My friend Ebbe was a dentist. One Sunday he phoned.
“I picked this guy up the other day,” he said. “He had just come out of Vestre prison and had nowhere to stay, so I let him stay here. He asked me if I would fix his friend’s teeth, and they are coming today, and now I am a little nervous about being alone with them in the apartment, for I have quite some gold in the clinic. You know, I don’t really think they will do anything, but if you could come and be here I would feel better.”
“Sure, I can come. I’ll dress in my leather jacket and look tough, and I’ll be there in half an hour.”
In no time I was on my bicycle, but when I arrived at Ebbe’s apartment the guy, Ole, was already there. He was standing in the clinic looking out the window, and when I came in to say hello he turned around. He was about my height with pale translucent skin and a red mouth. His nose had been broken, but what caught me were his eyes: rich light brown irises in porcelain white, accentuated by dark surroundings and finely drawn arched eyebrows. Their expression was innocent with a dog-like sadness. He took my hand and smiled and I totally forgot to look tough! There was radiance about him.
His friend arrived, and while Ebbe worked on his teeth Ole and I talked. He told me what I already knew, that he had been in prison, but he told more about his life: his father was a criminal, his mother dead; he had lived in foster homes and had been a junky and a male prostitute. I asked him if he still would go to bed with a man, and he said: “Yes, if it was a really good friend.” Then and there I decided to become his good friend.
When the teeth were done, we all had tea together, and Ole said that he had nowhere to stay. I was leaving for Paris in two days, so I said he could stay at my place for two weeks while I was away. His friend gasped: “Oh, no!” That was disconcerting, but I had said it. It was too late to retract. We agreed that Ole should come the next day, and I would show him the ropes.
When I came back from Paris Ole was not there.
My room was in a state. Have you ever seen a junkie’s den? The dirty bedclothes were all over the floor with blood stains, glasses with white residue, sooted spoons and candle drippings, plates with old dry bits of food, ashes, and cigarette butts, - and everything of value gone: art books, records, and my best clothes.
I had hardly time to react to the sight when the phone rang. It was Ole!
“How does your room look?” he asked.
“Pretty bad!” I said.
“I was at the hospital for detoxification this last week, my friends must have gotten in. They must have found the key. Can I come and help you?”
“Yes, you can come.”
So, there he was again, and together we got the room back in shape. I wasn’t sure if he was telling the truth, but it didn’t matter.
I met him from time to time at Ebbe’s apartment. About a month later he came to me. He was caught up in drugs again and wanted me to help him get off. He had a bottle of opium tincture, and we measured it up in diminishing doses to withdraw over a period, and he moved in. We slept together; we talked for hours in bed, and then we curled up and slept. I wanted to help him, and I felt that I could only do it if I didn’t become his lover; otherwise, I felt, I would completely lose control. We played music together and went on wild excursions in nature, often in the middle of the night. The good moments were out of this world - but it was a roller coaster.
Ole was like a destroying angel. Did the spirit of the herb call him forth? He came shortly after I began to smoke for real. He initiated the process of the dissolution of my straight life. As I was caught in these rapids, all I could do was trying to keep afloat.
We were on a bus, going north out of Copenhagen, on our way to some adventure in the wild.
“It is good,” he says, “that when there are people like me, there are people like you!”
In the crowded bus he gave me this declaration of love.
He had to veil his bisexual feelings. He came home one day and told me that his friends had forced him to have my name tattooed on his shoulder. Now he wanted me to have his name on my shoulder. Tattoos were not at all fashionable at that time, but of course I agreed.
He always created a private sphere wherever we were. When I visited him in the mental hospital, where he always managed to be placed when his criminal activities caught up with him, we sat in a corner of the ward, on the floor behind his bed, and smoked weed, and the world outside this corner was void of existence. He was full of stories that opened up for sides of life I wasn’t too familiar with. I can still recall the feeling of harmonious excitement that the best moments with him generated.
Ole Strøygård, Jens Nordsø and Ole preparing ‘Sommerudstillingen’
What had seemed impossible did happen. Ole came clean of the hard stuff and lived like so many other hippies with the hallucinogens alone. At this time, he lived in a small apartment on Christianshavn (an old part of town where the free state of Christiania was later established on the former military installations with their walls and moats).
One time a gay friend of Ole’s was there.
“Let us all go out to your place and go to bed,” Ole said.
It was the only time we had sex. I think he could not give himself to me without giving to another at the same time. Of course he knew how we both wanted him, and even in that situation he made us both feel as if we had been alone with him. There is surely a balance between quantity and quality of sex and if I have not had as much as I desired, the best was always a perfect spiritual experience.
When I returned from Sidi Ali I moved in with Ole Strøjgård and his girlfriend Vera who were living in the countryside north of Copenhagen. Here the winter passed quietly while I nursed my health back. For several months all I could eat was plain oats or rice. I was thinking of building a cabin on their land and made preliminary plans.
Then something happened that broke the spell.
I invited Ole for a visit. As soon as he arrived it was clear that Vera disliked him and there was a palpable tension in the house. I, being the one in between, felt it the most. When we had bedded down that night, Ole was on a mattress on the floor next to my bed. I was laying on my back, stiff as a board, and unable to sleep. Then, suddenly, I thought: “What does it matter? He is my friend and I don’t care what anybody feels about it.” The stiffness went out of my body and a warm relaxed mood invaded me. At that very moment I heard a little chuckle from Ole and I realized that he knew what was in my mind, that maybe he was the one who had dissolved the tension.
After that weekend, the harmony in the house was gone and I decided to move. I saw Ole in his room in town and again the same thing happened: I was tense and he relieved me wordlessly of the tension and let me know with a little chuckle that he was aware of my states of mind. He was planning to go to India and asked me if I would come. After my recent experiences in Sidi Ali I was scared of going out in the world, not the least with this wild boy as my companion. I said I would think about it, but when finally I got my courage up, he was gone. That was the last time I saw him.
I heard from him. At first he was high and lived as a sadhu, but then he got into junk again and died alone in Karachi two years later.