had been, so that they complimented each other. All tension seemed to be forgotten. “You’ve done such a great job!!” Christus cheered, hugging Jonne once again. “Thank you.” – “You don’t need to thank me, Christus.” Jonne shook his head but returned the embrace. “You surprised me tonight.” He heard Christus say. “Did I?” “Yes.” Christus explained. “I thought you were angry with me but then…” he smiled at Jonne, who was smiling as well. “Don’t worry.” Jonne said silently. “It’s okay now.”

Later that evening, after having talked to some of their fans and having given autographs and photos, the band returned to the hotel, where they wanted to celebrate the evening a little.

They were all drinking and each of them was in a great mood, yet they knew that they had to plan the next day.

Tommi joined in and told them what was about to happen next, what they had to remember and what plans there were for the next day. “Tomorrow will be harder. That thing on the radio we did today was only the beginning. You’ll have to split up tomorrow, some of you will be on TV, some on the radio and right before the show there are several magazines who want to talk to you as well.” – “Do we have time for ourselves?” Jay asked. “Hardly any, I’m sorry. Sound check begins at 17:00 tomorrow, and your show starts at about 20:00. We will have to leave soon afterwards.” Tommi continued to explain.

The band was silent for a moment. After having discussed the matter, they decided to leave it at that and to take the remaining time for resting. They knew if they’d do otherwise, the following days would be unbearable. Together, they went to their rooms and said good night to each other.

In his and Larry’s room, Jonne let himself fall onto his bed. “I’m afraid of tomorrow” he confessed. Larry sat down on his own bed and watched him, saying: “I know. I’m not happy about it either. Tommi said that the whole week might become this stressful. Let’s hope for the best.”

Jonne sighed. “Larry I…” he started, but then fell silent. “Tell me.” Larry asked him silently, sounding very sympathetic. “I…” Jonne started again. He looked up, then away again, then back to Larry. “It’s just that I don’t…” He couldn’t tell him. Not now, not during their tour.

Larry looked at him questioningly. He frowned. “Jonne really, tell me what’s wrong!” he repeated. Jonne made up his mind and then confessed that he was extremely tired and that he was afraid that the upcoming shows would be even harder to play than this one. “It’s not that I don’t believe in myself… of course I can do it, but I just want to tell you that you must not be angry with me when I… well, when I get angry. I’m doing everything I can, really. For them. For those who want to see us, you know. But it’s hard to wear this mask. It’s hard to pretend every time.” Jonne knew that saying he believed in himself was a lie. He prayed that Larry didn’t notice. Larry seemed to think on what Jonne had just said, then nodded: “I know. Don’t you see we’re all pretending a bit at the moment? You’ve seen it today when Christus got so angry with you. It’s easy to set up fights right now, but don’t you think we should rather work with each other than against each other? We’re all tired. Even Antti is…”

The comment about Antti made Jonne smile. Antti had always been the most active one, if not the hyperactive one. “Don’t always think that we want to blame you for something, when we only ask if everything is okay.” Larry suddenly brought up what they had been talking about this morning.

Jonne wanted to contradict, but Larry gave him a sign to wait and listen. “Christus was angry with you only because it was the second time you refused to give an answer to this question. You have told me now, but none of us knew then that you worried so much. We’re all in the same situation and it’s not fair not to say openly what’s going on. If we stop talking to each other, we’ll get annoyed with each other even faster, because we always expect the others to know, when they can’t.” Jonne didn’t answer. “Jonne don’t get angry again”, Larry pleaded rather helplessly. “But I’m not getting angry.” Jonne finally replied. “I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve made mistakes today, I know, but it is okay now, isn’t it? You just told me yourself that it’s not easy to get along at the moment. I don’t know what you expect from me right now.”

“Nothing”, Larry answered. “I expect nothing from you. I just want you to stop worrying, you know?” No answer. Jonne lay on his bed and thought about what he had just heard. He would have loved to answer something like don’t you see that I CAN’T stop worrying?! but he feared that Larry might lose his patience. Jonne wondered why none of them understood, why none of them seemed to see what was wrong. Was it not obvious? Did he have to tell them even more clearly? “Okay, Jonne?” Larry was still waiting for an answer.

“I’ll try.” Jonne replied shortly, immediately asking himself how many times he had lied in this short conversation.

One after the other, they went into the bathroom and got ready for the remaining night. After all, they lay there in the darkness of the room, each of them somehow lost in thought. It was Larry who broke the silence after a long moment.



“Good night… And don't think about it too much, okay?” Larry heard a soft laughter from Jonne. “Thank you”, Jonne answered smiling. Of course, Larry couldn’t see that he was smiling, but he could hear it in his voice: “Good night. And sleep well....”

They only had four hours to sleep, but Jonne was the first to wake up, even some time before they had to be awake. He knew it was pointless to try to fall asleep again and so he decided to get ready. As Larry was still sleeping and as Jonne didn’t want to disturb him, he packed very carefully, making as little noise as possible. When he was ready, he still had something about twenty minutes until Larry would be forced to get up. Jonne sat down on his bed again and leaned on the wall.

He felt nervous and still a little bit down. It was all so very strange. Suddenly something came into his mind. Looking around, he searched for a pen and a piece of paper, and was relieved to find both. He wanted to capture this moment…

Waiting for something,
Something more to fight for…

He wrote.

He didn’t get much more than a few lines, but he knew he would be able to work on it later on. “You’re writing again?” he suddenly heard Larry ask. “Just some lines, just something that came into my mind…” he answered hesitantly. He hadn’t expected him to ask and he felt a bit strange about having been so absent-minded for some moments. He wondered if Larry had watched him and suddenly felt extremely vulnerable, as if he was easy to attack. Larry immediately noticed a slight change in Jonne’s behaviour. He was hiding something, his thoughts perhaps, or his feeling, Larry assumed, yet he didn’t know whether he should ask or not. But then Jonne seemed to cheer up a little. “Good morning, by the way.” He said and smiled. “I was just a bit surprised that you are awake.”

“Good morning. Surprised you say? What should I tell you? I never expected to find you almost ready to go. How long are you awake?” Larry replied.

“Three quarters of an hour or something, I couldn’t sleep any longer.”

Some time later, they all met downstairs in the lobby of the hotel and they were ready to leave. “Good morning everybody”, Tommi greeted them light-heartedly. The answers were less motivated. “…gdmrning…” Antti mumbled. He was hardly awake, but nevertheless caused Jay to laugh out loud. “Whasup? Whatsofunny?” The others were laughing as well now – Antti sounded so sleepy that it was just too funny to listen to him. He yawned and then mumbled something completely incomprehensible, so that Christus laid his arm around Antti’s shoulder and said: “Are you sure that you are already awake? Or are you walking around in your sleep?!” – “Mmmmh dunno just wanna sleep…” was the drowsy answer.

Tommi laughed and said that they had to leave now, and after they had checked out they went into the bus. “Let me just tell you what’s about to come today, ok?” he proposed when they where all sitting in the back of the bus. He didn’t get the reaction he expected – they asked him to let them rest just a little. “Guys come on we don’t…” he started, but was interrupted by Christus: “Nooo come on, don’t tell us we don’t have enough time when we know exactly that we’ll be sitting in a bus for hours!”

“Well okay. We’ll be driving three hours”, Tommi agreed, and then warned jokingly: “I’ll give you two hours and whoever is still sleeping then will not be at our little party after the show!!”

Antti fell asleep almost immediately, while Christus and Larry sat together and talked. Jay tried to rest as well, and Jonne tried to find some more words for the text he had just started to write, but then he felt that sleep finally overcame him as well.

It didn’t last long, though, and less than another hour later he was awake again. The strange feeling he had felt earlier this morning still had not ceased. Moreover, he felt that his head began to ache, just as it had the day before. God, will this never end? He wondered, and then looked at the few lines he had written.

…it has taken too long since I’ve had something to hold on.
I’m locked in a dark side
What if that all we felt inside was just illusion, waste of time?

He stared at the words and suddenly the doubt which had followed him the day before distracted him again. Do you really want this? Is this what you imagined it to be?

He felt that he had somehow managed find the right words to capture this doubt, and at least this was consoling to him – that he could still find the right words. Suddenly, he was drawn to think back at writing in former times. The times when he had sat there in his room with his guitar, just trying to make up some melodies, for he knew then that the words would come sooner or later. He remembered his younger brother coming in every once in a while: ‘What are you doing?’ - And Jonne had so often asked in return: ‘Why don’t you knock before you come in?’ – And every time, he had felt sorry for being impatient with his brother. The memory made him smile. Some things never changed, didn’t they?

He put the sheet of paper with the lines on it back into his bag and then joined the others.

The two hours they had been given were over soon, and so they sat together downstairs in the back of the bus, where there was a small table. “Now Antti, has the ability to speak properly returned to you in the meantime?” Jay laughed at Antti, who simply grinned back and said: “Yeah, think so.” After a short pause he asked “Well then, what’s up for today?” pretending to be highly motivated. “Quite a lot, actually” Tommi replied, a bit more serious.

“I’ve told you yesterday that there’s not much time. To be honest, I don’t know if there’s any time at all. Let’s see…” He sighed and locked at his watch. “It’s nine o’clock now and we should arrive at about 10, if not even later. We’ll go directly to the place you’ll be playing tonight, let the bus stay there and then split up for the following dates immediately.” The band nodded.

As it turned out, the whole day until four o’clock in the afternoon was filled with dates: TV shows, interviews, radio broadcasts, some interviews with magazines including short shootings and so on.

The days that followed weren’t easier, and even though the tour was almost at its end, it seemed as if it would go on forever. It wasn’t easy, especially not for Jonne who had the most places to go to. It felt like being forced to be everywhere at the same time. In the short times between the several dates when they were driving from one place to the other, Jonne didn’t talk a word or, which wasn’t better, fell asleep – shortly and troubled, awaking each time more tired that before. But he remained friendly with the reporters, answered the questions, smiled into the cameras… he played his role perfectly and professionally. But if he was honest to himself, he was getting closer to despair step by step, day after day.

The others didn’t really feel better. Though seriously worried about Jonne, none of them knew what to do. And as he didn’t tell them what beside tiredness made him feel that bad, they felt that they didn’t really have any chance to help him. What they did realize nevertheless was the fact that they all finally had difficulty with being motivated before the shows, even though they felt great afterwards because it always turned out to be a great show.

But neither Jay or Antti, nor Christus or Larry was lacking so much strength as Jonne, who soon found out that the sickness before the shows now wasn’t due to stage fright any more, but instead because of the fact that he simply feared to break down on stage. That fear wasn’t even unjustified – he often felt dizzy during performing and sometimes everything went black for a short time.

After all, things escalated on the night of the last show that summer.

They had ten minutes left before the show and they were mostly ready to go. Jonne sat on the floor and focussed on breathing regular because he felt as sick as never. He knew if he would get up know, he would black out. Jay kneeled down in front of him. “Are you sure you’re okay? I’m sorry to tell you, but you look horrible…” he said. “Thank you…” Jonne forced himself to smile and stroke his hair out of his face.

His hand was trembling. “It’s only tonight, you know? It’s the last show.” Jay said with a calm voice. Jonne only nodded. He felt terrible.

“Ready?” Antti asked. He wanted to go on stage. “Ready!” Jay, Christus and Larry said one after the other. Jonne was the only one who remained silent. He felt them look at him, waiting for his reaction – but what should he say? There was nothing to say. No, he wasn’t ready, and now he realized that he wouldn’t be in the next minutes or hours, not even in the next days, months or… “Jonne?!” Larry interrupted Jonne’s train of thought impatiently. He had always been sympathetic, but now Larry began to be annoyed. “Let’s go now, really, time’s running out, we have to go!” Still there was no answer. Jonne simply stared down to the ground, suddenly shocked at his own thoughts. “Get up!!” Antti said loudly. A silence fell and everybody waited for Jonne to react, each of them troubled because of his behaviour.

“I can’t.” he finally whispered. There was no energy left in him, nothing. He was completely drained, and the tiredness seemed impossible to get over with. He knew he wouldn’t make it on stage this night. “I can’t.”

“But you MUST!! Damn, don’t you see that we have to go now, Jonne, they are waiting for us… not for us, most of all for you!” Larry suddenly shouted. “I can’t go on stage.” Jonne whispered desperately. “LISTEN!” Larry was walking up in front of him and grabbed his wrist. He was just about to force him up when Jay held him back: “Don’t! You can’t force him!”

“Can’t force him? What else shall we do?! Tell 1000 people out there that we won’t play tonight because HE suddenly isn’t able to? This is our damn last show and I won’t cancel it!! There are people WAITING out there!” He let go of Jonne and backed up furiously. “Calm down, you’re making it even worse if you start arguing now!” Jay called out. “Then tell me what to do instead! We’ve got some five minutes left and for God’s sake: I will not go out there to tell them they came in vain!!!” But looking at Jonne’s face which showed mere despair, Larry calmed down again as fast as he had gotten furious, kneeled down in front of Jonne and literally pleaded: “Jonne, please! You cannot do this, neither to us nor to them. Really… it’s only tonight, I beg you, get yourself together. It’s only this last show I promise you’ll make it.” Finally, Tommi came in and asked what was wrong. Just in that moment, Jonne had made his decision: he would play tonight. One last show, tonight.

“Nothing’s wrong.” He answered with a shaky voice. He finally got up and had to hold tight to the wall beside him, because everything went black immediately. He took a deep breath and looked at the others with a cleared sight: “Go now. I’ll follow you, as always. First song is ‘Inspiration’.” He said. “You won’t need to wait for me. Go.” Then he turned around and ran into the bathroom in the back of the backstage area. He knew he had to do something, whatever it was, to gain energy. With trembling hands, he turned on the cold water in one of the showers, and with his clothes on, he stepped under it. The water was so cold that he gasped. He closed his eyes and soon turned the water of again. He was shaking, but now he couldn’t tell whether it was weakness or the cold. He was entirely wet, but at least the water had revived his energy. With a towel, he rubbed his hair and his arms and legs, even though he was fully dressed and wouldn’t be able to get anything dry. It was too late to change clothes now anyway. He ran back. On his way he met Tommi, who locked at him with a mixture of shock and confusion. “Later” Jonne said silently, and then ran onto the stage.

There he started his show:

“I feel like dying everyday
Am I here just to fade away?
Do you know what it means?
You can think it's OK
But the story is not the same anymore…”

It was breathtaking. Nobody in the audience knew what had happened just before the show, but nobody really wondered. To them, Jonne seemed as full of energy as always. But the energy they felt was nothing more than a desperate attempt to fight physical weakness. The power the audience noticed especially during faster songs was nothing more than an attempt to suppress the trembling. What was great for the audience suddenly was confusing for the band: all weakness seemed to have disappeared and to be transformed into something else. To them, he seemed to be dead serious and focussed very closely on what he did; Jonne sang his songs with a seeming aggressiveness that was unknown even to the rest of the band – and unnoticed by the crowd.

But all in one, he played his role perfectly one last time that night, and his mask didn’t crumble for the whole concert. But inside him, Jonne felt that coldness overcame him, a painful feeling of despair that had taken hold of him some time ago and was now not to be mended. While singing, he often had to close his eyes and to grip firmly at his microphone stand, for he feared he might lose consciousness if he didn’t. Everything around him seemed to turn so fast…

Finally, he felt so weak that he was really fighting tears of exhaustion at the beginning of Still Alive. When he laid his arm on Larry’s shoulder and rested his own head against his, it sent a shock through him, though he couldn’t explain why.

“… I’m right here were you want me to be
Fighting with myself …
…With myself…”

It was the last song before the encore, so that the main part of the show was over and they left the stage for some minutes. Backstage, Jonne could hardly stand. His whole body hurt and he leaned against the wall, eyes closed, concentrating on breathing once more. If he didn’t have to go back on stage soon, he would simply burst into tears now, out of complete exhaustion.

“Drink something”, Antti said, but Jonne shook his head. “Later.” He said. “Let’s finish this show.”

Shortly after, they went onstage again to play their very last song.

“Goodbye, goodbye, my friend
Goodbye, goodbye
My love
Got to go for you,
For you…”

Jonne sang. Then it was over. They bowed, greeted the audience and then went off stage again. There, they burst into the conversion about how the show had been and what they thought about it. They were satisfied and in a very good mood now: the show had been great and it had been a perfect ending to their tour. Only Jonne didn’t talk, and he didn’t listen either. Everything seemed to be far away. He suddenly felt someone hugging him and holding him close. He wasn’t sure, but felt it was Christus. If so, he knew that Sir was talking, but he couldn’t grasp what he said. The voices around him began to swirl and to fade out. He closed his eyes, feeling dizzy. He was completely exhausted, drained… And then, everything disappeared.

“Jonne?! Hey!!” Christus felt that Jonne fainted. He held him, so that he didn’t fall but he didn’t know what to do, or how to bring him to the ground without hurting him. He swore and called out to the others who where just leaving for the bathroom to take a shower. “HELP ME!!! Anyone!” he shouted, and suddenly began to panic. Wake up, wake up, wake up!! He pleaded in his thoughts, while the others did everything in the same time: Antti was running back and helped Christus to lay Jonne down on the floor. Jay ran into the bathroom and Larry looked for Tommi.

Jonne didn’t move. “Fuck! And now?!!” Christus asked fearfully. “We must try to get him back of course!” Antti ran for a chair to place Jonne’s feet on it, so that they lay higher than his head. Christus was kneeling behind Jonne’s head and held his face in his hands. “Come ON!!!” he said more than once. Jay came back quite rash, bringing a cold wet towel he lay on Jonne’s forehead. In the meantime, Larry had found Tommi who was talking on the phone to someone in another room and therefore hadn’t noticed what had happened. “Hey!!!” Larry called. “Jonne… fainted…” Luckily, Tommi understood at once what Larry meant and finished his call immediately.

When they finally came back into the room, Jonne had already opened his eyes again, but was still lying on the ground. Christus, Antti and Jay were sitting around him and Christus talked to him silently. “What are you doing? Don’t fool around…you scared me to death…”

“What happened?” Jonne asked weakly. “You broke down.” Antti answered matter-of-factly.

“What about the show?!” Jonne asked alarmed and wanted to get up, but Christus held him back. “You broke down afterwards, we have already played.” he said. “Oh… okay…” Jonne closed his eyes again and began to shake. All of a sudden he was freezing, and his head, arms and legs felt terribly heavy. And then, rather unexpectedly, he remembered all – the concert, the dizziness, the doubts whether he wanted to continue or not, the discussion right before the show, Larry’s words that had hurt him and the coldness and despair he had felt. “I’m sorry…” he said with a low voice. He removed his feet from the chair they were lying on and sat up very slowly, taking away the towel. Then, he drew his legs close to his upper body and put his arms around them closely, his head resting on his knees. Everything seemed to break down on him. “Oh hey…” he heard Larry say softly, “Don’t worry, it’s over now. We just have to go home, that’s all.”

The others agreed: “He’s right.” “You’ve made it.” “Really. You can have your break now. You deserve it.” Jay, Antti and Christus said one after the other. They look expectantly at Tommi who hadn’t said a word yet and who now remained silent. He was worried, but he did not want to discuss what had happened just now – they would have enough time in the bus when everyone had calmed down a little.

Jonne seemed to shut himself off and they couldn’t change it – or at least they didn’t know how to. They looked helplessly at each other and then at Jonne, who still had his arms around his legs and his head on his knees and who seemed very detached. Finally, Christus decided to approach Jonne and sat down close beside him. He put his arm around Jonne’s shoulders soothingly and lay his other hand on Jonne’s crossed arms. He wanted to say something consoling, but he didn’t know what. Larry, Jay, Antti and Tommi sat or stood around them in a half circle. A long moment passed in silence and they were alone with their thoughts.

Jay felt as if he had known it coming, yet he felt badly surprised at it all, for he hadn’t been prepared for such an ending to the tour. Antti began to feel completely low. Until now, he had managed to keep his spirits high, but suddenly all seemed to be gone. He felt helpless and indecisive what to do, think or to say. To Larry it seemed as if he had never been as worried as now - He felt bad for what he had said before the show and feared he had gone too far.

Christus was simply shocked at Jonne’s faintness.

Even though none of them expected at this time that Jonne was close to giving up, each of them slowly got a slight idea about what had been so wrong in the last week, but they didn’t want to have it this way. It couldn’t be, could it?

It was a phone call that broke the silence with the ringing of Tommi’s mobile phone. “I’m sorry.” He said. “Get him something to drink and then rest some time, but don’t forget that you should go out as well. It’s the last day, you know, and people were so enthusiastic about you. You don’t have to stay long, just for some moments.” – Then he answered the call and went out of the room so that he didn’t disturb them.

Larry got up as well: “I’ll get us something to drink…” he mumbled, and soon came back with water. When Jonne finally looked up again, his sight was very clear. Before he started talking he drank something.

Then he said with a calm voice: “Tommi is right, I’m sure they are waiting…” He looked at the others’ worried faces and forced a smile. “Really, you should go. I’m always the last anyway, they won’t notice.”

“Are you sure?” Antti asked. He didn’t want to leave him there, but he couldn’t help it: he wanted to escape this situation. “What’s the sense in sitting here?” Jonne nodded.

“Well okay then. I’m going to get ready.” Antti said, and going out of the room, he was followed by Jay who had made sure that it really was okay to leave.

That left three of them – Christus, Larry and Jonne. Christus noticed that he still had his arm around Jonne and took it away. Jonne only smiled slightly as if he wanted to say that it was okay.

Then he asked: “What about you two? You should be going as well. I’ll just stay here for a second, but I will follow you.” “Sure, we’re leaving and let you in here alone. Don’t be stupid…” Larry said sarcastically. “I’m sorry,” he added, “but do you really think we’d do that?” “No…” Jonne said, finally really smiling. “I just don’t want you to worry…”

“Too late” Christus said, but suddenly was forced to smile as well. “Never do this again, okay? You scared me when you didn’t react any longer!”

“I didn’t mean to. It was a bit too much today, I guess…” Jonne replied and looked back at Larry. He frowned and wanted to ask why Jonne looked at him this way, as if he wanted to blame him, but before he could say a word Jonne smiled slightly and said: “Don’t think I want to make you responsible, I just didn’t like the way you spoke about me, okay?”

That was all.

All in one, the people outside the venue had to wait about one and a half hour until each member of Negative had been there. Still a bit shaky and very tired Jonne was only able to take less time than he had wanted to, but even though he felt sorry for these people he suddenly realized that he had to go if he didn’t want to break down again.

He answered some last questions, let take some photos and signed the last things, and then he took leave. The last concert was played; the final curtain had fallen, metaphorically spoken. It was over. It had been too much and he knew now that he had to make a decision.

He said goodbye and didn’t know for how long…

In the following days after the tour, the band was mostly separated as each of them needed some time for himself in order to go back into usual every day life.

To get back to normal, to step away from stage-life wasn’t exactly easy, but nevertheless welcome after a rather tough and in the end stressful summer. They all realised that the more time you have to sleep, the more you realise how tired you really are, and so the first time was just really relaxing and quiet. They all stayed in loose contact, yet they didn’t see each other in the beginning because they all felt they needed some distance to each other.

Jonne got sick almost as soon as they had arrived back at home and he felt a bit knocked out by a usual cold with slight fever. Moreover, his feelings concerning the last shows had struck him hard, but he still wasn’t ready to tell the others about his doubts. He thought that it might be too early to do so, and that he might just need some time alone in order to know for sure what he wanted. All in all it took him some time to recover from the whole situation.

It was at the end of the second week after the tour that Jonne left for the lakeside to visit his grandmother and to spend some time there apart from all. He was staying there together with his younger brother and the two of them got along very well. It could have been described as happy times, but after first Jay and then Antti had invited him to spend some time with them and the rest of the band some time during the third week, all thoughts and worries began to return to him, so that he often went outside alone and tried to get some order into his thoughts. After another phone call from Antti that had almost turned into a discussion about how Jonne kept distance from the others, Jonne sat outside on the veranda and tried to grasp clear thoughts on how to explain them his situation. – They had set up a meeting the next day despite their disagreement. It was raining, but the veranda was under shelter so that Jonne hardly got wet. It was cold, and you could tell that summer was finally fading into grey autumn. “Don’t get sick again…” he heard Ville say silently behind him. “I won’t.” Jonne answered shortly. He didn’t want to talk. In silence, his brother gave him a jacket and sat down beside him.

In his jacket, Jonne found cigarettes and lit one. He didn’t smoke very often, especially not when he had to sing, but he didn’t care now. After a long moment of complete silence Ville said: “You’re not yourself.” “How do you know?” Jonne replied at once. “What if I am myself? More than I ever was?” he asked. Ville frowned and looked at him. “Jonne, I know you. You are extremely quiet, more than ever, and you are unhappy. Just because I don’t see you everyday doesn’t mean I’m blind”, he said. Jonne only looked away and remained silent. “I’ve grown up with you, you know?!” - Ville interrupted himself because he saw Jonne shaking his head. “Forget about it, then!” he said quite offended and got in again, leaving Jonne alone with his thoughts.

Later that day, Jonne decided to talk in spite of all. He knocked silently at the door to Ville’s small room in their grandmother’s house and waited for a reaction, but nothing happened. He knocked again and then opened the door slowly a little, so that he could look through. He saw him sitting on his bed, looking to the door rather accusingly. “Hei…” Jonne said calmly, “It has stopped raining and I wanted to go out to walk around a little bit. I thought that perhaps you wanted to join me?” “Okay…” Ville said reluctantly, but got up.

For a long time, they walked in silence until Jonne suddenly said “You’re right”, causing his brother to look up questioningly. “What you said before…” Ville didn’t answer so that Jonne continued. “Well I thought perhaps you were right in saying that I’m not myself, because there really are some things I had to think about and… Look, I don’t want your advice because I know that this is my decision and mine alone. I don’t even know if you want to hear this, it’s just that…” he didn’t know what to say more. He simply felt that he must talk to someone other than the band before. He was relieved when his brother simply said, “Tell me.”

- And Jonne did. He told him all, the touur,, especially its last week, the disagreements and all that had been going through his mind during the last weeks. He told him about the fact that he didn’t know how to make this decision and that he had no idea how to tell the others or how they would react.

He would find out soon enough.

The following day was grey, cold and rainy. The band would meet at Larry’s place that evening, but as Jonne still spent his time at the lakeside, Jay and Antti agreed to pick him up in the late afternoon. It was already dark when they arrived and it still hadn’t stopped raining.

It didn’t take long until Jonne was ready to go and so they drove back soon. Antti told vividly how he had passed the last days, and the three of them were laughing and joking together, even though Jonne didn’t feel like joking at all. Instead, he felt rather nervous because he still didn’t know for sure how to express what he wanted to explain to them.

Later, at Larry’s home, the living room was soon filled with laughter and vivid conversations. It felt good to see each other again, even though their break had been shorter than they had expected. The atmosphere was great and, being free from all stress, they had lots of fun. They had first planned to go out, but as none of them wanted to cross Tampere while it was pouring with rain, they simply stayed there. Jonne knew that this served him well because it was better to talk to them here than elsewhere, but he nonetheless dreaded the very moment he had to start.

It was getting late and the conversations were quite calm then, very relaxed. It might have been a great evening if there weren’t serious things to be discussed soon. After all, it was Christus who began to talk about future plans for the band, causing Jonne to feel uncomfortable at once – They didn’t know yet. And he himself didn’t know for sure either.

All except for Jonne had soon contributed in either making plans or in talking about one or another funny or interesting thing that had happened on the last tour. “Jonne has lost his words”, Antti laughed at one point. “Why don’t you tell us your ideas? Any lyrics written or melodies composed? You usually come up with these things so soon”, he wanted to know, but Jonne only smiled evasively. “Come on, tell us what you think!” Christus agreed.

There it was: the question Jonne had both dreaded and waited for. He lit another cigarette. Out of nervousness he had smoked a lot this evening, somehow to the others’ surprise.

“Well, actually…” he started, “actually I wanted to tell you something else…” His heart was beating violently. Where was he to start?

Within this short moment of Jonne’s hesitation, the mood amongst them changed immediately from fun to seriousness. They were all aware that something very important and difficult was going on. “Tell us…” Jay said carefully, breaking the sudden silence. Jonne stared out of the window, tapping his feet nervously. How to start? - And where? Just when Christus wanted to ask “Jonne?” because he didn’t seem to react, Jonne started anew: “I’ve made up my mind… I… haven’t come to a decision, but… I’ve been thinking a lot in… the last time.” He said, trying to suppress the trembling in his voice. The others were confused – what did he want to tell them? Before he continued speaking, he stubbed out the cigarette and then brought his hands together, trying to hold them still. Then he said: “Antti, yesterday on the phone you have… in the name of all, so to speak, somehow… complained about the fact that I hadn’t answered your calls, saying that I isolated myself from you.”

Antti simply nodded at this and as none of them spoke a word, Jonne picked up his thread once more: “I… wasn’t keeping the distance without having a reason and… no, Christus, don’t look that angry, it’s nothing against you all in person… well, as I said, I had… I have my reasons to do so, that is… to want to stay alone a little. There were… there are so many things to think about.” He was speaking very slowly and hesitantly, looking to the ground, then to the others and then back to the ground again. He waited for them to say something, but they felt completely lost and as if they didn’t understand a word of what he had said. By now, Jonne felt deadly nervous and thus simply sick. He took a deep breath, drank a little and then said: “I’ve been thinking about what is going to happen now, and how I will continue… in case I will. Which is something I do hope for of…” – “WHAT?” Christus interrupted. Had he understood that right: «in case I will»?

Jonne felt his heart would break. He got up and began to walk around in the room uneasily. The pressure he felt seemed to be unbearable. “Let me explain” he said, slowly going over to the window. “I thought it would get better once we’re back at home and out of hurry but it didn’t really change… the whole time, especially during the last week of the tour, I’ve been thinking so much about these things and I still can’t stop it. I can’t stop thinking about the last shows… Since then, I’ve been asking myself over and over again if… if I’m doing the right thing and if this is what I wished for, because…” he had to interrupt himself because he couldn’t stop the trembling in his voice. “Jonne, what do you mean?” Christus asked, sounding worried, confused and a little impatient at the same time. “Please tell us.” Jay agreed. “We can’t help you if you don’t.” Larry added softly, and Antti simply nodded.

Jonne swallowed and then cleared his throat. “I know…” he said silently. “Give me a second…” “Take your time…” Antti murmured.

And then, finally, Jonne felt he had found a beginning. “It must have been… three or four weeks ago that you asked me if everything was okay. And you didn’t believe when I said it was. You told me then that you could see that I was lying and that I was making a mistake. I said… that I was sick of it all. It was the first of many following discussions between us.”

“…I’ve come to think whether it is right to be annoyed with each other to a point of not talking anymore, but shouting instead. I wonder if it is right to have to force oneself to calm down in order to not start discussing again and again… ”

“I don’t know if it is right to have to force oneself to be in a good mood because of just another date, just another interview, just another shooting. I… don’t know whom I betray more when I suddenly don’t want to answer the same questions for the twentieth time, don’t know if I betray myself, …you…, our dreams or simply those who want to read these answers…”

“I don’t know if it is right or even healthy to almost break down because of nervousness in the first time, and then, when getting used to it, almost breaking down because of complete exhaustion. I don’t know if it is the right thing to constantly ask myself if this is what I really wanted, or to begin to doubt in general. I don’t…” he felt his voice was finally breaking, but he couldn’t change it know.”

“I have no idea if it is right not to want to go on stage or if I’m allowed to be afraid to go, to go even if I fear that I’ll break down during the show... I don’t know if it’s good to be drained off energy to a point of constant dizziness on stage and finally breaking down after the show, because it simply was too much. I…” he shielded his face with his hands because he finally couldn’t restrain tears any longer. He hadn’t really cried at tour or at home, he had only been way too close to it, had always tried to be as strong as possible, but he gave that up now. It was too much to bear. But if he hadn’t turned around, he would have seen that he wasn’t the only one crying.”

“I’ve tried so many times to tell you…but I couldn’t. I couldn’t just tell you that I wanted to…” as his voice finally was completely drowned in tears, he didn’t finish the sentence. He turned away from them and stared out of the window. He wiped the tears from his face and tried to calm down a little. “I do not know if I can go on like this…” he closed. What happened next was completely unexpected to all. Suddenly, Christus stood up, took hold of Jonne’s arms furiously and shook him almost violently. “DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT? DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?!??” he shouted aggressively. “Christus!!!” Larry interfered. He made him let go of Jonne and went out of the room with him, in order to make him calm down.

Larry led Christus to the kitchen where they sat down. Christus was furious: “I can’t believe that he said that!! Why? I don’t get it!!” “Don’t shout! You need to calm down, don’t you see? We can’t break up this way…” Larry tried to soothe him, but Christus refused to calm down: “How can he even think of breaking up? We won’t break up, I won’t give up anything!! And I won’t let him destroy what we have because this is our life, and it is his dream, it’s our dream!!!”

Meanwhile, Jay, Antti and Jonne stayed in the living room. As they were too shocked about the whole situation, none of them spoke a word. Jay and Antti wanted desperately to console Jonne, to approach him in any way, but he refused to be touched.

Jonne leaned back on the sofa he sat down on and looked up to the ceiling, tears still silently running down his face. It had been too much, too hard to talk about. He heard Christus and Larry arguing next door, but couldn’t understand what they said because the door to the kitchen was closed. He could feel Antti’s and Jay’s worried looks and even though he hated their silence, he couldn’t blame them for not talking. – Hadn’t he just set the beginning for the destruction of their dreams?

In fact, Antti and Jay asked themselves almost the same: Did this really mean the end of it all? Was this the end of what they had always wished for? – Even trying to think about it brought them close to tears as well.

“And what will we do now?” Antti was the first to find words, “Jonne, we don’t want to put you under pressure… I mean, I’d love to be able to help you in any ways, but understand: even I am lost for words…”

With a mostly unnoticeable and rather weak movement, Jonne shook his head. “Is there anything we can do for you?” Jay asked out of helplessness. “No I don’t think so…” Jonne said feebly. “Not right now…”

Again, he wiped away the tears from his face and then he got up. “What are you doing?” Antti wanted to know, being very confused. “Just… let me go now, okay? It’s really better if I leave right now…” Jonne replied. “No… where will you go? Stay here, don’t walk around outside alone now.” Jay asked him to stay but received only a sad shake of the head as an answer.

Just in that moment, Larry and Christus came back in again. Christus went straight to the armchair he had been sitting in before and didn’t deign to look at Jonne. – And Jonne knew well that he had hurt Christus.

“I was just about to leave…” he said silently and excusing to Larry who responded: “No way, not alone! If you really want to go, I’ll take you with the car, I didn’t drink too much.” But just as before, Jonne’s reaction was a shake of his head. “No,” he whispered, “let me go.” And they all knew that it was senseless to contradict.

Now, there they sat, assembled in Larry’s living room, lost for words and shocked, knowing well that they couldn’t change anything at the moment. “Good night…” Jonne said before he turned to leave, but suddenly Christus said with a cold voice: “Tell me one thing before you go. Are you still a member of this band, or are you not?”

Before any other could react, Jonne answered: “Right now, I do not know if I have the strength to continue. I don’t expect you to understand. I don’t know what I’ll do, or what my decision will be like. But whatever it will be, I will let you know and I hope you’ll listen to me… I’m sorry.”

And without any further explanations, without any try of the others to hold him back, he left and went out into the cold and rainy night.

The sudden realisation of what Jonne had said last was painful to the others and it seemed all too cruel by then. Just when he had closed the door behind his back and left them, they started discussing.

“Christus really, you mustn’t have asked him the way you just did…” Antti complained.

“Oh and what do you think are we to do instead?! I mean…This can’t be it, this can’t be the end. I won’t have it that way! I can’t believe that he can say something like this!!! We’re living a dream, this is all we ever wanted and I’m not going to throw it a way just like that!” Christus said heatedly. He was furious and didn’t even want to calm down. “I don’t know what to do god damn it, but do you think it’s a solution to get all aggressive?! Calm down now!!!” Antti replied sharply. “I don’t know if you have recognized it yet but he’s about to quit, do you even understand what this means?! It’s great that you can be calm about it, but I can’t!!” Christus snapped back. “Stop it, both of you!!” Larry interfered. “Nothing’s decided yet.” He tried to defend Jonne and was speaking a lot calmer than Antti and Christus before. “You’ve heard what he said, that he needs time to decide! We can’t do anything but wait!” he said.

“Yes, but what will you tell me if he decides against us? What if he quits? What will you tell me then, that everything will turn out well?!” Christus continued arguing and Larry suddenly got louder: “For god’s sake, Christus, you’re not the only one who worries about that!! You’re not the only one whose heart and soul are sacrificed to the band! Damn, do you think really that I don’t care? Do you really think that this isn’t important for me as well?” An awkward silence followed to what Larry had said, until Christus replied sadly: “No, I don’t think so…”

He was at a loss and they all were, so that another moment of silence followed. Again it was Christus who broke it, silently, carefully: “I just don’t want to sit around, looking at how all is going down…” Antti sighed, but before he could say anything, it was Jay who responded: “Look… why you give up that fast?” Christus looked up. “What?” “Well, I just don’t understand why you talk about ‘going down’.”

Christus thought on it for a long moment before he admitted: “I’m just afraid. I didn’t expect this, not at all, and I simply hate the thought of a possible end to all we’ve achieved in the last time. What will we do if…”

“Then please forget about that ‘if’”, Jay interrupted before Christus could add anything further. “It’s hard enough the way it is, we can’t make it worse now by saying that there’s no chance to continue, because there might be one”, he added. They nodded, though none of them was really convinced and they knew it well enough. “Let’s just wait for tonight, let’s think about what we will do. We can talk to Jonne later on, but we first have to try to understand. We must not argue.” Antti proposed.

Meanwhile, Jonne was walking through the streets unrecognized, and the few tears that still found their way every now and then went unnoticed as well because of the rain.

With his mobile phone, he had called a taxi to pick him up from his own home and to bring him back to where Jay and Antti had picked him up earlier that day. He was told that the taxi would arrive in about 30 minutes and he knew that he still had enough time to walk home and to take some money from there to pay the ride. He knew he would have to calm down, and he tried to be prepared to be recognized. At least I’m good at acting now… he thought bitterly. Once having taken the money, he waited outside. He was freezing anyways, no matter if he was inside or outside. The driver, a very friendly middle-aged woman, did not recognize him for who he was at all when he entered the taxi and told her in a silent voice where he wanted to go. She just smiled at him worriedly when he sat down on the front-passenger seat and leaned against the window. Even though the heating was on he felt so cold that he kept on the clammy coat and scarf he was wearing. “It’s hellishly cold outside.” He heard the driver say, looked at her and nodded. It was a relief to him that she had no idea who he was. “Yes, it is…” he agreed. But it isn’t the weather that makes me freeze that much… he added in his thoughts. He felt miserable and he knew well that it was all too obvious. He closed his eyes and leant against the window again, hoping the coldness would disappear. He tried to listen to the sound of the car driving and the rain splashing on the street, or to the slow and melancholy songs on the radio, but nothing could keep him from thinking about Christus’s question: Are you still a member of this band, or are you not? He shivered. Am I?

At the same time at Larry’s, the others did understand now what they had been asking themselves all the time during the last week of the tour. Jonne hadn’t exactly lied to them, he just hadn’t been telling them the whole truth: yes, he had said that he was tired and yes, he had said that he didn’t feel good. But he had not told them that he had thought about quitting. “I can’t believe I didn’t see it coming!” Larry suddenly threw in at one point. “He has tried to talk to me”, he told them, “and he mentioned that he was afraid of the next day and the next show, but he said he wouldn’t bother us. He made so many hints, why didn’t I ask further?” But Antti disagreed: “Don’t blame yourself now, we were all stupid. We should have known, of course. But maybe he didn’t even us to know. What would it have been like if one of us had recognized it, told the others and then had confronted him with this suspicion? Seems like we wouldn’t have finished the tour then, doesn’t it?” – And while Jonne was on his way, it was in a sad and serious atmosphere that the others talked for the remaining night, though they often fell silent and tried to put everything in order. It was strange to talk this way, to have in mind that they didn’t know yet, and that they couldn’t be sure about anything.

The uncertainty that had taken hold of Antti, Christus, Jay and Larry was terrible and they were indecisive what to do. They had decided to give Jonne a week’s time after which they would try to talk to him again – not all together, but separate and each in their own way. They didn’t talk about what they would tell them, for each of them had his own ideas.

However, the week that followed was filled with unpleasant silence and serious thinking for each of them. Nothing was really clear to anybody and everything seemed to be unstable, every thought they had was filled with doubt.

Rather involuntarily, Jonne had described the situation to Tommi who, as their manager, had to be informed about the future of the band. It had started as a bitter conversation but it turned out to be less painful than the one Jonne had had with the rest of the band. Before Jonne left to be alone, he was given the advice to think straight what exactly drove him to the despair he felt.

Jonne did not talk much these days and did hardly take any advice. He wanted to be alone, yet he felt he would go crazy if he was alone for too long.

One day, he had turned on the radio to escape the silence, but the sound he heard all of a sudden was all too familiar, and all too painful: Love is right now… as if in shock, he let fall the cup he had in his hand and it broke into pieces, the scalding water splashing into all directions. As if paralyzed, he listened to the rest of his song, heard the radio presenter talk at the end of the song, and he hated everything about it, so much did it hurt to hear. With trembling hands, he collected the broken pieces of the cup. And so all falls down… he thought bitterly. Everything breaks apart and you don’t know if or how to bring the pieces together again.

He didn’t cry, even though he perhaps wished to. He was in pain somehow and suddenly he knew very well that he couldn’t escape. You started it yourself, there’s no one to blame for this pain, he said to himself. Now see that you set it straight! Decide for yourself!! – And what did he feel? - Pain about what might be lost, and sudden anger about feeling so weak, about being so shocked because of hearing the song which he had written himself and which had been their success, their beginning for a dream coming true. He grew angry with himself, and suddenly he understood Christus’s anger perfectly. It was stupid. It was so very stupid to give it all up and yet… I don’t know how to go on… he thought sadly.

It seemed so wrong to lack enthusiasm and to feel too exhausted, too doubtful to go on, but the feeling stayed, no matter how wrong and stupid it felt. But the decision is mine alone, he pondered. And sooner or later, I’ll have to make it. If only I knew what was right… and if only he had the right words for them to explain.

…I’m hurt and so wounded, it’s gonna tear my soul apart…

He did notice, though, that it was surprisingly easy to write certain things down instead of talking or only thinking about them. Thus, every now and then he noted what came to his mind.

…Afraid of all the fears I feel inside
it’s hard to go on and try to leave this all behind…

By the end of the week it was Jay who felt he would go insane if he wasn’t able to talk to Jonne soon. He had thought a lot about what he might tell him and instead of asking himself what the future might bring he had tried to remember the beginning of it all. After all, he gave it a try and called Jonne one evening. “Hei,” he just said when Jonne answered the call, and remained silent for a second because he was quite surprised to catch him at home in Tampere. “…Jay?” Jonne asked back.

“Yes, it’s me, hi” Jay answered. “Tell me… do you have some time for me and may I talk to you?” he asked but Jonne didn’t answer at once. “Hmmm… sure. What do you want to do?” he wanted to know after a short moment. “Just talking, we can go out of course, if you want to”, was the answer, but they decided to stay at home.

“How are you?” Jay greeted Jonne the next day, when he arrived at his home. He meant it this way – the question wasn’t supposed to sound casual, and Jonne knew so, but it felt strange to be asked how he was, for what should he have answered? “Well…” he just said. “Honestly? I have no idea…” He looked to the ground and told Jay to come in, asking what he wanted to drink and if there was anything new.

Soon they sat together in the living room and talked about this and that, though Jay could tell that Jonne was elsewhere with his thoughts. “You wanted to talk to me about last week, didn’t you?” Jonne suddenly wanted to know. “Don’t think I haven’t thought on it”, he added, “but I fear I won’t be able to give you an answer.” Jay only shook his head with a smile as if to say Jonne shouldn’t worry about that and said: “We’ve been thinking as well, a lot, actually. Not that easy…” Jonne remained silent. Of course it wasn’t easy. For none of them. “Christus hates me, doesn’t he?” he asked after a while. Jay was surprised. “Why? Why do you think so?” he asked back. “He doesn’t hate you. He was shocked. He’s worried.”

“Worried…” Jonne repeated, and doing so, he sounded slightly sarcastic. But suddenly sadness emerged again, slightly infused with fear. “What about you, then?” he asked silently. “And Larry and Antti?”

“What about us?” Jay repeated in a confused way. “None of us hates you for anything, why do you think we do?” “Because I might destroy everything… your dreams and all…”

“You haven’t destroyed anything so far.” Jay answered soothingly and as Jonne didn’t answer he continued: “Look, I’m not here to put you under pressure. And I wouldn’t be here if I hated you for what you said, would I? I can only speak on my behalf, but I think the others would agree when I say now that I’m sad about the fact that we don’t talk to each other.”

They said nothing for a while until something else came to Jay’s mind, causing him to smile.

“Do you remember when we first met?” he asked. Jonne looked up, confused and surprised, “What?” “Back then, in school.” Jay explained, still smiling. Jonne thought on it and said thoughtfully: “Yes… I remember. Seems so long ago now…” “Things were different then…” Jay mused, and Jonne agreed: “Everything was different…” “But was it easier?” Jay asked carefully.

That set Jonne thinking. Was it? He remembered discussions and bad times, times when he had locked himself in his room and when for hours he had played the guitar he had just been given then. “We were dreaming.” It was just a remark, a thought spoken out aloud. Jay nodded: “We had made plans: ‘what if…?’ – We’ve had so many ideas.” He suddenly had to laugh. “Do you remember seeing Sir for the first time?” Finally, Jonne couldn’t help but laugh as well: “We were like ‘Damn, we do need this guy!’ It was so stupid.” He paused and continued shortly after, getting serious all too soon: “I don’t know really… It was a dream… a dream that has passed… It’s past.”

Jay sighed. He had been relieved to hear Jonne laughing, but now it was over again. “Yes, it was a dream. But does it completely belong to the past now? Has it passed? Back then, when we met, when we talked for the first times, we shared a dream, you know? We could sit there for hours thinking about ‘what if we just tried...?’ and ‘wouldn’t it be great if…?’ And then slowly, like a puzzle, we brought the pieces together, one by one. We didn’t care about what seemed impossible and what didn’t. We just dreamed about it, no matter what.”

Jonne couldn’t answer. He knew that Jay was serious, but he had no words to express what he thought on it. He did not even know what to think, knew only that he was deeply moved by this. “What happened to these dreams?” Jay took up his thread sadly, but Jonne only shook his head and Jay repeated the question: “What happened to them? Couldn’t we just… dream on?”

They didn’t talk much afterwards, but when Jay had left some time later, the question whether they couldn’t just dream on occupied Jonne’s mind constantly.

Yes, the question wasn’t even unjustified. But what exactly kept him from dreaming Jonne didn’t know. Was it that dreams turned out to be completely different when they finally came true?

Yes, it was right that they had made of so many things in former times and that they had got so excited about it that they just couldn’t stop talking about it for weeks.

Yes, it was true, they had shared a dream, Jay and him first of all until they were joined by Antti, then by Larry and finally, after one or another change, by Christus.

What had once seemed ages of waiting and planning suddenly had turned to be reality. Too fast, too much, almost too real. – Jonne thought that maybe this was the main reason for being so afraid to follow these long kept dreams: the fact that they had managed to fly so high suddenly made him afraid of falling.

…Dreams faded, I’m frightened
Will I ever find the cure?
Mistaken, I’m waiting when I finally hit the floor…

He wrote down later. - What was contradictory about the whole situation he was in was that Jonne spent hours to try out new things on the guitar and wrote down lots of things that came into his mind. It was strange that trying to think about the future of the band was tearing him apart, but that he nevertheless began to invest a lot into this uncertain future. – Contrary to thinking about it, creating music did not hurt. He didn’t understand himself at all concerning that, but he did continue writing, even though he wasn’t sure what for.

Not only for Jonne, but also for the others it all was a difficult process causing lots of helplessness, confusion and uncertainty and thus many discussions. Christus, Antti, Larry and Jay weren’t arguing about disagreements, but every now and then it occurred that one of them lost his calmness: the continuous thinking and talking about what they could do and how they could continue was harder and harder to bear at times. Consequently, their discussions grew intensely emotional at times.

Jay had told them about the outcome of his conversation with Jonne and they still did not know what to make of it. Christus was mostly confused. Again he felt sorry for having reacted such impulsively, but again he also felt that he had something like a right to. It was unbelievable to him that Jonne could seriously consider leaving the band and he didn’t even dare to thing any further, didn’t have the nerves to think about any ‘buts’ and ‘what ifs’.

It was Larry who brought in another problem – that they had a contract to carry out, because a second record was expected and they had to head for the studio soon. Of course they did not have a fix dates yet for they hadn’t exactly started writing seriously, but still everything would be delayed by a long way. Wouldn’t it?

“What I don’t get at all is that he doesn’t talk to us! It’s… disappointing somehow, because… I don’t know. He should trust us…” Christus said. Larry frowned and said “Trust us, you say? I think he does. But don’t you think he was a little… taken aback by…” “My reaction, yeah I know!” Christus interrupted him. “I know well that it wasn’t exactly the right thing to get all aggressive, you’ve told me often enough and I know it myself. I tried to explain you that I… well I don’t know, I just don’t understand it and it makes me angry and…” he stopped. Larry sighed and answered: “Let’s not bring it up again. I do understand you in a way. I just wanted to tell you that it might be hard for him to talk to us.” Christus only nodded.

“I don’t want him to think we hate him for anything…” he said after a moment, remembering what Jay had just told. “We should convince him of the opposite, then.” Antti said matter-of-factly. “If he doesn’t want to ask us for help, we have to offer it to him.” He explained when he saw the other’s surprised faces. “Before Jay talked to Jonne, we said that we wouldn’t force his decision and that we’d do it all slowly, that we wanted to talk to him separately. We should cling to this.” “Yes, we should make him see that he still has our support.” Larry added. “That’s what I meant. Let’s wait and see if he starts talking to us himself, and if not I’ll call him next week and try to talk to him again.” Antti stated.

Jonne, meanwhile, often felt that he had too many thoughts to deal with, too many decisions to make. He tried to find a solution by all means, tried to get an overview about all possible decisions. Moreover, he tried to find out for himself how to go on. Most of all, he wanted to do it on his own, because he didn’t want to bother anyone. – As he thought he might destroy so much, he didn’t want to ask anyone for help, for he knew that no one could really give him an answer to the questions he asked himself. Soon he began to see that there was no use being depressive about the situation and tried to get along with the stinging he sometimes felt – the sort of pain one feels perhaps when being afraid of the future, or when being unable to express all that’s inside.

All in all, he wanted to be strong enough to think clear and be less emotional - but it all proved harder than he expected.

Nevertheless, Jonne did break his silence after a while and it was Antti who got a text message from him, reading: ‘Just wanted to know how you all are. I’m sorry that I didn’t say anything so far. Guess I still need some time, hope you understand…’ Antti didn’t reply, but phoned him the next day.

“It’s not that I don’t want to meet you guys”, Jonne said on the telephone, “I just need some time on my on. I don’t want to cause you even more trouble. I’m working it out, somehow, but right now I just can’t talk about it that much. It’s such a difficult thing to explain… I can’t explain it all to myself and so I don’t know how to tell you more. I’m afraid don’t even understand it all myself. How could I expect you to understand?”

“Well but we could try it, couldn’t we?” Antti tried to persuade him. “I don’t…” Jonne wanted to contradict.

“No, wait a second,” Antti interrupted again, “I accept that it’s hard for you to talk about that matter and I see that you need your time to set it straight, but are you sure you want to do it all alone?” Jonne didn’t answer.

“Jay has told us that he spoke to you, but we decided to give you some time. But if you hadn’t called, I would have tried to get you on the phone. Don’t get me wrong - not to set you under pressure, but to make sure you’re okay. We won’t force you to talk about it, but maybe it would be better if you had some company. Of course the band is of great concern to all of us, but it’s not all that connects us.” Antti pointed out and Jonne still didn’t say a word. “Trust me.” Antti said silently. “But I do!” Jonne replied quickly. “Look… why don’t you just come around?” Antti suddenly proposed as he preferred talking personally rather than on the phone. “Antti, didn’t I just tell you that…” But Jonne didn’t finish his sentence, knowing well that Antti would persuade him anyways. Maybe it’s not that wrong to do something else than sitting here alone… he decided and said, “Well okay then, I’ll be there soon”, instead of contradicting. And so they met.

Later on, after they had talked for a while, Antti wasn’t surprised to hear Jonne approaching the subject even though he had said on the phone that he did not want to talk about it. “Jay has talked to me, as you know…” Jonne said. “Yes, he told us. How do you feel about it?” Antti wanted to know.

“…about him talking to me?” It was a rhetorical question that Jonne asked, and even though Antti knew so, he asked further: “No, no, I mean in general. What do you feel about what he told you?”

“Confused” Jonne admitted, “He reminded me of the beginning.”

Antti smiled and asked “Did he?” Jonne nodded, “We were talking about how it all started.”

“Did you talk about music lessons in school and almost being thrown out of the room because we wouldn’t shut up, or about boasting on how we would become rock stars?!” Antti suddenly laughed out loud. “I’ll never forget that lesson! We were talking the whole time and we were warned more than just once and then out teacher lost patience. He was all: ‘if you don’t shut up immediately I’m going to throw you out of this room!’”

Jonne couldn’t help but smile. “He said something like… ‘I’m glad that you like music, but you will listen to the music we are talking about in this lesson and make your funny plans afterwards!’,… which we didn’t”, he recalled and suddenly he had to think of what Jay had asked him – ‘Why don’t we just dream on?’ – Why? They have always predicted us failure, but we proved them wrong. We did believe in our dreams then, even though they taught us the opposite… Jonne decided to keep his thoughts to himself because he wasn’t sure yet.

However, they continued sharing memories like these for quite a long time, brought up one or another incident and, remembering it all, were laughing a lot about what had happened to them.

Later on, Jonne tried to explain again why he had said that he didn’t want to talk to them, telling that he wasn’t sure and that he felt so bad about telling them that he hadn’t found a way yet. Their conversation grew thoughtful and serious in the end and both of them knew well that the other was sad, but in spite of all Jonne told him, the way he explained and the way Jonne chose his arguments made Antti consider that things seemed to clear up a little at long last.

And maybe they really did.

Another evening, after having met Larry the day before, Jonne decided to visit Christus because he felt that there were things to be cleared up, too, as Christus was the only one Jonne hadn’t talked to yet.

It took them some time to start their conversation properly as both were sort of taciturn in the beginning and didn’t know what to say to each other – many thoughts and unspoken words seemed to be around. Such a long time we’ve known each other, and now we’re sitting here in silence… Christus thought, and finally began to talk of casual things to ease up the situation.

They talked a lot about unimportant things, carefully leaving out band-intern matters. But as always happens when trying to talk around a special subject, there came a point when it grew harder to avoid it. And so Christus began to approach the topic slowly.

“Remember what you told everyone and how much you fought for your dream to come true.

Everyone told you to forget about it, but you held onto it, no matter what they said.” He said at some point. “I know”, Jonne agreed, “I know that well enough. I began to lose faith at times, but I was told to give it a try – maybe that time it would work.” “And it did.” Christus completed the sentence and Jonne nodded at this.

“Then why not giving it another try?” Jonne knew that Christus would ask this question. “Because I don’t trust myself with it, yet” he explained, “It’s still the same argument – I don’t know if it is right to break down before or after a show. I don’t know if I can make it physically. And if I can’t, I won’t make it at all. And I don’t want to betray any one. I don’t want to pretend everything is great when it isn’t.”

Christus sighed. “Jonne, I understand your point, but… it sounds so much like someone else, not like you.” How could he explain what he wanted to say without sounding too critical? Christus didn’t know. After a short moment he said: “What I wanted to tell you is that… well, don’t underestimate you. Stop mistrusting yourself, for as long as you believe that you possibly couldn’t make it, you won’t make it. And this will destroy you.”

“Well…” Jonne was speechless. What if he’s right?

“Please, let me go on”, Christus said calmly, “I’m not offending you when I tell you, but it seems to me that the whole time you make yourself feel weaker than you actually are. I understand your reasons but I don’t understand your doubt and to be honest: it makes me angry! I just don’t understand it at all.”

“Look, I’m not doing it intentionally in order to…” Jonne wanted to defend himself, but Christus carefully reached for Jonne’s hand and touched him only slightly, interrupting him in the middle of the sentence with this little gesture. “I know”, Christus said, removing his hand again as he had just wanted Jonne to be quiet, “you’re not doing it intentionally in order to hurt me or anyone of us. I know. See, I do try to understand you. I’m just asking you to get my point as well.” – Christus had enough of discussing. He just wanted things to turn out well right now. It was late and the last thing he wanted was another argument, for Christus felt that Jonne really seemed to have changed his opinion in some points, or at least thought about all less pessimistically now.

Jonne sighed and nodded, but then he smiled and asked, “I’m not that easy, am I?” causing Christus to laugh: “No indeed, you aren’t,” he joked, paused and said after a short moment, “Just make up your mind, okay? We’re all friends after all, and you do know that you have every support we can give you, don’t you?”

Jonne nodded again, thankfully. “Yes, I know. And I don’t want to disappoint you. Well then…” he checked the time, “It’s getting late. Time to go I think.”

It had really gone late by then, and surprisingly enough they had talked a lot after all. They said goodbye, giving each other a hug. “Thank you,” both said at the same time and had to laugh. “Two souls, one thought!” Christus smiled, “Good night, then.” – “You know me too well,” Jonne smiled back and winked, “See ya later.”

Both, Christus and Jonne felt much better afterwards when they were alone for themselves. He knew that things weren’t set straight completely yet and Jonne hadn’t made a decision yet, but Christus thought all things were much more hopeful now than they had seemed before. Maybe it was only a matter of time.

How long it took altogether, none of them really remembered when it was over. It had taken a long time, surely, and it was late autumn by now.

Now, not only the rest of the band but also Jonne himself noticed a turning point.

He recognized that it grew easier to sort it all out and to think back, as well as it was easier now to look forward and to think about making changes that were necessary, as he felt.

He talked to others, too, to his family, to people who were close to him, and often he was asked whether he thought he would be happier with or without the band.

Jonne had promised to think about everything again, and to tell the others his decision as soon as he was ready to. He felt that something had changed, but he didn’t know for sure what it was. He felt different than before, less unsure, less depressed. What did he want? – He wanted to be happy. And he wanted to do what he loved to do. Instead of, ‘How am I going to continue?’ he asked himself other questions by now: Did we take a step too far this summer? Maybe it was too much – what if we just slowed down?

Jonne began to think seriously – though in a relieving, not painful way – about what he had talked about with Jay, Antti, Larry and Christus, and it made him smile when he recognized that all of them had somehow referred to the past.

Jay had reminded him of the very first plans they had made back then, and of all the ‘what if…’-conversations they had had. It really made him happier now when he thought about it again.

So many dreams they had had! So many plans they had made! Out of the night… they had made it, hadn’t they?

Antti had recalled so many funny things that had occurred during the last years, all the stupid things they had done, from the beginning on.

It was hard to find people to get along with that well, and they had gone to all sorts of good and bad situations. And yes, it was true, hadn’t they had the time of their lives?

Larry had talked to him of the shows and of the positive excitement they felt when playing live and afterwards – the excitement that was worth all the nervousness before. Yes, it was right, Jonne loved that feeling: the energy during the shows, the interaction in between the band and of course between the band and the audience. Could he really leave all that behind?

…And Christus? Sir, most of all, he had appealed to what connected them – their friendship and the fact that they could rely on each other. Christus had been angry as he said, but despite of that, he had still tried to understand Jonne’s point. And why, as long as they still shared the same dreams, as long as they held on to each other, should they separate now?

And, having collected all these thoughts and all these opinions of his friends he began, slowly but surely, to see the answer to the questions he’d been asked.

– Nevertheless, there was one certain point which still needed to be set straight. And this, perhaps, was the most important point, the point that could only be decided together with the others.

Having come to this decision, Jonne talked to Tommi once more in order to inform him first. Moreover he admitted that he was nervous about telling the others, for whatever reasons.

“I’ve kept them waiting so long”, he stated. “Don’t worry about that, I’m sure they’ll accept it. They’ve given you the time they needed.” Tommi tried to calm him down, and Jonne agreed, even though he still felt a little unsure about it all. “Yes,” he said. “They have. But well… - I don’t know, it’s strange.”

Tommi smiled at him. “Don’t you think you have finally worried enough?” he asked, and continued with a laugh: “No pun intended, but: Don’t be so… negative about it!” which made Jonne laugh out.

Afterwards they talked about how they could reveal the truth to them best, and Jonne already had a plan.

“Yes, do it that way, it’s a good way to put it.” Tommi agreed after he had heard Jonne’s idea. And so, some hours later, Antti, Sir, Larry and Jay all got the same message: ‘Out of town again, there were still too many things to sort out. Guess I have to talk to you guys. Meet me here on Wednesday.’ – They were not sure, but somehow that message was strange to them and they had expected something different, in a way, though they didn’t know what. Anyways, they decided to follow the strange invitation they had been sent.

If they were honest to themselves they went to see Jonne with mixed feelings, for all their hopes for a good ending suddenly were mixed with doubt again – even though they weren’t sure why exactly this was the case. There was something about his message that made them insecure.

Now, when they arrived, Jonne smiled to them slightly and welcomed them. “Thanks for coming”, he said, and he seemed nervous. …Too nervous? “Please, follow me”, he asked after he had greeted each of them. “I… thought we could stay outside for a while, it’s not dark yet and even the sun is still shining a little…” The others exchanged questioning and doubtful looks, as they considered Jonne’s plan as simply strange. Not that it was freezing cold, but ‘warm’ was different either. Their surprise caused Jonne to laugh softly. “No, I’m not insane, really.”

“Sure?” Antti doubted winking, trying to ease the atmosphere as he did so often. Yet the silence they stayed in was rather awkward, and each of them kept his thoughts for himself. What was this all about?

He led them to the shore of the lake, where his brothers obviously had prepared a fireplace and hot drinks for them. Jay, Larry, Sir and Antti looked around rather helplessly and one could tell from their faces that they were surprised and confused all at the same time. They said hello to Tommi and Ville and were invited to sit down on the benches that stood around the fire. “Would you please solve this mystery?” Larry finally asked what everyone else was thinking. He felt uncomfortable.

”I will. Please wait just another moment.” Jonne answered and then shortly talked to Tommi but they spoke so silent that the others couldn’t hear what they said. Then he turned to Ville and asked, “Will you stay here with us?” but his brother only shook his head and said he’d rather walk back. “Okay, thanks for your help, then.” Jonne smiled, and Ville smiled back, saying, “Never mind, ‘till later.”.

Then, finally, Jonne sat down beside Christus and turned so that he could see all of them.

“I’m sorry”, he apologized, “to confuse you that much. And I’m sorry that I kept you waiting for so long.” He waited and looked at them. He really felt sorry, especially now that he saw how completely lost they were, how terribly confused. “Well now, first of all I wanted to thank you for your patience…” he didn’t get much further because Antti interrupted him: “I’m sorry Jonne, really, but… please tell us now ‘cause… Well, what’s going on here?”

If one of them had turned to Tommi, who sat opposite them, they would have seen him trying to hide a broad smile, but all eyes were on Jonne.

“Sorry” He said, “just trying to find the right words…” He held his hands up in an appeasing gesture, and for the first time he had the feeling that the others were even more nervous than he was – and he was nervous.

“Well now…” he started hesitantly, “there’s been a question occupying our minds lately and to be honest… I am to blame.” He smiled slightly and waited for a reaction but the others remained taciturn. Helplessly, he looked to Tommi who smiled and made a gesture as if to push him. Jonne nodded at this and continued. “I think we’ve all been thinking a lot in the last weeks, and once more I have to apologize to have caused you trouble. Of course it wasn’t intended but… well, you know how it went. Now …I’ve been asked a lot of questions, especially in the last couple of weeks, and I wasn’t really able to give an answer just then. I think it’s time now to do so. I made up my mind, at long last.” He paused again and looked into the faces of each of his friends. It was quite easy to tell how they felt – apprehensive, maybe even afraid of what he was about to say. They didn’t know, of course, and Jonne felt all the more sorry for them when he saw them like this.

One could sense an immense tension, and even the warm fire in the approaching dusk did not help to ease the atmosphere, did not make the coldness that seemed to have taken hold of them go away. And the silence between them seemed to make it even worse, for nobody dared to speak a word while Jonne paused. – If he was honest to himself, he was glad all that would be over soon.

And silently he began to explain himself: “It has taken this long because I was so lost. It took me some time to be able to look at it from different sides, because in the beginning I only saw the worst things. What I feared the most was to ask you… I knew you would have tried to understand me, but then again I didn’t understand myself, so how could I have made you see? It seemed as if too many things had happened between us, especially during the tour, because we got mad at each other so often. And I’m sure we would have been fighting the day when I told you if I hadn’t been that… well, how to say it? You know what I mean. …If I hadn’t been that tearful.” He grew more and more nervous and he saw that the others were nodding slightly. And despite the nervousness he went on with a calm voice: “And as I didn’t want to make it all worse than it was, I decided to sort it out myself. Luckily enough, you began to show me how wrong I was, and each of you found a way to approach me.”

Suddenly it seemed to him as if there was no use to go on explaining, or to go on talking without saying anything that really mattered.

He took a deep breath, and again there was a shaking in his voice. “I have made my decision…” he said into the silence, and for a second time seemed to stand still. The tension was beginning to feel unbearable by then. And all of them, Antti, Larry, Jay and Christus sat in a similar position - each a little different, but basically the same: hands brought together or heads leaned on their hands, eyes closed, holding their breath. It would have made Jonne smile, but their tension had somehow reached him as well. Jonne knew it was a cruel thing to tell them the way he did, but he didn’t know how to tell them differently, for he felt otherwise nothing would change. He got up to stand opposite to them, his back to the fire. “Christus…” he started, and Sir looked up, as did Jay, Larry and Antti when he said their names aloud, “When I left you that evening you asked me if I was still with you, I said that I didn’t know how I was going to decide. I have told you that I needed time and I appreciate that you have given me this time and that you’re listening to me, now that I have finally made my decision. … the answer to your question is ‘No’…”

Just in that moment, Jonne recognized that ‘the hard way’ probably was not the best way, but it was too late now, and even though he hated to shock them this much, he wanted to make clear his point of view. He had planned to let the sentence end a bit different than it had ended just now, but he simply didn’t get further than “No” in that moment. He was interrupted by three disconcerted whispers, all saying the same toneless syllable: “No…” Antti, Jay and Larry sat there motionless, staring at him completely shocked and not being able to say anything more than this.

Only Christus had got up, as Jonne knew he would. “How can you do this to us? Why did you make us believe that…” he said painfully, but this time Jonne was faster and stronger and took hold of him calmly. “Listen to me first, please, and hate me afterwards.” Jonne pleaded. “Listen to me.”

Christus didn’t move further and didn’t speak more, he simply stared as him fearfully; his eyes filled with pain, and, just like the others’, finally filled with tears as well.

Jonne took up his thread calmly and soothingly, still holding Christus’s wrists but looking at the others as well. “And even though the answer to this question is ‘No’,” Jonne took up his thread and this time he said the whole sentence, “it doesn’t mean the end. You do not need to worry about an ending because I will stay with you, if you let me.

Let me put it this way: No, I am not a member of this band as it used to be. I’ve really thought about this a lot, and I have come to the decision that I cannot go on the way we stopped. I know that this sounds drastic, but please let me explain.”

Still nobody said a word and to Jonne it seemed that they didn’t understand yet, even though they seemed to relax with every sentence he spoke.

“It has been too much this summer,” he pointed out, “and I don’t want it to continue this way. It simply wasn’t good; for none of us. I mean, of course, we had fun, we enjoyed the shows and we had a great time. But I think we all came to a point where we realized that it grew hard to be motivated. It’s just natural to be tired at the end of a tour, I know that, but this time it just didn’t feel right anymore. Most of all, it didn’t feel right because there were so many situations in which we simply didn’t get along with each other. Of course, we’ve had disagreements before… but maybe we should try to sort it out properly. You know, I do not want to be member of a band that starts annoying each other. And I don’t wand to be in a band in which its members do not talk to each other when problems occur.

But more than that, I don’t want to be a member of a band which is stuck in one place, which was successful once for a short moment of a dream coming true, but is then going back to darkness because it just doesn’t work anymore, or because playing live turned into a routine that is hard to get along with because this routine is too tiring.

Understand that I love you guys too much to let you down, but we really have to change some things. – For example, we should try to change the schedule on tours, which will be taken care of,” he smiled at Tommi while saying that and continuing, he looked back at the others again, “and, in addition to that, we maybe even have to change some things about our behaviour as well. But we should talk about that later on, and in a more quiet moment.” Jonne noticed himself that the trembling in his voice had disappeared soon, and he didn’t feel nervous anymore. He knew what he wanted, and even though they had to work on it of course, he felt it would turn out well.

“I’ve said it before: we’ve gone too far this summer,” he continued, “and I don’t want us to break down on it. We used to dream a lot, but we never dared to go that far in our dreams. Our dream turned to reality so fast, so extremely fast and unstoppable that I’m afraid it might break just now because of… doing the wrong things, and I don’t ever want that to happen. Let us give ourselves more time, let us just calm down, and let us get it going more slowly, maybe even more professionally. Of course I will go on, if you let me, but not the way we used to.”

Listening, Christus had laid his head on Jonne’s shoulder and he was shaking, but remained completely silent just like the others did. They seemed to think on what Jonne had said.

It remained silent for just another moment, until suddenly Antti broke it, half laughing, half in tears: “You got me! You totally got me. Say it again!!” “Of course I will go on, if you let me.” Jonne repeated, and now Antti really began to laugh, slowly joined by Jay as well and finally by Larry, as they looked at each other and finally understood. Antti was the first to jump up and embrace Jonne (or better to say Jonne and Christus, for they were standing to close to each other) impetuously. “You scared me. Damn you scared me soo much!!” he said laughing, “And you’re a devil for leading us astray! I’d love to throw you into the lake our something but damn…” He embraced him again, “Of course we let you. Of course you’ll be with us!” Jay followed. “Idiot!!” he said with a smile, giving Jonne a hug as well, while Antti and Larry took Christus aside, putting their arms around his shoulders. “You want to kill us, don’t you? Kill us with a heart attack or something!” Jay shook his head with a broad smile: “We should do as Antti proposed! You’re such an actor, such a drama queen! All along I believed you would quit and all, setting up this whole mystery!”

Larry didn’t say anything at all for a long time. He just held Jonne close and looked at him with a smile, but still with tears in his eyes, simply because he was so happy and so relieved by now. He wouldn’t let him go for a moment, and then, when with a cleared sight he looked up, he whispered: “Thank you.”

…And Christus? Well, Christus was in complete shock, almost as tearful as Jonne had been weeks ago when he had told them that he had to make a decision. Softly, Jonne forced Christus to look at him. “Still with you all”, he whispered, “and how else could my decision be? How could I ever do this to you; how could I do it to myself?”

Christus shook his head. “I hate you…” he said barely audibly, but as soon as he had spoken his thought, he had to smile under his tears: of course he didn’t mean it. “I know.” Jonne smiled back, “and I told you to. I said that you should listen to me first and hate me afterwards.” Christus looked to the ground. “I’m sorry…” he said, but Jonne only smiled at him and shook his head. And again they embraced each other, just to be joined by the remaining four, as Tommi had been staying with them the whole time.

And now, as they were all standing around Jonne, bound together really, perhaps even more connected now because of all that had happened in the last weeks, Jonne said: “I was close to quitting, really. It hurt so much to think about it, but I knew I wasn’t able to escape. But you all shaped my decision.

I don’t know if you have planned it, but it felt like you hadn’t: each of you has told me about our beginning, and to think back maybe was the best thing to do.”

“It wasn’t really planned”, Larry confirmed. “Even though we talked a lot about what we could do, we didn’t plan what we were about to tell you.”

Jay nodded. “I didn’t really know what else to tell you, actually. I mean… to say ‘oh come on, you’ll never know if it’s really that bad, you’ll feel better soon’ just wouldn’t have brought us any further”, he said and Antti agreed. Jonne nodded with a smile, saying again that it had helped him a lot to think about these things. Then he told them what had made the progress so hard:

“I think I’m still afraid of a vicious circle, afraid that the expectations are too high and that I’ll never be able to match them. This is why I decided it would be better to slow down. I had to tell you this way, the hard way, because this is really important to me. I can only say again that I am sorry to have shocked you that much.” – Even though he had said so much, he still felt he needed to explain himself. The others let him explain, and while he was taking they were occasionally nodding at what he said, smiling, thinking about what he said; agreeing with him. What he said made sense to them.

“I don’t want to compromise in front of our dreams,” Jonne pointed out, “but I still feel that change is necessary if we want to improve. You told me that it wasn’t good to underestimate myself, but… don’t you think we shouldn’t overestimate ourselves either? We’re just human, and there will always be times when all is too much. Let us take our time for our further work now and let us think about it more. Let us make plans as we always did, but let us try to put them in order and to bring them together in a less chaotic way.”

They continued talking for a while, and all of them were of the opinion that it was indeed necessary to slow down a little. Of course, it wasn’t a thing decided right in that moment – they would have to discuss it properly, would have to work it all out and many plans and ideas would have to be discussed together in the following weeks.

But for that evening, they all felt that it was time for a new beginning, and they celebrated it during the remains of the evening, throughout the night – inside a bar then, after Tommi had agreed to drive them back to town again. – The serious part would follow later, when they would have all calmed down and would have to get over the shock and the insecurity of the last weeks.

And for the first time in a long time, each of them knew that all doubts of the previous weeks had been washed away. Their band history was to be written on.

And right at that moment, there was no real end to be seen.

Now, what does it take to make a decision that is about to change one’s life?

What does it take to realize to have gone too far?

And what does it take to be able to make it stop before it is too late?

– It takes energy as much as the will to slow down, for too much energy makes one believe to be too strong.

It takes strength as much as weakness, for too much strength often connects with pride, and too much pride can change the decision-making in a negative way.

But most of all, it takes a strong belief in oneself. And often, this belief cannot be found alone, so that it takes friends who stand by one’s side.

Dreams might be the most important part. – Dreams of the past which might form the reality of the future.

Surely there are always two sides of a coin, the good and the bad one.

But only both together make us see that it is worth to believe in what we wish for, that we only have to try hard enough to achieve our goals, to make our dreams come true.

After every rain comes the sun…

And never forget to believe in your dreams.

~The End~