I insisted on walking Tove home.
We hadn’t talked much the rest of the way back, but when we finally got off the t-bana at Medborgarplatsen I slipped my arm through hers and we turned in the direction of their apartment.
I had butterflies in my tummy. I don’t know why. A premonition?
I don’t believe in that shit. But as we walked through the drizzly streets of our neighborhood, I had this feeling like… you know in movies, when the character is dreaming, everything is warped somehow? Noises are distant, yet loud, people appear suddenly in your face then dissolve away.
The homeless guy sitting outside Systembolaget playing the guitar in the rain. The painfully young couple with the matching skinny jeans and the stroller. The angry goth splashing through puddles in her designer military boots. They all drifted by us, as we walked, alone on earth, towards our private hell.
Not our. Hers. What the hell is the matter with me? This isn’t about me.
I saw Anders first. Or did I see the crowd first, and hear Anders?
The police tape.
The blue lights flashing silently in the gathering dusk.
The crowd, random bypassers, frozen to the spot, stricken, horrified, curious.
Anders. Roaring, a feral howl twisted in his throat.
Face down on the sidewalk, a police officer’s knee on his back.
His face in a puddle. Coughing, spluttering. He can’t breathe.
Blood. Is he bleeding? No.
Grim faced paramedics, not hurrying.
I put my arms out to catch Tove, she can’t take this, she’ll collapse. But she can. She stands, staring, taking it in silently, understanding. It’s me that falls. The sidewalk rushes up to meet me.