In a way, I was surprised to see such revelry after the brutal, gory death of O’Halloran.  I saw Swedes high-fiving, thanking their Lutheran God for this victory, in front of a wide-eyed, traumatized and naked cast of Rent.  But who was to stop them?  There was now one more Swede than a person of Irish descent.  And on the other hand, why were the Irish so glum?  O’Halloran was a murderer, and not just that—a murderer of Irishman.   And a torturer of dogs.

But that didn’t quite matter.  In this town, people don’t seem to see their town’s “history”—of an Irishman in love with a Swede—as some kind of message of solidarity, a call to live as one family.  Colm and Annelise co-existed under the same waterfall.  And this murder, too, wasn’t across these arbitrary lines—if anything it occurred because of the same kind of legendary love that the town does not permit to exist.

Each time I try to understand this town, it seems to present a new complication.  This town will never change, though when I leave, the town sign reads: “SVENSON FALLS, pop. 2891, ‘Family happens here.’”

—J. Gustaferro