In the beginning of 1975, a broad shouldered and handsome young man docked a small rented sailboat in the port of Luanda, the capital of Angola. The sunset was brilliant, a bursting cornucopia of pinks and oranges washed in blue.
He had drunk the day away on the sea casually tacking the sailboat in the zephyrs. Smiling and singing along the coast, sailing was his absolute favorite thing to do. His second favorite thing was his job, and he was finally going back to work. Business was going to be picking up. He could feel worth something to someone again.
My father, Odin Ankarsvard, was thirty years old the year he met my mom. He was still delusional about what it was to be a man, to be a warrior. He owned and worked for a mercenary outfit called Human Conditions Inc. that operated out of South Africa. The proverbial poop was about to hit the fan in Angola, and his outfit would be one of many blades in that fan.
He walked through the sultry Luandan night. He sang a ballad in Old Norse. It was about warriors that didn’t keep homes and fought for riches and glory. He had plenty of riches, but no glory yet. Glory would be something he would never find in battle and not for lack of valor or might.
His hotel was next a night club that attracted tourists and locals alike. The women there were fancy-free and in love with tourists or anybody with a pocketful of cash. But Odin had had his share with loose women for the week. He wanted a woman to he could talk to, one he could hold.
Not long after perusing the smoky dim-lit nightclub, he had a small gaggle of girls huddled around him at the bar. Same scene, he was tired of it. He had already spent more money than he wanted waiting around for someone to let him know what was going on.
Odin was a nice guy though, he couldn’t tell them to shove off. So, he told them stories and was as witty as he could. They giggled and touch his arm, some didn’t even understand him. He didn’t speak Portuguese either, so there wasn’t much two-way conversation.
A petite and pretty blond woman glared from across the bar the money-hungry strumpets surrounding this handsome Norseman. She was angry and drunk and had been shooing off all the dogs looking for a good time with blond girl.
A man, whom she had just fallen in love with, had left her high and dry. She in turn went on a three day bender to pickle herself into a coma. She was regretting ever coming back into the city.
My father noticed her. My mother was a wreck. She had been drinking and crying and yelling for two days straight. She was also low on money and was considering whoring herself out for the night, that was until she met my dad.
My father approached her. The music was loud, a mixture of disco and African drums.
“May I buy you a drink?” Odin asked in English.
“What?” Nastasia asked in Polish.
“What?” He asked. “Oh, I don’t speak Polish.”
“But you understand it?” In Polish again.
“What?” He asked.
“What did you ask me the first time?” Nastasia, in English.
“May I buy you a drink?” Odin said. He leaned over to her ear.
“Yes, yes. You have to speak up. And do you speak anything else besides English?” Nastasia said.
“Swedish, German, and Afrikaans.” He said.
“Never speak to me in German. I may as well feel the same about the Dutch.” She said. “So I guess English will have to do, just like everywhere else in the world.”
“Don’t be sorry, unless you are German, but I assume you’re a Swede. And don’t be so shy. All you Vikings are the same, really loud and strong when you’re fighting or drunk, but you turn soft when you talk to women.”
Odin shook his head.
“So you are looking for some vagina for the night?” She used the word pussy. I can’t call it the p-word, because in Polish there is a p-word like the English f-word (the p-word has more uses if you can believe it).
“No”. Odin said. He shook his head waving at the bartender. He was hiding his blush. He had plenty of vagina all week.
“Yes you are. Be honest. And stop being so shy.” She said.
“I am being honest. There are plenty of girls here for just that.” He said.
“So you just want someone to talk to? I doubt that. You’re a man.” She said. “I’ll take a triple of vodka. He knows what kind. They don’t even sell Polish vodka here.”
“I don’t want to talk. But I want someone see me off when I leave.” He said.
My father came from a long line of soldiers that had been fighting for whoever wherever they could or wanted. Sweden hadn’t been involved in a war since 1814, and naturally there are some men like to use knowledge that they’ve gained, Sweden no exception. This goes for my father, his father, and his father and so on.
Some men are uncomfortable with peace.
My grandfather’s heroics were in World War II. He was always proud of helping the Finnish defend themselves against the Russians, but he never talked about fighting for the Germans. If he ever was, he never expressed it to anyone. My father didn’t think he was embarrassed at all but could never be sure.
What my father did know was that no one else talked about grandpa’s involvement in WWII because most of the family was embarrassed. Grandpa left his neutral Sweden to go fight for the Waffen SS out of Norway.
The Nazi’s cared so much about blue eyes and blond hair that they had developed foreign military sections for that specific type.
My grandfather, Gustav Ankarsvard, cared nothing for blue eyes or blond hair, but what he did care for was reviving the Viking culture of old, before Christianity. What this meant was that he denounced Christianity and took up believing in the gods and myths of old. He also took up sword fighting and boat building. He could also smelt and blacksmith in the ancient tradition and beekeeping.
Around the time of the rape of my grandma Adamczyk, the Soviet Union invaded Finland. Gustav was leaving the Swedish military at the time Hitler and his army invaded Poland. He believed that it was a perfect opportunity for him to be a real warrior, one who actually fights and dies on the battlefield.
He had taken up believing in the religion of his ancestors. So in order for him to stand in his version of Paradise, Valhalla (or Folkvagnr which some Norse revivalists have no interest in), he would have to die in battle with courage.
And he tried. He volunteered with several of his friends to help their Finnish neighbors with the Russians.
He proved his valor in what is called the Winter War. If he was proud of anything he had ever done as a soldier, it was fighting in the Winter War. Not only did he shoot some Russian soldiers, but he survived in a brutal climate, and all for a good cause.
But what was a Swedish soldier to do after that, wait for something to happen, wait for an invasion? He had tasted blood and wanted more, a feeling he’d regret later in life.
He didn’t care about any of the politics, my father had said about grandpa. “I was the same way.” My father told me on his deathbed. “He gave up any of his opinions, just to have an enemy and a war. He found it.”
He joined the Waffen SS with a bunch of his comrades from the Winter War. The Nazi’s created a special division for Scandinavians like my grandfather, the Wiking SS Division, his being the Nordland Regiment. That is all that was known about my grandfather’s involvement as a Waffen SS soldier.
My father was born the year that World War II ended. America dropped a couple atom bombs on Japan, some papers were signed, and some bandages were handed out then it was back to business as usual, making better weapons for the next war.
Odin was the only child that took to his Nordic revivalism, and he was the only one with a non-Christian name. My grandmother Ankarsvard hated it, she had my father baptized as an infant with a Christian name. She loved her heritage and history but would never give up Christ. My aunts and uncles became the same way.
I had only met them once, and I knew it would be the last time. It was my grandpa’s funeral. If it was anyone else, we wouldn’t have gone. Father wouldn’t have risked it, most of Europe wanted him arrested.
Grandma showed me no interest, and I couldn’t talk anyhow (she probably though I was retarded too). There was nothing wrong with his siblings, but my father didn’t have anything to say them. He had his reasons to not want to keep in contact with your siblings (even though they aren’t very good ones).
He felt that they treated my grandpa poorly in life. My dad was the only one that would do ancient stuff with him. The rest of them hated it. His brothers stopped helping him smelt iron ore. They said “no”, when he asked. His sisters stopped helping him harvest honey, and though they learned to knit with their mom, they did care much for that either. They hated living in the country and moved to the city as soon as they were able.
My father felt that they loved the modern times too much, and he believed that this created a void between grandpa and himself. He once said that my grandma would have divorced grandpa if she wasn’t such a devout Christian and that she wouldn’t have liked him at all if she would have known that he had fought on the side of the Germans. She didn’t find this out until after my father was born.
She forgave him, but they weren’t a cheery couple. She wasn’t a cheery person at least from what I could tell when I met her. But of course, she couldn’t understand a lick of what I said when I greeted her in Swedish.
My father did have great experiences either. “She treated me differently. I was too much like my dad for her to like me. She loved me as a son. But she did not like me. She wouldn’t call me Odin. She called me Johan. I was too much like my father and she didn’t like that. And I can’t blame her, now.” Father said once.
She loved my grandpa for (what she believed) the wrong reasons. He was handsome and charming. She felt that he was a wicked man after getting to know him, and not because he had killed people but because he did not believe in Christ and would never be forgiven until he did.
And he never did.
Odin Ankarsvard had made it just in time to go fight in the Congo Conflict. Sweden hadn’t been involved in a war since Napoleon and they had troops involved in one of the many bloody conflicts in Africa after colonialism. Though the Swedish casualties were small in comparison, there was still blood spilled. Blood spills there still.
My dad got the chance that my grandfather had to go to another country to find. He got to go fight and be a warrior. He got to taste blood, and like his dad before him, he liked it. For a while, at least.
“Then you meet a person…that changes your entire life.” My dad said, we were sailing one day. He wasn’t talking about my mother. He was talking about Sarbagya, the man that got him into mercenary work. “Then you meet another person that wants to change it back.” That was my mother.
“Do you want to go to my boat?” Odin asked Nastasia.
“Yes.” She said. “Do you have booze on your boat?”
“Yes, of course.”
That was the night I was conceived, though my father really had no intention for vagina. He really wanted someone to “see him off”. He was going off to do inhuman things and needed to do something humanlike before he left.
Then he did, and they made me. On a boat.
I was conceived and born on a boat.
Almost died and probably will die on a boat.
And most certainly my body will be ceremonially burned with a boat.