2018 - The crisis

When Hector comes back, he shows his holiday photos to Ken.
- You have really had a great time with Santtu. It shows, Ken says.
- It’s nice to travel with someone with mutual interests.
- Do you have a crush on him?
- No... he’s just a great guy, an amazing friend. He’s very ordinary... just so normal.

Things at home don’t feel quite like they used to.
- Are you sitting on the table again, Ken? Why do you need to be so weird? Can’t you just sit on the bench like a regular person?

Hector is starting the engine of his four wheeler. Ken hears the roaring and says:
- Heyyy! We haven’t taken a ride for a long time! I’ll just grab a warmer coat...
- Ken, I’m taking Santtu for a ride... I’m sorry.

It’s very late when Hector comes back home. He sits on the bed and with a shivering voice he says:
- Ken, I have to tell you something.

- I’m in love with Santtu, Hector says and bursts into tears.
Ken instantly jumps out of bed and hugs Hector really tight.
- I know, darling. I know, he whispers.
The weight of the sorrow in the room feels overwhelming.

The days after Hector’s confession have been painful and hard. Ken has so many questions.
- Does Santtu love you back?
- Yes, I think so.
- Are you going to leave me?
- I don’t know.
- Do you want to try and fix things between us two? Do you want to try and save our marriage?
- I don’t know, Ken! I need time to think, I don’t have answers, I’m torn apart and really confused.

Their home is filled with sorrow and pain. Two people with broken hearts, the quilty feelings and despair. Ken can’t be in the same room with Hector, but he can’t be apart from him either.

Ken spends hours walking and running in the woods. He notices that this way the darkest thoughts can’t reach him that easily, even though they do follow him.
And the ice cold water in the Lake Saimaa creates physical pain that mercifully hides the pain in Ken’s heart. Thank god the winter is over and swimming is possible again.

What a wonderful heatwave in May! It feels like the Mother Nature is on ken´s side now.

But things are not going well. Ken keeps crying a lot and Hector tries to console him even though everything is way too heavy for him also.

Ken thinks he’s going to loose his mind:
- You have to tell me! Are you going to leave me or not?
 - I don’t know, Ken! I’m all numb and I can’t hear my own thoughts!
- You can’t keep me hanging here! This is killing me!!!!!

Ken and Hector decide it’s better to be separated. Ken takes the car and and a tent and some camping gear. The heatwave is a blessing right now.

- Goodbye Hector. Let me know when you are ready to talk. I love you, Ken says and can’t help but letting the tears fall.
- I love you too, Ken. And I am so sorry.
- So am I.

WKen is feeling both relieved and horribly afraid of the future.
- How did this happen to us? Why didn’t I notice that Hector isn’t happy enough with me? Why didn’t I take better care of us? Was it a mistake to order him that articulated body? What am I going to do with my life?

After the first night in a tent Ken wakes up and thinks:
“I’m a free person. I can do whatever I want.”
It’s not a joyful thought. It’s scary and empty.

Perfect weather, perfect camping spot!

Meanwhile at home Hector is keeping himself busy and trying to figure out what he actually wants. His mind is still blurry and he’s worried about Ken.

Ken is trying to focus on good things. He’s having pancakes with the friends who make him laugh.

Ken is a person who has always enjoyed his alone time. Doing things on his own has never been a problem for him. But latelty he has really learned to appreciate the friends that he has.

However, the best medicine for the excruciating pain in Ken’s heart is meeting the handsome stranger on the dance floor. These precious moments make Ken’s soul sing. But even if the strength he gets from this man helps him survive for a while, he knows quite well that he really must find the strength in himself.

Ken travels around Finland and tries to enjoys the warmest summer in history. The amazing weather is a blessing for someone living in a tent.

Sometimes campfire cooking starts to annoy Ken. When he suddenly spots this amazing burger place near the city of Lahti, he rushes in and ordered a delicious hamburger with fries. This is the first time Ken sees a real live American school bus!

Ken drives in the country side and starts to appreciate the sights of his home land. You don´t have to travel to other European countries to see amazing things.

Barbie - The Icon. Ken visits this great exhibition in Helsinki.

Although the camping and roadtripping keeps Ken from crying all the time, there are moments when he just crashes. The thought of loosing Hector makes his world collapse. He feels like his future has been taken away from him, the very base of his whole life. “Will I ever be able to fall asleep in Hector’s arms again? Will I ever wake up next to him in the morning?”

Ken visits the old town of Porvoo. All the cute boutiques that sell antique, vintage treasures, arts and crafts keep the dark thoughts out of his mind.

Retail therapy or not, but Ken really has to buy this dolldouse.

After a few weeks of camping life, it’s time to return home and confront Hector who has finally made some decisions. Ken is nervous.

Ken and Hector sit down to have a serious conversation.
- I’m moving out, Ken. I have already found a nice apartment. It’s better for us both, you can’t live in a tent forever.
Ken can barely breathe.
- Are you going to live with Santtu?! he asks and starts to cry.
- No, Ken! I need to be on my own now. I am still very confused about everything and I need to find out who I am. I feel like I have lived in the shadows and I don’t know at all what I want from life.

Ken can’t believe Hector is really leaving him. 
- Why don’t you want to fix things? Why is it that your solution for this crisis is moving out, Ken asks behind his tears.
- Because it’s so much more complicated than you think. I can’t get to know myself if I stay. But I still love you, Ken. That hasn’t changed. We need some space between us now. Be brave. Everything will be good in the end. Somehow.

Ken is in shock:
- How did this happen to us?! We were always so happy, weren’t we?
- There has been something wrong for a long time now... what happened with Santtu and Blaine... there’s a reason why these people managed to crawl between us.
- I know. Like a hole, an empty place that they filled. But I got over Blaine, you know that, don’t you!?
- And all that dancing...
- It’s just dancing!!!!
- Ken, I can see how you shine when you come home. Whoever makes you radiate like that is filling that empty hole in your soul. You haven’t radiated like that in years with me. Don’t think I haven’t noticed.
- He makes me feel young and beautiful and wanted, Ken mumbles.
- And with Santtu I feel like I’m getting noticed. I have been very lonely in this marriage, Hector replies quietly.

The loneliness gets harder and harder every day, so Ken thinks that he will survive with the help of the stranger with the darkest eyes! 
- Tonight I will ask what his name is! Oh, the way he looks at me so passionately and holds me.... and the things he says about me being amazing and special!!!! And dances only with me all night... I might even ask him out...

At the dancehall Ken feels confident. Everybody’s waiting for the band to start playing. Unlike the first time here, now Ken knows that there’s a certain someone here who will fly him to heaven. The butterflies in his stomach feel wonderful.

And there he comes! Ken’s knight in the shining armor! His deep dark eyes look straight at Ken who feels like all the shit in his life is suddenly gone!

Ken can’t believe it. His dancing partner walks past him and asks for someone else!
The same thing happens song after song, and Ken’s confidence is lost. Ken is totally confused, because so far this guy has danced every single song with him and given him all of his attention. What has changed? Why is this evening different?

Time for the last dance. Ken decides to be brave and walks to the dark eyed man and asks:
- May I have this dance?
But the guy says:
- Um... maybe next time...
Ken’s head is blurry:
- But why? What’s wrong? All the previous times...
- Sorry. But you don’t own me. I’m not here only for you, the man says.
A sudden wave of shame hits Ken and he feels like he’s going to collapse right there. He needs air, he turns around and runs out.

Ken has hit rock bottom and is about to drown in self pity.
- What’s wrong with me? I’m so pathetic. Clinging onto some stranger! “Maybe next time” he said.... There will never be a next time, I’ll never try to dance again! I’m so ashamed. How can I be this stupid? Why did I imagine he’d be interested in me one bit?! He didn’t care about me. Why did I think he would?! And why did I even want him to? Nobody cares about me, nobody wants me. Oh Hector, why did you leave me, why, why, why? I’m no good. I’m meaningless. Nobody will ever love me. I miss you so much, Hector. I need you here with me. How can I live without you?

Days go by but Ken can’t keep count on them. He’s in a deep dark hole with no way out.

Ken is on the floor crying when someone opens the front door. It’s Hector:
- Hey Ken, where are you? Is it okay if I come in and get some clothes that I forgot to.... Ken!!!! For God’s sake!!!!

 Get up Ken! On your feet right now! That’s not solving anything! Get a grip of yourself!
Hector sounds angry and Ken is horribly ashamed of himself. It’s embarrassing that Hector has to see him like this.

Hector leads Ken to the sofa and calms him down.
- Have you been like this all week?
- ...
- Have you eaten?
- A little.
- Have you slept?
- No.
- At all?
- No.

It feels safe to let Hector hold him, but Ken knows it’s not good for him in the long run. It just gives false hope. Hector is still in love with Santtu.
- Ken, I love you too. I still want you to be my best friend.
- That is too much to ask. Go now. I will pack the rest of your stuff and let you know when you can come pick them up. 
Saying these words breaks Ken’s heart but he knows he can’t keep his sanity much longer.

Ken knows he can’t find his inner strength alone, so he goes to see a psychiatric nurse.
- You are not mentally ill, Ken. You are just a very sensitive person who reacts in crisis with anxiety. No need to suffer. I will call our doctor so she can suggest a medication for you. Just to get through the most difficult time. Ok?
- Ok, if it helps even a little.

Doctor Ritva prescribes some pharmaceuticals that will make Ken’s darkness go away.
- I wouldn’t recommend strong medicine because you have no tolerance. Just the smallest possible dose to keep the dark thoughts away. You will still be able to feel sorrow and happiness but your brain will be free to work. You will meet me and the nurse weekly. You are stonger than you think even if you might not feel that way now. We are here to help you.

(All of you who have been following Ken´s Instagram account for ages know Ritva quite well.For those who doesn’t know her, I need to explain. Ritva is a child prodigy. We are not sure about her age because she stopped growing when her mother Taylor left her family. Ritva is a genius and very talented in many ways. She graduated school in no time at all and attended medical school. Now she has a Doctors degree. She’s specialized in brain surgery and psychology. And by the way, she is Ken’s niece. You can get to know her in The Doll Soapie.)