When I got home from my trip, my grandma looked different.
“Does she look different?” My mum asked me.
I couldn’t say for sure. She is very silent now though, and that is what convinced me that yes, she must look quieter too. The truth is, I don’t really know what we’re using as the ‘that’s her, that’s what she should be’ memory these days, being that she’s been ill for 10 years. During that time she has looked like about five different people, maybe more. Each Nana came and went without announcing their arrivals or departures. Her behaviour was the focal point for being so unlike her that her hollowing face and body didn’t disturb us. But I look at her now and she looks the sliver of the old her— the childhood her, the one I have the most memories with. I don’t know when it all happened, however five days spent not looking in on her have caused my eyes to feel as though they’re looking at an altered original. The obvious thought here is that things are always moving, yet it’s more obviously notable— her newer appearance, because it’s all coming to an end; that is what is meant by the way she looks.
I started reading a physical paperback on the beach, not least because it is the kind of book where the story must be read and accepted with your own voice.
If you are black and British then all the more. ‘Black and British: A Forgotten History’ by David Olusoga is the book, and it was a strange read on a sunny, populated European beach, all 10 pages of it. It opens with Olusoga’s family— his white mother and black father, his siblings, and the loss of their home as a result of the National Front, who later inscribed on the front door “NF won here.” The 10 pages ended on a founding father island of the slave trade— ‘Bunce island’, and every densely traumatic component. So far, it is a good book for feeling the history of race in a way that often evades day to day life. It is a good book to read in a European country, it is a good book to read when your race becomes enlarged by your surroundings.
And finally, my sizeable admiration for the queen, black skin and all, massively eclipses my interest in the phasing in of King Charles, or ideas of monarchy in 2022.
My inability to hate the queen may exist against my better judgement, but it is there all the same. Justly put, destiny is very important to me, as is answering the call. And, what is required of you to answer the call every day of your life by going against your own nature? More than what a lot of us are willing to spare. I admire her for simple reasons. The capacity to be objective (likely to a fault) allows me to enjoy people, and I should say I find it easy to look at people fully; and to do that, I must do it without shying away on account of who I am and what I should and do feel. Rewatching ‘The Crown’ has helped.