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V Exclusive: Check Out This Excerpt From "Midnight And The Meaning Of Love"

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.’ ”

 

Chapter 2

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

school today.”

 

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34 black female cadets from West Point's Class of 2019 pose at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.
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