Good conversation comes in waves with Yessin, cresting somewhere between the personal and political. I bring up immigration. “Fuck Norway” is his response, and he has three reasons, carefully prepared.
The first, he says, is for “not giving a shit” about the refugees. One side of Norway is completely White, he says, while the other corrals immigrants into slums to starve.
The second is for the White Norwegians. His parents are from Morocco, but people still treat him like an immigrant; they profile him, he tells me, even though he’s lived here for 22 years. He’s relieved I’m not a Norwegian girl, because they always hound him for MDMA or cocaine, thinking he’s a plug. He doesn’t do drugs.
He buys me another drink and tells me he came here to help his poor friend get some “fishes.” Fish in the sea, ladies, I assume. He holds my hand and we go outside, where I smoke my first cigarette. He points down the street at his apartment.
Another guy walks up to us and says something in Spanish. Yessin laughs.
“He said, ‘Do you have weed?’” he explains to me. He didn’t. But the two joke together. People of color here, Yessin tells me, stick together. I laugh with them. I tell Yessin I know a little Spanish.
“Eres [something] perfecto.” He says to me. I blush.
He asks who I’m with, and I tell him I’m with friends – the crazy Americans on the dance floor. Claire and Seth and Zack, one by one, come by to check on us. Yessin assures them he will treat me “like a queen.” I give them the thumbs up. They know what that means by now.
We leave, holding hands, and he takes me to a nearby kabob place. The Pakistanis were the first to come here, he says. A lot of them run shops like these in the city.
We get to his place, a spacious one-bedroom overlooking central Oslow. I pour a vodka Sprite and sit in his lap. He shows me his shoe collection. 1500 kr. per pair.
Reason number three: “Everything is so fucking expensive.”
I tell him that in America, it’s the opposite. We treat our workers like shit so we can lower prices. He asks me why Americans come here. I’m a little confused, but I tell him what’s been on my mind lately.
I stop drifting. We both stop drifting. And the night commences.