Extract from Amina’s narrative

A Melting Pot

I kick the brown leaves from my path. I’ve never really liked autumn. It’s an in between. In summer you’re free in the warmth of the sun and in winter you’re cosy by the fire or making a snowman.

In autumn you’re pretending. You’re smiling and dressing like it’s still summer, but it’s getting colder. The hairs are standing up on your arms now, whether you and your t-shirt would like to admit it or not. Winter is coming and you know it.


It’s been six days since it happened.

Nothing so unrelated to me has ever changed my life so much. I didn’t fly that plane into that tower. Neither did Poppa. But it’s like we did. We didn’t know the men who did it. We didn’t know the men’s families or where they were from. But it’s like we did.

I hate those men with all my heart. When they were going down with those planes, they didn’t think of me, they didn’t think of Poppa, they didn’t think of anyone but themselves.


I’m at the school gates. People walk past. Nothing is different. Everyone has the same rucksacks, the same classes, the same friends.

But then, everything is different, isn’t it?

I stop for a second and realise everybody seems to be walking slowly. It’s like nobody is ready to admit what has happened and resume real life.


Poppa said people might be funny with me today. He worries a lot about the fact that we look different from most of the other people that live near us.

Chicago is meant to be a place where people from all walks of life are accepted.

A melting pot, Uncle Abdul had called it before we moved.

We heard ‘Chicago’ and immediately thought of Lake Michigan, delicious pizza and snowy walkways. So Poppa accepted the job offer.

What we didn’t realise was that Poppa’s job was situated in a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Chicago. Our neighbourhood isn’t much of a melting pot. An American flag ripples proudly outside everybody’s home and I hardly ever see anyone else that looks like us.

The pizza isn’t even very nice here.