He’s angry. Has he guessed? I don’t know, I don’t think so.
I tried to backtrack, tried to say we couldn’t be sure it was the same Liv, that even if it was it could be a coincidence, that she just met me and didn’t even realize the Anders I talked about was him, but he wouldn’t listen. He pointed out that she had given me a fake name, how could that be innocent, and what could I say to that?
He said that he remembered vaguely noticing she wasn’t on Facebook when all their high school friends added each other, but hadn’t given it much thought at the time. Now that looked suspicious. I would be thinking the same if I was him.
It was so logical. First love, bad breakup, bitterness growing over the years. Catching sight of him and Jenny, obsessing over her. Following her just to try to understand what it was about her he wanted. Talking to her once, accidentally, heart thumping that she would somehow know, that it would be written all over her face. Watching them out on the island that day. Maybe hearing them break up, how casually she threw being with him away. Resentment growing.
But why Hanna? Why not me? Because Hanna was more his type. Seemed more like a threat. I was the gawky weirdo that wouldn’t last. Too much like her maybe. Maybe that’s why she felt sorry for me, she knew what was coming. That’s why she tried to warn me. The farmer and Daniel must have seen, or possibly seen. Why did she wait so long? Not thinking straight. Thought she was safe, everyone assumed it was an accident, just like Jenny. Then murder was declared, she started to get frightened. Did Daniel wander out drunkenly, see something and not even realize, not remember afterwards? She couldn’t be sure he’d black it out forever. She panicked. Anyone would have.
I saw a new side of Anders that morning. He messaged every one of their high school friends, called all those he had phone numbers for, pacing like a caged tiger as he barked down the phone. Even though he was speaking in Swedish, I could hear how direct, how determined he was. I almost wanted to remind him to start with “how are you?” before launching into his interrogation, but I could see it wouldn’t do any good. What does it matter anyway? It would only delay by seconds, and what good would it do me?
All I could do was sit on the couch, listening helplessly, waiting.
It didn’t take long. He stopped short, stood still, the tone in his voice changed abruptly. My tummy seized up as I heard him say, “Hon bor i New York? Nej, nej…” Even my rudimentary Swedish told me that someone was insisting she still lived in New York. My tummy twisted. He wrote a phone number down. A long one. 212. Shit. He dialled.
“It’s like 7am there…” I blurted. What did it matter?
“Liv? Är det Liv som talar?” She answered the phone.
They talked. I caught the word ‘sorry’, I guess he was apologizing for calling so early. Then he laughed and said something about being three years old. She has a three year old who woke her already? Maybe. Who cares. I stared straight at the wall, refusing to meet his eye. Finally they promised to add each other on Facebook now he knows her married name, promised to catch up when she is home at Christmas, and they hung up.
He sat on the coffee table directly in front of me, I had no choice but to look at him.
“Why did you lie to me?” He asked.