I feel like I have been riding a runaway horse since it happened.
It has been galloping wildly through snippets of memories, and half bits of information, fear and sadness and dizzying confusion, and I have only just been holding on. Even the weekend when Anders was gone, I basically walked and walked, and at the time felt as though I was thinking everything over, but really, “Where is Anders? What is happening to him? When is he coming back to me? Where is Anders? What is happening to him? When is he coming back to me? Where is Anders? What is happening to him? When is he coming back to me?” was blaring mindlessly through my head for 72 hours straight.
We sat up all that night, talking everything over, and I felt the puzzle pieces start to take on some form, felt the horse slow to a controlled canter.
His unexplained bad moods, when I thought I had done something wrong, or was crowding him, were caused by Hanna guilt tripping him about risking our relationship. She had been texting him while we were on the bus to the stuga, promising that they would all help to explain if he told me that weekend. He knew she was right, had known for a while, and so was defensive and angry with her. I immediately asked if the police knew that. He said they did; her phone records were one of the things that made them suspect him.
That, and the fact that Hanna is the second woman close to him to drown while he was nearby. “That can’t be a coincidence,” I said, but he shook his head. Jenny wasn’t a strong swimmer, she was drunk, they had kayaked to an uninhabited island in the outer archipelago near open sea where the currents are strong. There is no question that it was a horrible accident. But Daniel’s stuga is on an inlet of water, it was a still night and Hanna was found floating only meters from the ladder to the jetty. It isn’t impossible that she fell into the water, lost her bearings somehow and panicked, but it is far from likely.
“So you’re being framed,” I said quietly. “Someone knows that you were supposedly under suspicion before, and knows how it will look to have the same thing seemingly happen again.” He shrugged, helplessly. “Who would do that?” I felt a flash of impatience: he is so innocent, so good. The murderer would do that. Whoever wanted to kill Hanna decided to do so when she was supposedly almost alone with Anders. There are three bedrooms in Daniel’s stuga. Even if she hadn’t stormed out in the middle of the night, Hanna would have been sleeping alone. It wouldn’t be hard to predict that we would all be in drunken stupors and wouldn’t have roused if someone had climbed into her room. It would have been easier than breaking into her apartment in the city.
I reached across the bed and took his hand. I reminded him that the police let him go, that Torsten said that if they truly suspected him they would have found a way to convince the court to hold him for longer. He said that he wasn’t worried about arrest, or prison, it was living with this shadow over his head for the rest of his life.
We never considered him moving to the US. It just never came up. I wanted the new life in Sweden, so that was the only option on the table. But why not? His English is definitely better than my Swedish (there are monkeys whose English is better than my Swedish) and I’m sure he could get a job doing something; I was advised there was no point to selling my Grandma’s house until the economy picks up, so we could live in it while we figured out what to do. We started to get excited. We got as far as planning a trip to the zoo to see where Marcel the monkey from Friends was sent to, but then it hit me that taking off now would be as good as an admission of guilt. It would be like taking Tylenol for a broken leg; it might take the edge off temporarily, but it would fester and turn gangrenous.
We will clear his name, and then we will go.