North of Nowhere


Illustration by Börkur Sigurbjörnsson

I sit by the window and peer into the darkness. The mighty mountain towers over our village like a monarch sitting on their throne, overlooking their land. I glance at the clock mounted high up on the wall, swinging its pendulum back and forth, patiently counting every second, while sending an endless stream of ticks and tocks through the otherwise silent living room. It’s approaching mid-day and a flock of butterflies is released from a compartment within my stomach, flapping their tickling wings throughout my body. I return my eyes to the mountain, continuing the wait with my eyes fixed into the gloom.

It’s tiring to stare into space without daring to blink, but I’m determined, certain my perseverance will pay off in the end. And it does. It happens. Suddenly. A small glimpse of light reaches over the mountaintop and glitters like the jewels on a royal crown. I watch the coronation of our monarch, mouth agape, struck by the beauty of the moment. The ceremony doesn’t last long, though, and before I know it, the light has faded and left the narrow fjord draped in the same layer of shadows that has covered it for the past couple of months.

But dad had been right.

When I asked him back in December where the sun had gone, he said it went behind the mountain. When I asked him if it was ever coming back, he said matter-of-factly, yes, on January 9th, around mid-day. When I asked him why it had gone, he said it was because we lived at the end of the world—north of nowhere. His voice had sounded so sad that I didn’t ask anything more and decided to wait, as patiently as I possibly could, for the new year to come and see for myself.