Standing outside the police station, it hit me that it was the longest Anders and I had been apart in three months.
Our turbo charged relationship was suspended somehow, trapped in gravity-less darkness, waiting, holding its breath to see where it would go next. For three whole months, after the agony of being thousands of miles apart, we have lived in each other’s pockets day in and day out. It’s been claustrophobic and intense and and amazing, and I’ve wanted to tear his head off and climb inside his skin. I realized that, all weekend, I had been like an amputee feeling phantom pains from their missing limb; he hadn’t been there but he had.
But he hadn’t. I started to get nervous. I felt coldly conscious of the fact that I didn’t know what he had been doing or thinking, for three days. He’s a big guy who likes to drink, and sing, and fight, but underneath, the soft underbelly that only I know, he is sensitive. How would the weight of being surrounded by people who believed he had murdered his friend have affected him? Would it have changed him? The butterflies in my tummy got more agitated as I wondered if we would ever be the same: we are no longer that unique couple whose second date lasted forever. It lasted three months, and now it’s over.
The door opened and my heart leaped into my mouth. But it was only her: that same policewoman, in her usual business suit and hijab. She looked at me, obviously recognized me, and seemed to hesitate, to consider. Then she approached me. She introduced herself as Nadja Johansson, a stupid smile flickered across my face as it popped into my head that Daniel and Tove are considering taking her surname when they marry, and she gave me her business card.
I wanted to challenge her. The fantasy me would have looked her in the eyes and demanded to know how she could be so stupid, so horrible at her job that she imagined Anders killed anybody. But this is reality, so I just silently took the card and nodded stiffly when she said I could call her any time I wanted.
Then I saw them. Anders, with a slickly suited guy who had to be Torsten. His gelled back hair and thick-rimmed glasses made me think of the guy that’s married to the princess, but he is more imposing. Even as he shook my hand and pointed out with a smile that he’d kept his promise about Anders coming home the next day, there was a hardness in his eyes that made me immediately think I would never want to be on the wrong side of him.
I took Anders in my arms and told him I’d missed him, as though he had been on a business trip or bachelor weekend or something. He kissed me on the forehead with a faint smile and I ignored the twist in my tummy at his look and squeezed his hand. Torsten said he would take us both for coffee. We went to a cozy little coffee shop near Mariatorget, and I held Anders’ hand as Torsten explained what Tove already had, that the police had held him for three days while they investigated further, and by Sunday didn’t have enough solid evidence against Anders to convince a judge to hold him for longer, so they had let him go.
I blurted the first thought that came into my mind, which was to ask if they could lock him up again in the future, and felt my face grow hot as Anders looked at me sharply. I backtracked quickly, but Torsten spoke over me to say that it was possible if they found new evidence to back up their suspicion, but would be extremely unusual. Anders pulled his hand away from mine and added that they would have to find evidence that didn’t exist because he was innocent and I tried to say, “I know” but the words were trapped by the sudden lump in my throat.
Tosten said that the problem was Anders’ DNA being found on Hanna’s body. It wasn’t enough to be clear evidence of her trying to defend herself and could be explained by the fact that they were friends who had spent the evening together – I interrupted to say I already knew, it was because she tried to hit on him and slapped him. The flint in Torsten’s eyes hardened as he asked Anders what the hell I was talking about, and Anders said, “nothing.” I felt a stab of fury at Anders: the fucking obnoxious, moronic pass Hanna made at him caused him to be locked in jail for three days, and he was still defending her.
Then I remembered something. Tove had said that the police could only take DNA from a suspect when they had already declared skälig mistanke against them. So what made them suspect Anders in the first place?