I would do anything to turn back time and just be honest with the Viking on Friday night. Anything. I would lie down in traffic if it would make him understand that it wasn’t about deceiving him, it was about feeling stupid and blurting out “yeah” when he asked if they texted, then following through because I’m a moron. And selfish. I was thinking more about me feeling like a loser than him worrying about me being out alone in a strange city on a Friday night. Actually, I wasn’t even consciously thinking that, I was just running away – from him, instead of to him. It’s all a clusterfuck and it’s my fault.
Or if I couldn’t go back in time that far, I would at least go to the end of Friday night and I would come home and apologize to him when I saw was worried, rather than lashing out at someone who is concerned about me, like I always do.
I opened the door, a little buzzed and happy, and he leaped out of the darkness and was like, “Regan, is that you? Are you okay? Where have you been? And I felt guilty and defensive, so snapped that of course I was fine why wouldn’t I be. So he got mad and demanded to know where the hell I’d been, and I shot back it was none of his fucking business.
I remember knowing I needed to sober up a little or it would get really ugly so went to get some coffee, and of course put this disgusting yoghurty thing called filmmjölk into it instead of milk (mjölk) – which I do every second freaking coffee – and I threw the carton against the wall screaming why does it say milk on the carton when it is fucking yoghurt and horrible creamy goo glugged all down the wall.
Then he said he didn’t know why I was angry and I went nuts. I laid into him that of course he doesn’t get it, everything is so easy for him: he has a job and bank account and library card and friends and family and he knows where to find the onions and even as I was screaming it I could see the shock on his face and a little part of my brain was realizing that he has no idea of any of this. And half of me was mad, because he’s supposed to love me, he should notice a little bit that I’m sinking, but the teeny tiny rational part of me that was left was whispering that he isn’t telepathic. Shit.
Then he said he didn’t ask me to come here.
It was like someone shot me with an arrow and I could feel the agony in my gut and an icy poison seeping its way through my body. And just so that I could survive, I screamed that no he didn’t, he was perfectly happy fucking me over Skype. He turned around and slammed the kitchen door. And again. And again. I though the door would rip from its hinges; every slam reverberated around the apartment.
And I was scared. Not for me, to be clear, I absolutely didn’t think for a minute that he would turn on me or anything like that, but because I didn’t recognize this furious guy. My Viking isn’t furious. I may have painted him here as a little reserved because he’s not into sharing, but in fact he is silly and snuggly. He makes up songs to sing me to sleep then chuckles his head off like a giant toddler.
When I knew I was going to move here, I read a book about Sweden which started with the Vikings, of course. There was a passage about a particular type of Viking, called the Berserkers. They were the most ferocious warrior Vikings, famous for going into a kind of “battle trance” in which they wouldn’t feel pain and were capable of awe inspiring violence. That’s what I thought of as I watched this ferocious warrior who looked like my Viking, his face stony cold as he channeled his fury into battering this door over and over.
Then, like a hurricane blowing itself out, his temper suddenly evaporated and he turned to look at me sheepishly. I was over on the couch, staring at the floor basically just doing whatever I could not to cry. He came and sat by me and I flinched, then I realized that he was grinning.
He asked me why I couldn’t find the onions. I explained that they’re in a special little section in the supermarket and in the US they are smack dab in the middle of the vegetables. He said he would call the rest of the Swedes and they would fix that. I giggled. I couldn’t help myself. I was angry, freaked out, still a little drunk… and he was apologizing that Swedish supermarkets hide the freaking onions.
He told me he loved me. He reached out for me and I climbed into his arms.