Cross your heart? 1974

My biggest secret? No. I ain’t telling. If I tell, it’s not a secret anymore. No. No, I can’t. Stop asking or else I’m going to go. My second biggest? You promise you won’t tell? Promise? Cross your heart and hope to die? Well, you know mummy’s got a baby? She used to breastfeed her. Wendy and me were allowed to watch but Derek wasn’t. I think he wanted to but he was never allowed to. Daddy watched sometimes, but Derek never. He always had to leave the room. He’s a boy. It looked funny. Not last night but the night before when daddy started night shift… she’s glad to see the back of him cos he keeps getting on her nerves and they don’t talk to each other half the time… she had Kim and then she put her down and called Wendy and me. You promise you won’t tell? She told us… she told us to suck it but we didn’t want to… she pulled us and made us, but before, Derek had to go out of the room. It was a horrible feeling. Like a dried raisin. It must be horrible being a baby. Then she told us never, never to tell anyone and when I went to bed with Wendy, we were afraid to talk… and I felt really lonely.

 

(from Long Time Walk on Water)

‘Read everything and anything by Joan Barbara Simon. I promise you will be rewarded. I was’  (Anthony Howarth, Oscar nominee)

‘Weaves love, self-discovery, race, class politics, immigration, and the British postcolonial imaginations into a beautiful tour de force. A moving account of black sojourners’ day-to-day in a new alien land as they tumble forward for a better life and belonging.’ (Amazon)

 

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