Summary: Chapter 7
Saeed and Nadia emerge in an elaborate bedroom in a beautiful mansion. As they look out the window, they realize that they’re on a city block filled with white houses and cherry trees. The house appears deserted. Saeed and Nadia boil one of their own potatoes in the kitchen because they don’t want to steal. The TV tells them they’re in London. Soon the house fills up with people from around the world. Saeed and Nadia pick a bedroom on the second floor and claim it for their own. It has a balcony from which they could jump to the garden if they needed to escape. They know they might be forced to leave, so they don't unpack. Saeed takes out the photo of his parents and places it on a shelf to make the room seem more like home.
Nadia goes to the bathroom and showers while Saeed stands guard. The hot water and soft towels feel so luxurious that she can’t put her dirty clothes back on. She washes them in the sink. Saeed knocks on the door and reminds her that this isn’t their house. She insists that she has to wash her clothes, and Saeed relents. Nadia realizes that if he hadn’t agreed, she would have fought to wash her clothes anyway because she needed to remember she was human. When she emerges from the bathroom, he tells her she can’t stand around in a towel. She retorts that he can’t tell her what to do. After Saeed returns from the bathroom, the two fall asleep without touching.
The housekeeper of the mansion screams when she comes to work and sees it occupied by migrants. The unoccupied mansions of the wealthy neighborhoods between Westminster and Hammersmith become full of refugees. A British accountant has been considering suicide when he discovers a magic door in his room. At first, he arms himself with a hockey stick and considers calling the police but then decides it doesn’t matter. The door reminds him of children’s books, and he decides to go through it. He later sends a message to his daughter and best friend letting them know that he is in Namibia and will not be returning.
Nadia enjoys living in the house because it reminds her of a university dorm. Saeed doesn’t feel safe around the other refugees and also feels guilty about staying in someone else’s home. When Saeed tries to stop the others from looting the house, Nadia calls him an idiot because she’s worried he’s putting himself in danger. Saeed worries about the unkindness in her voice. Nadia wonders how to end the tension between them.
The house soon runs out of food, and the residents must forage and barter. When Saeed and Nadia return home from foraging, a nativist mob attacks. That night, bruised and battered, they have a difficult time finding space in their bed without hurting each other. They turn face to face and gently touch each other’s bruises. They don’t fight.
The British government formulates a plan to get the refugees out. However, British volunteers also bring food and medicine to the camps. Saeed and Nadia promise to be kinder to each other. Saeed asks Nadia what her dream life would look like. They know other cities probably have similar nativist backlashes like London, so there’s nowhere to run to. They recognize the escalating tension disguised with calm.
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