Jonne sobbed in anguish, wringing his hands in his hair, hardly even feeling the pain from yanking at the blond strands as hard as he was. He had never felt anything like this before. He had never felt such great loss before in his life. All he wanted at that moment was to bury his face in Lauri’s chest and let it all out, but that was the one thing he could never, ever do again.
It had been almost six hours since Lauri had overdosed. In the middle of the night, he’d gotten a call from Kristian saying that Lauri was in the hospital and he’d better get there immediately.
Lauri had been dead almost before he got there. He’d fought, but his heart hadn’t been strong enough, and when Jonne had arrived, a downcast former-guitarist of his was crying, waiting in the waiting area for him. He had been too stunned to ask why Kristian, who had spoken to neither he nor Lauri – to his knowledge – since the band had parted ways with him, had gotten the call, was here; was crying.
Grief had a weird way of making him relive every detail of the last six hours, over and over again. Now he wondered if maybe Kris was listed as Lauri’s emergency contact or something. He wondered if maybe Kris hadn’t taken the call immediately – how long had Lauri laid there before he’d gotten medical attention? Before they'd known what he'd taken... Would he have lived if Jonne had been the one they had called? Or maybe Kristian had been with him. It pained Jonne to think that Lauri would’ve kept something like that from him.
Jonne shivered, and had to rub his thin arms with his hands, trying to get some warmth into himself. It was freezing. He’d been sitting here for a long time, but it was the first time he noticed it, noticed how wet and cold his face was, from the icy rain and from the tears, and he almost wanted to go back to his flat and get warm, then. But he couldn’t go back to that place – there were bits of Lauri all over it, scarves, sunglasses, records, and so much more. Things much more intimate than belongings. Memories. He and Lauri had made love over there, and over there was the spot where Lauri had first kissed him. He couldn’t bear to think of that, not now that there would be no more happy memories made there.
He was sitting on the hill overlooking the little Tampere cemetery where he knew Lauri would be buried in less than a day. He didn’t know if he could come back here. He didn’t know if he could make it.
All he knew was that it hurt, it was excruciating, and that he would do anything to kiss him one last time, to say goodbye… It would never be enough, but it was better than what he had, and he wanted it. Why couldn’t he have it?... He’d never ask for anything again! But no magical lightningbolt came out of the sky, and Lauri did not come up behind him, and he was still alone and aching and cold, sitting out in the miserable rain, waiting to bury the love of his life.
Jonne stared unblinkingly up at the ceiling, laying motionless on top of the sleep-wrinkled sheets. Well, not really sleep. They were wrinkled more from tossing and turning than from actual sleep. He had not slept hardly at all in the last week and a half. He had thought that he would be depressed, crawl into bed and sleep the day away, but he quickly realized that his thoughts haunted him too much and he could not find the adequate words to pour out on paper to let out some of the pain. He could not find peace; he was tormented. If only he’d been able to tell Lauri one more time that he loved him, feel the warm brush of his lips, taste the nicotine that was perpetually on his tongue… He missed the smell of his hair and the smoothness of his skin, and how well their bodies fit together when they snuggled.
Lauri had fallen into a darker place, recently, and hadn’t quite been himself, but he had tried so hard not to change the way he treated Jonne. He’d still loved Jonne with all of his heart. They’d both still yearned for each other, and Lauri had told Jonne how much it scared him to be addicted but said that he was afraid to stop, and begged Jonne to help him. Jonne had tried, but now he knew now he hadn’t tried hard enough; he should’ve forced Lauri to stay with him, and not let him out of his sight. He hadn’t wanted to be overbearing, but now he thought that it was even worth the resentment it would’ve earned him, if he could just have his Lauri back. He would give anything to have his Lauri back.
His phone rang again, for the second time in a few minutes, and though he had ignored it before, he glared at it now, wishing it would just die already. He didn’t want to come back out into the world, yet. He didn’t know if he would ever want to. He was broken.
A few minutes later, there was insistent knocking at his door, and he wondered how whoever it was had gotten into his building, damnit. He returned his eyes to the ceiling, and again stared blankly, hoping that whoever it was would think he wasn’t home and go away quickly.
But the knocking continued, and he heard something now, a voice… Familiar. It took him a moment to realize that it sounded like Lauri’s mother, and she was probably the only person in the world he would’ve answered the door for at that moment. The only person who understood his grief, and missed Lauri just as badly as he did. He crawled out of bed and went to the door, only now realizing how awful he must look, wiping at his cheeks with his sleeves and pushing his greasy hair back out of his face. He needed a shower. He opened the door and flung himself into Mrs. Markkula’s arms. She hugged him back just as earnestly.
“Oh, Jonne, you need to take care of yourself. He wouldn’t have wanted you to be like this,” she whispered into his ear, holding him tightly, stroking his back. “He would’ve wanted you to grieve him and move on to, be happy again, continue your career. How many shows have you cancelled, now?”
Jonne didn’t want to say it, but he knew he would never play a show again. It wouldn’t be the same without Lauri, and all he would feel on the stage without the other man was *pain*. And without Kris, as well… He would never do it. He would never be okay with some stranger playing guitar, even if he could find some way to force himself to sing again. “I… I just… m-miss him…” Jonne whimpered into her shoulder. It was then that he noticed she had brought something – two plastic kennels were sitting on the ground on either side of her legs. He pulled away. “Is th-that…?”
“We started cleaning out his flat a couple hours ago, and we’ve found some of his notebooks. He wanted you to have Valterri and Niilo.”
It broke Jonne’s heart a million times more to think that Lauri’s flat was being gone through – it had just as many memories as his flat did, and it epitomized Lauri. It was the only place he could escape to, to immerse himself in Lauri, smell his scent… “You have to stop. I’ll pay to keep it, I’m just not ready to— …I need to go get some of my things,” he said, glad when Lauri’s mom didn’t push him; it was plain that that was not his reasoning.
“I think you should have the notebooks, Jonne,” she said, picking up a backpack off of one of the kennels. “He wrote some letters to you. I didn’t read them once I realized what they were, but I think you should. I think he would’ve wanted you to.”
He let Lauri’s mom help him carry the cats and the notebooks inside, and she left soon after. He’d almost wanted her to stay, because once she had gone, he was forced to face the pain of Lauri being gone again.
He paced for a little while, staring at the notebooks, staring at the kennels. After a few minutes, he forced himself to let the cats out – he didn’t want to be cruel – but he did not touch the notebooks. Finally, he just opened the front cover of the top one, just for a peek.
Three hours later, he was sitting crosslegged on the floor, surrounded by scattered notebooks and pages, Valtteri in his lap, immersed in Lauri. Lauri had written to him almost every day – a journal of sorts, things that he guessed Lauri had never had the courage to show him, even though they had shared so much. He fantasized that maybe one day Lauri would have asked him to spend the rest of his life with him, and would have given them to him then.
We’re in Germany, and you’re sleeping. I don’t know how you ever sleep so much, or how you can possibly manage to be so MESSY (your shit is everywhere!), but I hope you never change – you are absolutely adorable. I will never stop loving you.
One entry said. Jonne sobbed even harder when he read the words – and he really was sobbing again, now. Each entry was something like that, something quirky or silly or lovely or sweet or sad or scared – but always incredibly emotional and thoughtful – and Jonne knew he could read each one a thousand times, and then a thousand times more than that.
Another one addressed him – one of the many playful names Lauri had called him.
You were so sweet this morning. You woke me up with your kisses, and made love to me all morning, and I didn’t want to get out of bed for soundcheck. It was excruciating to have to let you put clothes on, because I was enjoying kissing your skin so much. I really love it when we get to steal moments like this, just you and me. I feel like I could get lost in you and never want to be found again.
Another one made him start to shake, one which wasn’t nearly so lovely.
I’m scared. I fainted backstage after the show last night, and Kris helped me get home. (I’m sure he made up some excuse for me). I was really out of it; I think I took too much. I was sweating, and I threw up some this morning. I wish you were here with me, because I always feel better when you pull me into your lap and make me lay down, and play with my hair. That’s what I think I need right now.
That entry wasn’t signed, and the handwriting was shaky, almost unrecognizable. He guessed that maybe he hadn’t realized it was this bad because he still had his Lauri. He imagined that if Lauri was a lost cause, he would not be so incredibly loving; that he would’ve lost him the way he’d lost Kristian. Now he hated himself for not seeing it, for not having Lauri arrested – something, ANYTHING.
I’ve had another scare again. I don’t know why I keep doing it. I can’t stop, even though you’re trying to help me. I’m destroying what we have, I know, and I’m sorry. I should leave you. You deserve so much better than me. But the only way I can leave you is to die, because my heart needs you so badly. You’re the worst addiction I have, Jonne, and I’m sorry for that, too.
If it ever does kill me, I would only hope that you keep making your beautiful music, and keep trying to be happy. You deserve happiness, and I hope you know I’d do anything to give it to you.
Jonne couldn’t read any more. He shut the notebook quickly.
It made him resent Lauri a little bit, to read those words. If Lauri was so keen to do ‘anything’ for him, why couldn’t he have given up the drugs? Why did he have to leave him here like alone like this, with his heart broken and bleeding?
It took Jonne a long time to get over the resentment, but as he read more and more, he realized that he could never stay angry at Lauri; he loved him with every ounce of his being. He also knew that he would not want Lauri to see him the way he had become – lonely, depressive, reclusive…
Lauri’s OD had scared Kristian into sobriety, at least for now. Kris knew that his habit had been much worse than Lauri’s, and therefore he had been much luckier, and realized that he probably couldn’t count on that luck to continue. Jonne secretly wished that it had taken him and not Lauri. But he was back playing guitar for Negative, and Jonne probably never would’ve gone back out on tour if it hadn’t been for that, per Lauri’s request or not. At least there was not a stranger in Lauri’s place, so he could just refuse to look over on the side of the stage where his dead guitarist lover should be. Where he belonged. He tried so hard to move on.
Moving on… it was what Lauri had begged him to do, and despite the fact that he was gone, Jonne still loved him enough to do anything Lauri wanted. He never quite had that bounce in his step onstage again, but he found a way to tap into his sorrow, and he always made a heart-wrenchingly beautiful performance out of it because it came straight from his soul. And deep down in his soul, he missed Lauri. He kept paying for his flat, and eventually moved in there, desperate for his scent on the pillowcase, on that stupid maroon vest he always wore…
He carried on for Lauri, but he knew deep inside that he would never be the same without him.