The whole time we were searching, I never thought there was anything seriously wrong.
Anders was stony-faced, that hard look he gets when he’s clenching his jaw, Daniel was babbling away, and Tove was crying, and I kept thinking, “jeez you people take life so seriously, of course she’s fine.” I kept imagining us finding her passed out drunk somewhere, and the whole thing turning into a funny story. I even thought about how it would bond us as a group to have had this crazy experience together. When Daniel called the police I nearly told him that where I come from, wasting the police’s time gets you in trouble.
I know I said we were drunk already at dinner, but actually it wasn’t until afterwards that it got wild. We moved into the living room part of the cottage with the bottle of snaps, and Asterix picked up his guitar. He played Beatles and Eagles type songs, and we all sang along, and I was nestled in the Viking’s arms and I was just crazy happy. I love relaxed, messy nights like that, and for the first time I felt like they could be my people. My Dad used to play those kinds of songs. I had this memory of sitting on the stairs in our old split-level house in my PJs, watching through the bars as my parents had a party. He was playing the guitar and my mom was passing out drinks and laughing and all their friends singing. I remember thinking that when I grew up I wanted to have parties like that all the time, and here I was, finally, at a party just like that.
It starts to get pretty hazy after dinner, but bits are coming back to me as I write. The Viking took the guitar at one point and serenaded me with “More than Words” in the worst singing voice you can ever imagine and I nearly fell off the couch laughing. Hockey Girl found this bizarre giant rag doll thing that I guess belonged to one of Asterix’s sisters, and carried it around on her shoulders. ABBA Girl wanted everybody to go and sauna. Asterix got emotional and made some speech about how the Viking is his best friend. His best best best friend. Anders stood up and gave him this solemn hug and I started giggling then I realized they were actually being serious which just seemed funnier.
Then the two girls put some music on and started doing a kind of dance routine, and they explained that they learned it in this cardio-dance class they did this summer. I know this is stupid. I know it’s over-sensitive and paranoid to feel crappy that they did something like that and didn’t include me – why would they, we’re not friends, maybe they even signed up for it before I arrived. But I felt hurt and left out and the dork no one wants to hang out with. I turned to the Viking hoping to get some quick comfort by snuggling into his arms, but he was still busy hugging Asterix, and so I just slipped away.
I have no idea how long I slept, it could have been 10 minutes or 2 hours. I don’t even remember getting into bed, just that feeling of wanting to escape and slipping away. I was still dressed later, so I guess maybe I was thinking of taking a break/cat napping for a little bit rather than officially ‘going to bed’, or maybe I was too drunk to think of brushing teeth and whatnot so just collapsed in my clothes. She was there when I left, for sure. I distinctly remember walking past her and Tove giggling together, and I heard her shout to Asterix to play more guitar as I shut the door.
In fact, I heard them all singing as I lay down on the bed – that’s just come back to me. It was something Swedish, all raucous and loud and you could imagine Vikings bellowing it as they drink tankards of mead on some far flung beach. I remember thinking that they were all just waiting for me to leave so they could sing in Swedish, and feeling bitter – drunkenly, irrationally bitter.
That’s all I remember until I woke up in the living room and saw them all staring and horror washed over me as I realized that the thing I dreaded happening had happened, and then I noticed that Hanna wasn’t there. To start with, they were all like, “whatever, she’s around, are you okay?” But I was fine. As soon as I wake up, I’m fine.
Anders hasn’t talked a whole lot these last few days. Not like his usual reserve; like he has retreated in on himself to this deep, dark cave and I’m starting to get scared he won’t come back out. I want to get him checked for shock, I feel like in the US we would have been taken to hospital, assigned grief counselors or something, but here we were just sent home after giving our statements. I guess it’s only been a few days. Four days. Shit. He’s functioning, he’s eating and he’s showered a couple of times so I guess maybe he is just processing. I’ve spent a lot of time just sitting holding his hand and letting him be. I guess that’s all I can do for now.