The opening chapters in my novel and an introduction to the characters.
Ade arrived in Manchester when she was 17, in 1945 with James, who she had met in her father’s compound in Nigeria. James was the white man who sometimes drove her father to his work with the foreign office. Ade was a willful child and at age 15 decided that she would marry James. Meanwhile her father began holding meetings against the colonialists within his compound and Ade, along with her cousin, Funmi, started to listen in to what was being said. Move forward to Manchester, 1945, and the 5th Pan African Conference as Ade finds her feet in a new city.
Elizabeth isn’t sure where she belongs. She has been brought up with stories from her mother ranging from politics to magic and all things in between. She spent a lot of time wandering around the house when she was younger making up her own stories. Her friend Dia becomes involved in the black British feminist movement in the 70s and renounces men. Elizabeth wants to go along with her but resists because she is still very much caught up in her identity issues and struggles to control her OCD.
Kutes is Elizabeth’s daughter and thinks that her mum and nan are mad. She has her own pressing issues and can’t be bothered to cater to her mum’s neuroses or her nan’s forgetfulness. Kutes is Mancunian born and bred and has no issues with who she is and where she belongs. But when her friend Wahida is about to be deported she helps to organise a fundraiser.
I am precisely where I should be; half way round the lake at Chorlton Water Park. It’s what I do on Monday afternoons. I finish work at two-thirty; have a late lunch in my car and then walk. I look at the trees, even when they’re bare like today. I listen to the birds, sit on this bench and watch the ducks. Sometimes there’s a heron. It stands on the left side of the lake. It isn’t here today. I can hear a magpie behind me, but if I don’t turn around I won’t see it and it won’t be bad luck.
jeez me mum never stops moan moan moan she needs to get a grip at least I rang her whats her problem anyways bout hope im gonna get changed whats wrong wiv these jeans an I have to wear me vest top cos ive gotta put me work tshirt on over it an there aint no way that skanky tops touchin me skin its gross
So, my husband has gone. Before I lifted the telephone to my ear and before Funmi greeted me I sensed that something had happened. I do not know how many hours I have been sitting in this chair but my body is stiff. My room looks strange to me as though I have just entered somewhere I do not know. Peter is dead. He is gone. If it had not been for that man, Sha! But what am I saying? Did he force me to come to this place?