Author: Sinikka Tirkkonen

In the north

Issue 3/1988 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

A short story from Luvaton elämä (‘Forbidden life’, 1987). Introduction by Tero Liukkonen


I went up north in a sleeping car. It was a relief to see that even in Tampere there was a sign on the car saying ‘Kemijärvi’. That meant I could sleep the whole way. I had the lower berth; a couple more like me were sleeping in the same compartment – just ordinary women. I was nevertheless silent and reserved, so that neither of them would want to make me into a travelling companion. And they did leave me in peace.

I read for a bit, till I began to feel more at home, and settled down to sleep with my woollen socks on. I deliberately went almost to sleep while not wanting to drop off completely; and I gradually reached a point where I didn’t know which direction the train was going in. That was liberating. It was all the same which direction we were going in. The motion of the train got through to my nerves and started releasing things. More…