Lying next to the left-hand row of desks is Dennis; as usual he’s wearing a graphic tee, jeans from a big-box store, and untied tennis shoes. Dennis is from Uganda. He says he’s seventeen, but he looks like a fat twenty-five year old. He’s a student in the trade school, and he lives in Sollentuna in a home for people like him. Samir has ended up next to him, on his side. Samir and I are in the same class because Samir managed to be accepted to our school’s special program in international economics and social sciences.
Up at the lectern is Christer, our homeroom teacher and self-described social reformer. His mug has overturned and coffee is dripping onto the leg of his pants. Amanda, no more than two meters away, is sitting propped against the radiator under the window. Just a few minutes ago, she was all cashmere, white gold, and sandals. The diamond earrings she received when we were confirmed are still sparkling in the early-summer sunshine. But now you might think she was covered in mud. I am sitting on the floor in the middle of the classroom. In my lap is Sebastian, the son of the richest man in Sweden, Claes Fagerman.
The people in this room do not go together. People like us don’t usually spend time together. Maybe on a metro platform during a taxi-driver strike, or in the dining car on a train, but not in a classroom.
It smells like rotten eggs. The air is hazy and gray with gunpowder smoke. Everyone has been shot but me. I haven’t got even as much as a bruise.