Midnight and the Meaning of Love is currently available wherever books are sold but Sister Souljah provided a sneak peak that will hopefully hold you over until you get your copy.
Midnight and the Meaning of Love, by Sister Souljah
Much later that same Sunday night, family day for us, my Umma
placed a purple candle in a maroon dish and onto her bedroom floor.
She struck a black-tipped match and it blazed up blue. The subtle
scent of lavender released into her air. There in the darkness, I sat on
her floor, leaning against the wall, and listened to her melodic African
voice in the expressive Arabic language, as she told me for the first
time ever the story, or should I say saga, of my father’s fight to take
her as his first bride, true love, and true heart. I knew then that the
darkness in her room was intentional. She wanted to shield the sea of
her emotions since there was no love more intense than the mutual
love between her and my father. She also wanted to subdue my fury.
She wanted me to concentrate instead on the red and then orange
and then blue flame and listen intently for the meaning of her words
and the moral of her story so that I would know why I must not fail
to bring Akemi back home and why I had to seize victory, the same
as my father did.
Monday, May 5th, 1986
At daybreak, when the moon became the sun, Umma’s story was
completed. She lay gently on the floor still dressed in her fuschia
thobe. Her hair spread across her arm as she slipped into sleep. Our
lives and even our day were both upside down now. I lifted her and
placed her onto her bed. I put out the flame that danced on the plate
in the middle of mostly melted wax.
Umma was supposed to be preparing for work, but her most important
job, which took all night, was finally finished. She wanted to
transfer my father’s strength and intelligence and brave heart to me,
her son. She wanted me to know that I must not be halted by my deep
love for her, my mother. She had told me, “You have guarded my life
and built our family business. I love you more than you could ever
imagine. In my prayers, I thank Allah every day for creating your soul
and giving you life. I thank Allah for choosing to send you through
my body. But now, ‘You must follow the trail of your seed.’ ”
So in Love
Naja overslept. When I went into her room to wake her for school I
found her sleeping in her same clothes from yesterday and clutching
a doll. The scene was strange. At night she usually wore her pajamas
and her robe and woke up wearing them as well. She didn’t play
with dolls, wasn’t the type, was more into puzzles and pets. As I approached
her bed, I saw the doll had the same hair as my wife, long,
black, and thick. That hair is real, I thought to myself, and reached for
the doll. I maneuvered it out of Naja’s hands and flipped it around.
It was a tan-skinned doll with Japanese eyes drawn on with a heavy
permanent black Sharpie marker. The material was sewn and held
together with a rough and amateurish stitch.
Naja woke up and said with a sleepy slur and stutter, “I finally
made something by myself.” She turned sideways in her bed, propping
her head up with her hand, and said now with confidence, “It’s
Akemi. Can’t you tell?”
I smiled the way a man with troubles on his mind might smile to
protect a child’s innocent view of the world. I could’ve easily got tight
with my little sister because she had gone into my room and removed
the ponytail of hair that Akemi had chopped off of her own head one
day in frustration with her Japanese family.
“It looks like her. You did a good job,” I told Naja.
“Do you really think it looks like your wife or are you just saying
that to be nice?” Naja asked.
“I’m saying it to be nice. Now get up, you’re running late for