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Chapter One

 Roxanne has always been attracted to white men. There, she admits it. Maybe it came from watching all those movies and television shows when she was younger, where the good-looking men were always white. But, she does remember being fascinated with the show Fame and thinking Leroy was very sexy. And she does think black men are sexy. But, there’s something about them she has never been able to achieve, and that’s love. Life is hard for black men. And life for black women is even harder. She has never been able to find a black man who compared to her father. That’s why she always fell for the white ones.

Although life is hard for Roxanne, it took a long time for her to recognize her beauty and power as a black woman. She realized it in a small way through various women in her life; first her mother, who she held the family together through all the tough times. Then, there was her first Barbie doll, Christie.

Roxanne was about seven years old and really wanted this green bike from PlayTime Toy store in Don Mills, Ontario. It was one of those banana seat bikes with the large handles. This made it easier for double-riding. Her father finally gave her the money to buy the bicycle, and she went to the toy store with her mother to pick up the bike. Then, she saw Christie…the first black Barbie doll she’d ever seen. She was a “Kissing Barbie” with long curly black hair and wearing a pretty delicately patterned pink dress. Roxanne wanted her instead of the bike, so she used the money her father gave her to buy Christie instead.

When she got home her father found out she had bought a Barbie doll instead of the bike, he hit Roxanne so hard on her bottom that the blow left red welts on her brown butt. He later came to apologize, which she eventually came to accept.

After her parents separated when she was eight years old, there was a lengthy court battle over custody. Her father wanted custody of all the children in the family. But, his secret of being a highly functional alcoholic was revealed in court. Her mother tells Roxanne he stood up in court and defended himself and told the judge that in Africa, his children were his property, and they should be in his custody. The judge told him, well, we are not in Africa, and custody is granted to the mother. Roxanne had mixed feelings. She ended up spending all her weekends visiting her father with her brother and sister.

It was her father’s new house in downtown Toronto where Roxanne met Plum. She escaped the transitional pains of her father learning to live on his own, and meals of boiled chicken and tasteless rice, by hanging out at Plum’s place. Roxanne and Plum would play with her white boy Barbie dolls until playing with them weren’t enough for her. She had to steal them (which now that the story is out, she would like to apologize to Plum). She stole a dark-haired, light-eyed one who she named Todd. Todd and Christie had the kind of love affair Roxanne now had with her husband, who is also dark-haired and light-eyed.

Really it was only her sister who knew about the romance Roxanne had created between Christie and Todd. Sadia would play with Roxanne sometimes. Sometimes Roxanne would play with Sadia too. Now, this is the story of how her playtime became real time.