It was already morning, even if it was still dark outside. I had been driving my cab since 4:30 the previous afternoon, and it was now almost 7am.
I had just taken a strongly perfumed woman of Moroccan descent to her home in the northwestern part of Copenhagen and it was high time to call it a night.
But on my way back to Vesterbro and the garage, I was flagged by a young woman on Tagensvej.
“What the hell,” I thought as I felt like I had been sent something from heaven. “What is one more or less!” But I swear it wasn’t until she got in and sat next to me in the passenger seat that my curiosity was really aroused in earnest.
She had big blonde hair tied in a huge black clasp, feathery white flimsy something or other covering her torso, black net-stockings and high heels to boot. The very moment she turned to face me and gave me the address, I noticed the tiny ring in her nose and thought: “God she’s pretty!”
Hippy colony name
Automatically I gave her the line about not knowing the street and how I’d just started driving a cab after a 21-year break. “I’ll direct you to it,” she said, before asking: “What have you been doing all that time?”
“Been writing novels!” I said. This bit of info made her turn her head and look at me again. “Really,” she said. “Have you written anything that people have heard of?”
I gave her a couple of titles and she exclaimed: “God, my high-school teacher was a bit of a hippy and he had us read a part of your ‘Chop Suey’. I remember that. Is that really you?”
Highlight of the night
I confessed that I was really me and regretted we had already reached our destination. “Now that you know my name,” I said. “Perhaps you’ll tell me yours?”
“Mathilde,” she said as she handed me a 200 kroner bill. “You know, I’m really glad I flagged you. These few minutes have been the best of the whole New Year’s Eve for me. I’ll google you first thing tomorrow. You weren’t going to take any more customers, but still you stopped for me! Uhh, I work as a volunteer at the Men’s Home on Istedgade. Maybe we’ll meet again on the street some day. I would like to.”
I handed her two 20 kroner coins and watched as she walked up to a small gate in her high heels and let herself in.
Turning off the meter and getting ready to depart, my eyes fell on the black clasp on the seat beside me. How on earth it fallen out of her hair and onto the seat was a mystery to me. However, it was too late to do anything about it, so I drove off.
Two more desperate customers and three quarters of an hour later I left the cab behind and staggered home. With my fingers I felt the clasp in my coatpocket. Weak light was beginning to seep from outer space onto the streets of Vesterbro. The first day of the new year was definitely breaking.