Saturday, July 23, 2011

Oslo 22/7

Yesterday, in our apartment on Grünerløkka, I felt the blast. I walked to the window, thinking it was the mother of all thunderclaps. No rain. And then the sirens.

My Pan's office is 30 meters away from the blast. His window is gone, the facade is warped and broken. The whole building is burnt out. If it were a regular Friday, he would have been there, because he never goes home early. But it wasn't a regular Friday. It was in the middle of the general vacation, and my Pan was hiking in the mountains. When he came home last night, I felt ugly alternate realities peel away right there. He's safe. Some of his colleagues were not so lucky.

My brother in law works in an independent record store only two blocks away from the blast. He was bending down to pick up something, right underneath the big windows, when the bomb went off. For some reason the windows didn't shatter, they just rattled around in their frames, even though windows broke everywhere along that street. He didn't get cut by glass. His co-worker was not so lucky.

My friend was on his way home yesterday afternoon. He contemplated going into a supermarket to pick up a couple of things, but decided that it could wait. How many minutes did that save him? Four? Five? Six? He crossed Einar Gerhardsens plass. Five minutes later it blew up. That woman with the ponytail on Dagsavisen's cover today was not so lucky.

I didn't know anyone on that island. I can't bear to think about that island. If I close my laptop and turn off the tv, I can attempt to shut it out, now that there are no more helicopters rushing to the hospital . So many - so many - are not so lucky.

Today I'm sitting here, shivering in all my luck, and all those parents, brothers, sisters, girlfriends, boyfriends, lovers, family, and friends rim every thought. I feel that I should do something. That I should help in some way. But my bloodtype is not the desired one. So instead I take my child to the park, and I'm not afraid. We have ice cream. I meet the eyes of strangers, to see if they, too, are tearing up.

I won't go into politics and tolerance and the press coverage here, though there is much to be said. Øystein Runde's post (in English) is a start.


Connie Onnie said...

I am so glad to hear you and your family are safe.

Catherine Denton said...

Oh Tone, I'm thankful that your husband and brother-in-law are safe but so sad about the many losses.

Li:ne said...


bronwyn said...

So glad that you and yours are safe. How terrifying and so very sad. I can't stand to think about those poor children.

Heidi said...

I only know about three words in Norwegian, but they are appropriate here. Jeg elsker deg. My thoughts are with you and your beautiful country.


AudryT said...

Your experience mirrors my own with 9/11 in America. My father had a weekly meeting at the Pentagon, but it was canceled by chance on 9/11. My Mother-in-Law had been planning to take a friend to the World Trade Center that day, but had decided on a different day by chance. And my husband and myself were booked on the plane flight that crashed into the Pentagon, but we had to cancel our trip because my husband was ill. By chance. Everyone I knew was safe once 9/11 was over, but only by the thinnest thread. There is relief, but there is also sorrow that so many others did not have the same fortune that I did.