So here’s some of them – the people I’ve created and spent nearly two years with. They’ve shaped my story, and determined how it will end. See more of them and their world in my novel, Chez Moi (working title) due to come out June 2018.
Salma watched Omar fasten the chain around their baby boy’s tiny wrist. He had been with them for an anxious three months, although Salma had lost two of them. The labour had lasted days, and the bleeding took a long time to stop. She was still bed-ridden, and too weak to stand. She raised her head off the pillow and looked at the bright sky. It could have been home, but the voices on the street below were not speaking a language she knew, and there were no smells of her mum’s tagine. She collapsed back down and put her hand on her empty chest. Omar leant over her, their baby in his arms.
“You are missing her, aren’t you? But look my love: your family is right here.”
Salma could not look. She just reached up and touched the bracelet, shimmering in the Mediterranean sun, set in a sapphire sky.
Ann set the last box down and straightened up, hands on her hips. It was really happening now; her long-hoped for dream was right here. She glanced over at the white canvas, already propped up, waiting to be filled. A baby cried in the room above, and she heard the sound of a man hushing it. She hoped that wouldn’t turn into a problem. Silence was important to her now, after all those years of responding to every call, day and night. Those times were done. They were both gone and no-one needed her any more. Especially not him.
Alberto sat at the end of his dying wife’s bed, and gripped her hand, willing her to live. His two daughters were asleep in chairs nearby and he kept watch alone. They said it was a matter of days, or even hours. He looked at her troubled face, and knew this was the end. And then what? He called softly to rouse the girls to watch his precious Mya make her final journey. The door to nothing slammed in his face as he leant back, empty.
Francois stood with a smile fixed on his face and watched his Nationalist dad standing on a podium, embracing his wife in front of an air-punching crowd. He hadn’t told them he’d enrolled in the university to do music, not the politics they had tried to push him towards. He also hadn’t told them that his political beliefs were the polar opposite to theirs. Nice did not need more segregation, it needed to celebrate its diversity. But there was no way he was going to share that either.