I’m not right.
I never have been. I’m wired wrong somehow, and everybody who knows me, sooner or later will figure it out. Even at elementary school, before it happened, kids knew. One day we were doing a science project in pairs and when nobody would pair with me the teacher – Ms Rushford, who always smelled of Lifesavers – told this one kid, I can’t even remember who, to be my partner and they freaked out. Ms Rushford actually flushed. She didn’t know what to do because how could she force this kid who was practically peeing themselves at the thought of sitting by me, but how could she let them get away with undermining her authority like that? I felt bad for her and I faked suddenly getting sick so I could go home.
When my Grandma went through her yoga phase, her dreadlocked friends would be sitting in our kitchen drinking some juice concoction that looked like pond scum, blabbering away about being one with the universe and auras, and Grandma would catch my eye and roll hers subtly. This one of them, an old, quiet dude, would turn and look at me every so often like he could see that my aura was black and gurgling and crawling with maggots, then just turn back without saying anything and try to hit on Grandma. That was afterwards of course. Nobody was supposed to know exactly what happened in the car that night, but one of the paramedics told their girlfriend who told a friend who worked – cliché alert – in the local salon and then everybody knew.
I had to go to the library and look up Lizzie Borden when they started calling me that. No Google in those days, I had to sit there under the watchful eye of the senior who volunteered at the library to look good on college applications, as I read what everybody thought of me. It didn’t actually bother me, if anything I felt relieved I didn’t have to pretend any more.
Even as far back as Thailand, I felt bad for Anders. He is such a good person that he sees good in everyone even when it’s not there. Daniel told me at that party in the summer that Anders was naive, that he worried about him being taken advantage of, but I already knew that. If I was a truly kind person, a fraction as good as Anders, I would have gotten on that plane in Bangkok and saved Anders from all of this. But I’m not. I’m selfish and I wanted to know what it felt like to be loved one time.
By the time he picked up the phone to call the police and report his suspicions about Malin, he had almost convinced me. This strange woman who appeared out of nowhere to befriend me, who just so happened to know Hanna and Jenny and could stoke my suspicions about them. I would have suspected her too.
But I am the only one who knows she has to be innocent.