Since my mother has entered her eightieth year she has taken to more frequently reminding me of my dream to build a small place out in Guyana. As she mentally tidies up the business of her life, her anxiety grows: not for the moment when I will have to do the same type of reckoning, but more for my continued safety in this white land. 'It might not be the same here always' she says to me, as if her caretaking days soon to be over can no longer ensure the protection a white Welsh mother gave to her five black daughters. Somehow my mother's sentiments don't usher in any alarm but they do capture some of the uncertainties of my second generation status - the sense of an invitation made to the parent generation that could be miserably withdrawn, that fine line between the beckon and the wave. The 'Why don't you go back to your own country?' question that was so oppressive and ugly in my childhood became for myself 'Well, why don't I?'.



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