Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Bjorn folded the Gazette, and put it down on the coffee table in front of him. Seeing that it was still a little crumpled from having been in the pocket of his jacket, he gave it a few strokes with the back of his fingers. Then, looking over to his three colleagues, still waiting for Thomas, Bjorn was again struck by a sudden feeling of being lost in the world. Seemingly out of nowhere, he heard his inner voice once again ask critically of himself "why are you here?"

A sudden urge to have some time to himself gripped him, and so he rose from the sofa, excusing himself politely to his colleagues before heading to his room. Once there, he sat down in his office chair feeling strangely exhausted. He stared out of the window for a long while, letting his thoughts drift freely.

His lap top on the table in front of him remained closed, and the TV on his wall remained turned off. And the dead silence surrounding him felt soothing.

He was obviously tired from all the impressions of the day, but the recurring feeling of aimlessness was worrying. Not least because it reflected the truth. Bjorn's main motives for taking the job as a border guard were that it got him away from Oslo and that it required no special skills. He had no other reasons for being at the check point than that, and with no plans for the future he had effectively stopped thinking of his life as having any purpose or direction. This, as far as he was concerned, was the final stop of his journey.

Then, for some reason, he thought of the boy from Senegal again. His strangely positive attitude had made a strong impression on Bjorn. Clearly, the boy was convinced that circumstances would change, that things would get better. How else were he and his father able to deal with their terrible lot? And it struck Bjorn that he too had sensed an energetic excitement while down in the village. It had been quite an adventure, and the place was infected with a weird sense of optimism despite desperate conditions for most of its inhabitants.

It was the check point and his own lot that was depressing Bjorn. His sense of being aimlessly adrift had nothing to do with the village. In fact, the village was the only thing that seemed to promise something other than just an endless repetition of days with the same format and same content. Just knowing that he would soon return to the village to spend an evening out with his colleagues, going to a restaurant and probably to the casino as well, made everything seem worth while, even exiting.

While his own life was a mess and with no purpose, the village was a mystery, ready to be explored. "Who cares if life has no purpose," Bjorn thought to himself. "At least I have this village to decipher, and who knows, maybe I'll discover something significant. If nothing else, deciphering the village will be an interesting and pleasantly distracting undertaking." And with this in mind, Bjorn grabbed the casino chips he had in his pocket and spread them out on the table in front of him. "Gold backed casino chips," Bjorn thought to himself. "What a strange thing to use as money. Surely, using regular Norwegian Kroners, or US Dollars for that matter, would have been more practical."

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