A nightly encounter

1 Jan

It´s New Years Eve, a half hour past midnight.

As I prepare to leave the intersection, I spot her – a tall, dark skinned woman with two small children. Never seen her before, she signals to me. I lower the window, light drizzle comes in as she gives me a key with an address on it. Can I help her get there? It´s in town, so she has overshot her tube stop by 30 minutes. Strange.

I help her and the kids get in the car, out of the cold, while I make up my mind – will there be a return tube shortly? The two girls, aged about 2 and 4, seem scared, and small wonder, the mother says they only got here a few weeks ago. They are dressed warmly, though. I am headed towards town in any case, so I quickly decide to drive them there. That is what the mother expects, too, that much is clear. God has sent me, and she invokes his blessing on me. I accept it. Good English.

We drive off in the climate-change-drizzle. No minus ten and shiny snow this year.

She has the deep dark skin of South of Sahara and tells me she is Catholic. In her mid twenties she has two daughters and a husband who´s been in Norway for some years. It is clear God will decided the final number of children, though she tells me it is expensive to raise children in Norway. I concur. I suggest that family planning is common in many Catholic countries. God has planned it all, she says. I say there is no God.

I ponder telling her not to circumcise her daughters.

She´s constantly on the phone to her sister and husband. She is worried, that much I can tell. I can see the husband´s name on the phone display. A large Android of some type. He does not reply, or the line keeps dropping.

We pull up at the apartment in central Oslo East. Rented, no doubt. He is standing there, tall, dark, angry, with a cold, limp handshake and full lips. Could he be an ex-soldier? He is frustrated, but also aloof, not connecting with what I tell him.

I explain how I found her, that there are no taxis where I live, that I expect no payment. I tell him to take good care of her, she is scared, everything is new and strange to her. Why didn´t she get off at the right stop, she knows the place! I tell him God sent me and that he has two lovely daughters. All the while the mother is standing behind us, facing away from us. They have not exchanged a single word. The girls are fast asleep in the backseat. I gently prise them from the seatbelts, hand them over to him and to their fate.

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