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A Moment of Silence

Midnight III



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About The Book

In this electrifying novel, New York Times bestselling author and “an important voice in American literature” (Jada Pinkett Smith) Sister Souljah returns to the story of her beloved character, Midnight.

Handsome, young, Muslim, and married to two women living in one house along with his mother, Umma, and sister, Naja: can Midnight manage all that he has on his plate? He is surrounded by Americans who don’t share or understand his faith or culture, and adults who are offended by his maturity, intelligence, and his natural ability to make his hard work turn into real money. He is calm, confident, and cool, Ninja-trained and powerful, but one moment of rage throws this Brooklyn youth into a dark world of dirty police, gangs, guns, drugs, prisons, and dangerous inmates. Everything he ever believed, every dollar he ever earned, and all of the women he ever loved—including his mother—are at risk.

Will his manhood be taken, broken, or altered? Can he maintain his faith? Outnumbered, overruled, and deeply envied—how can he possibly survive? Will the streets convert him? What can he keep? What must he lose?


A Moment of Silence 1. MY SECOND WIFE
She is closer to me than my shadow. She’s as precious as the sky. In my almost empty Brooklyn apartment, my second wife, Chiasa, aimed and then fired sharpened knives into the corked wall. I had taken everything out of this place, but the cork seemed permanent to my project bedroom. It had served as my target practice for seven years and unlike me and my family, it did not want to leave.

“Go stand over there for me,” she said sweetly. As she locked her silver-gray eyes into mine, I looked at her and said nothing. My smile broke out naturally. “Don’t smile at me,” she said with a straight face. “Every time it’s time for us to fight you flash that smile.”

She must not have figured out that she brought that smile out of me, and so much more. It was because of my love for her that I held onto the keys to this place, where I wouldn’t even allow my mother, Umma; my first wife, Akemi; or my sister, Naja to ever again step foot.

I walked to the corked wall like she wanted. I leaned back, my hands in my Girbaud jean pockets. She narrowed her eyes and hurled a knife at me. It cut through the still stale air that was typical in the projects and sliced through my fitted. I didn’t flinch. She saw that, and inside of seven seconds she outlined my head and shoulders with eight knives rapidly fired by her quick and accurate combination of eyes and fingers.

“You going to kill me, with my own knives?” I asked her. She walked towards me slowly until only noses separated her and me. She pulled each knife down from the cork.

“Now you do me,” she said, handing me the knives. Her breasts pressed against my chest, and her unusually long lashes brushed against mine. The last thing on my mind was taking aim at her with a weapon, and she knew it.

Chiasa, my second wife, is a badass, a flawless-skinned, pretty-faced, thick-haired, doe-eyed, ballerina-bodied, ninjutsu-trained warrior. Pretty and precise, she is disciplined to the extreme, same as me. Yet, she is the only one alive who could move me off point, cause me to temporarily lose my balance and have to check myself. The unusual combination of her deep fiery soul, her soft-spoken manner, her sharp mind, her vibrant energy and exquisite body, topped off by the intensity of her loyalty, moved me continuously and I couldn’t keep off of her.

It had gotten to the point where she sometimes had me questioning things and matters I had never questioned myself about before. Boldly, she had become a Muslim woman at age sixteen. She accepted Islam on her own, without me asking her to do it or having to recite her any truths from the Holy Quran. She reads the Quran for herself, loves each sura she studies and each ayat she learns. She uses every word in the book to challenge herself to become more beautiful in her wisdom and her deeds. For her to love the faith like any Muslim born on Islamic land and raised with the Muslim example and lifestyle surrounding her made her irresistible to me.

When anyone in her family tried to reverse Chiasa’s mind, she would politely and calmly reveal her angles of thought and her contentment. Once, one of her aunts said in front of her whole family, “A Muslim man can only have more than one wife if he can treat them all equally. No man can treat two, three, four women equally, so that means he can really only have one wife. You’re supposed to be smart enough to figure it out. It’s like a riddle,” her aunt said.

Chiasa answered softly, correcting her aunt’s interpretation . . . “Treat us each ‘fairly.’ No woman wants to be treated ‘equal’ to another, because we are each different. We each enjoy our man in our own way. We each have our own thoughts, likes, dislikes, and hobbies. I don’t want my husband to do the exact ‘equal’ thing he does with his first wife with me; or to give me the exact ‘equal’ gifts he gave her. Why would I want that? I just want him to love me how I, Chiasa, want to be loved. Us sharing the things that are unique to what we feel when we are together. I want us to enjoy and make each other feel good, because we believe the same things. I want us to learn, earn, and fight together, to be safe, secure, and happy. This is more than enough for me.”

Those words she spoke shut her one aunt up for some time. And, I know she meant it. When we first settled into our new home in Queens, the house that Umma and I purchased with the money that we both earned through our company, Umma Designs, Chiasa chose the smallest bedroom for herself. She set her bedding on the floor, the way she was most comfortable. She lined up her books, mounted her swords, folded her clothes, set up her oils, potions, and creams, brushes, hairpins, and combs, and told me, “You are definitely welcome. Come whenever you want to see me. You know I’m from a military family. I am an expert at waiting.”

Her words put me at ease. I was always one hundred that I could protect and provide for and love her. I never wavered on that. But she made me certain that although we have a teenage marriage and she is my second wife, who left behind her parents, her country, and her action-packed life of excitement, she had no regrets and that I made her happy. It felt good that even over time she had zero doubt.

Now she was touching my nine-millimeter. I had laid it on the kitchen counter away from both of us, and towards the wall. We were in my Brooklyn ’hood, my old apartment. So of course I kept it close. Her clear-polished, clipped, and curved nails and pretty fingers on the black steel aroused me. But the way she held it revealed she didn’t have no experience with the piece. Chiasa is a bow-and-arrow kind of girl, not to be taken lightly. She could fire something into you, to rock you into a temporary sleep or send you all the way to heaven. Perfect vision, when she fires, she met her mark whether it was your brain, your heart, or your family jewels. And she wasn’t above poisoning her arrow tip before positioning it just right in her target’s jugular. Her target would be coughing up blood, his own veins exploding then choking him.

“How come you prefer guns?” she asked me, playfully. But I could tell she really wanted to know. She wanted to know and feel everything about me. And her inquiries were always subtle and sweet. The way she went about it would have me so open, I’d be telling her something I never shared with no one else. She mixed her curiosity and intellect with her seductions, and it was a powerful potion. I knew what she was really asking me, because I know her and her mind. She was thinking, to a ninjutsu warrior, a gun is a weakness, a type of excuse not to use your hands and mind to the furthest degree, to confront any enemy and solve the problem . . . any problem.

“The gun is the bottom line,” I told her. “The Japanese don’t need them.” Japan is the country that my second wife is from. She’s African and Japanese, an exotic combination. I plucked her from a pretty place, a popular park in Tokyo that was filled with green fields, flowers, and an alluring forest. In that forest there was only one house. Chiasa lived there with only her grandfather, the park ranger.

“There’s peace in your neighborhood and in your country,” I told her. “Brooklyn brings the noise. Over here there’s certain times and situations where even the swiftest mind and hands move too slow.”

“This block is not so bad looking. I like all the art on the bricks,” she said, referring to the ’hood graffiti. “And it’s kind of cool how they’re setting up for that block party outside today. The music is loud but it sounds nice, and the people seem like they could become our friends,” she said cheerfully. “I bet if you didn’t suspect them,” she said softly, “and trusted in them a little bit more . . .”

I interrupted her. “Don’t sleep. These people will easily give a reasonable man a reason to use his trigger finger.”

I know that men and women were both created by Allah from one same soul. Yet I also know that men and women are different. Chiasa, the woman, is friendly, loving, emotion filled, and hopeful. Besides, she’s foreign to my Brooklyn ’hood, or any ’hood for that matter. She’s a capable female fighter, but she’s also innocent and naïve and likely to underestimate evil. She and I are married, similar in some ways and in deep love. But I am a man born and trained to observe, detect, and perceive all potential threats. To defend, guard, protect or attack, and eliminate all real enemies who don’t understand any language other than the ratta-tat-tat or the boom of my “milly.” I have killed before, for these same reasons. Chiasa has competed in sword fighting and martial arts and won. She has fought, poisoned, injured, and intercepted some enemies in real-life conflict, but she has never killed.

Now that she is my wife, she won’t have to. I’m here for the sole purpose of protecting and providing for and loving my women, and in the future, for raising my sons to do the same for their women and families, Insha’Allah.

“Guns seem messy,” she continued her soft expressions while caressing the steel. “They make too much noise.” She held it now, with both hands. “The silent kill is superior,” she said.

“I have a silencer,” I told her. “I don’t leave it lying around. If you get snagged with it, you do seven extra years—separate from gun possession charges.”

“Seven years,” she said. “That’s too long . . . and separate from the other charges . . . that’s too much.” She retreated to silence for some seconds, returning the gun to its position on the counter and pulling back her palms. Then her eyes shifted from the gloom of that thought.

“You know what I want?” she asked, her eyes searching me now to see if I was giving her question real thought, and if I was sharp enough to guess. I was listening carefully now. I wanted to know all of her wants, everything she wanted right now and even in the future. I would be the one who was getting it for her, eliminating her need to need another human beside me, even her father.

“A crossbow, have you seen one? It’s cleverly designed, a quiet, thorough, neater, cleaner weapon, but still super deadly . . .” She sounded like she was describing herself.

“What would you do with that?” I asked her.

“Run out into the woods,” she said. Now she held her pretty arms in position as though she was firing her crossbow. “I’d climb a mountain, track down the bad guys, monsters and witches or avenge anyone who tried to take what I love.”

She approached me, then pressed her thick, moist and warm lips onto mine.

My tongue moving over her tongue, our heads tilted, and there was only our breathing, sucking, and sincerity mixing with our silence. Her black silk yukata dress was easily released. She knew when she put it on this morning, as we trekked and trained over here to Brooklyn, what we came to do. My place in the projects was more of a hut than a palace. It definitely wasn’t the nature-filled, beautifully blossoming gardens and forest where she had lived. This was an all cemented place that couldn’t compare to the wilderness that she and I had traveled through together, or to eventually climbing over the mountains of Hokkaido, as we fell in love. I knew her soul still craved all of that adventure we had shared, but I also knew that my hut in the projects was where I am right now, and as long as I am anywhere she would willingly and voluntarily choose to be right beside me.

Bare backs and bare butts, we were both in the living room now on the warm hard floor, sitting in the spotlight from the powerful sun. Our sauna was natural. The living room windows were shut tight. Chiasa began gently rocking her pretty thighs from side to side, releasing her subtle scent. I watched, wanted to make her wait, while observing her dark brown nipples swelling on her golden breasts. I knew she wouldn’t like me staying still and staring because this was her exclusive time with me alone and she cherished it. She started kicking me playfully. Only our feet fought. I cheated, grabbing hold of her right ankle and dragging her. She began laughing but still tried to leap up with her left. Off-balance, she fell. I broke her fall and now our bodies were entangled. I reached back and snatched from off the floor the cloth belt from her yukata.

“Oh no you don’t!” She raised her voice playfully at what she smartly suspected she had coming. We tussled. I won. Her hands were now tied behind her back. She liked it. I flipped her, then licked her left nipple, then her right. I pulled back.

“Don’t stop,” she whispered. I knew her nipples were super sensitive. I began sucking one nipple and not the other. I moved my hand down her curves and rested it on her waist. “Stop playing,” she begged. I moved my hand between her thighs and she moaned. I pushed my thickest finger inside and her pussy walls locked around it tightly and thumped rhythmically. When I began kissing her she was breathing hard but still tried to launch a sneak attack and flip me with her feet. I’m smiling.

“Don’t smile at me!” she said, trying to mount me because I hadn’t mounted her. We wrestled. My stiff-as-steel joint didn’t give a fuck about the game I was playing. In moments I was deep inside of her, pushing and thrashing and the feeling was so extreme.

“I love you,” her lips passionately pushed out causing me to fuck her the way I knew she needed to be fucked in that moment. We were moving, and feeling and changing positions and postures. Warmer than warm, our emotions were heavy like that and only our breathing was heavier.

Our mutual deep attraction, our mutual deep admiration, our mutual deep love, loyalty, and deep affection . . . our mutual faith, feelings, and friendship all exploded and I came pouring into her. She was quiet now, still shaking from her own eruption. She turned on her side to face me. So I faced her, watching her slide her slim finger in the sheen of my sweat.

“One of us should open that window,” she said. Her silky Japanese hairstyle turned into a long, wild African bush, me digging it either way because it’s all her. Checking her out I eased up, reminding her that “We are both naked.” She sat up.

“I know,” she said sweetly. I kissed her, just pushed my lips against hers. Her now relaxed nipples turned into Kalamata olives. In less than one second we were both swelling again and she leapt at me. Her hips spread in my lap and I touched her up until I was doing sit-ups between her thighs. Chiasa, my second wife, was no longer the unknowing virgin I had first met. She was swinging those hips, completely comfortable with our naked bodies. She craved that friction and would have an outburst when her feeling reached an unbearable high. Her voice echoed in my mostly empty apartment where she and I needed to be alone to get wild and dive all the way into our thing.

Her second shaking, and I was sure she wasn’t done. Athletic and competitive, she has endurance. Yet in her eyes I saw a complete surrendering to me, from a sixteen-years-young feline fighter unaccustomed to surrendering.

“How come I love you so much?” she asked me intensely as if she needed to have an answer from herself. “I love you more than Konichi,” she said.

Konichi is her American mare, a horse her father bought her, which she left behind in Japan after I married her.

“You love me more than your beast?” I smiled, saying it out loud so she could hear how it translated in my ear. She laughed a little too, then stopped smiling.

“I love you more than my mother,” she said, pushing each word out from her heart. The air thickened and the room fell silent, even with the music from the streets thumping outside our closed windows. We both knew she meant it. She’d never say anything she didn’t mean. And for words that strong and heavy, silence was my only response. She knew I couldn’t wrap my mind around ever considering the depth of my love for my mother, Umma. Nor had I ever, or would I ever, or could I ever compare my love for Umma to my love for any other human.

Still, her magnetic confession moved me and I was making love to her now with an even deeper feeling than fucking. So deep it felt like a high-pitched sound. So high it could cause all eardrums to pop, then bleed. A feeling so meaningful it could push life into existence and hurl the two lovers ten years into the future within seconds. I tugged her clitoris and made her cum so hard she gasped and exhaled some sounds I had only ever heard in the jungle of South Sudan, word.

“Happy birthday,” I said. Her seventeenth birthday was one week away, but she and I were celebrating it in the only time we had available to be alone. I wasn’t big on birthdays, mine or anybody else’s, but she was that special to me. She looked into me and said in her soft, slow, sultry way, “I love you more than my father.”

Time stood still. I couldn’t move. She couldn’t move. Even our eyes couldn’t blink. Even the boom of the 808 bass that shook the speakers on the outdoor sound system shut down. The turntable needle got stuck and could only repeat a piece of the beat. For a split second it seemed that even the fire-filled brilliant sun had blacked out.

Unique, her unusualness attracted me. Twelve clocks, ten phone cards, and a huge lighted spinning globe were the first purchases of my second wife, Chiasa Hiyoku Brown, as we moved into our new home in the borough of Queens, state of New York. I just took her to the stores where I knew the items she wanted to buy could be purchased, then watched as she walked around choosing carefully and intently. Of course I carried her choices, her boxes and bags, for her. She accumulated enough for me to go out and hail a cab and have the driver pop the trunk.

In her first-floor bedroom in our house, she lined her triple-A battery-operated clocks on the shelf after setting each one. They were all the same model, but she set each of them to a different time.

“Where do you want the globe?” I asked.

“One minute,” she said as she began pulling books from a big box, rushing to stack and organize them on the floor.

“I should have bought you a table for this,” I said as I realized she was using her books to build a stand.

“This is good enough. These are the books I’ve already read,” she said. She read them, but couldn’t leave them behind, I thought to myself. So I knew then how she felt about her books. I set the globe up on the book stand she built, plugged it in, and it glowed, colorfully outlining most of the territories on Earth. Helping her with these little things was a small task for me, yet like the moon, she glowed with a grateful smile.

On a short stack of same-sized encyclopedias sat her baby-blue-colored phone. Slim and feminine, it was curved nicely, with glow-in-the-dark push buttons. She called it her “blue phone.” It was her own hard-line hotline, with a separate number from our house phone or our Umma Designs business phone. Only she could use her “blue phone,” and that was on purpose.

“Daddy will call me tonight at eleven p.m. It will be the end of the night here in New York. It will be eleven in the morning over in Tokyo. It will be five a.m. in London, England, and eight p.m. in Los Angeles, California, and eight a.m. the next day in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It will be three a.m. in Antwerp, Belgium and in Zurich, Switzerland and six a.m. in Johannesburg, South Africa . . .” She pointed to each clock that she had set. “And in Antartica . . .” she said . . .

I smiled and repeated, “Antarctica . . .”

She laughed and said, “I was just checking to see if you were listening.”

“So we bought twelve clocks, so you could know what time it is in all of these regions of the world,” I said but it was more of an observation than a question.

“Hai!” she said softly in her energetic way, meaning, “yes” in her Japanese language.

“Daddy never says exactly where he is. But he will tell me which country he is in. I look the country up on the globe so I know where he is and exactly what’s surrounding him, and what time zone it has. And if by chance he’s gonna be in a certain place for more than one night, and if he is willing to give me his phone number, I can use these phone cards, and that way I won’t run up a big phone bill. Then I can check these clocks to know exactly what time it is where Daddy is stationed. That way I won’t accidentally wake him when he sleeps . . .” She exhaled, not being used to so much talking except when she is excited about her father.

I just looked at her, attracted to her passion, yet very aware of her anxious and deep love for her six-foot-eight black-skinned African-American brute of a father, a man of fifty faces who only showed his daughter one, and she believed that was the only face he had. She spoke about him with great affection as though he was her teddy bear, and her anchor, and her hero. “Daddy,” who called her every other day, at any time he wanted to, with no consideration for our schedule or time zone, sometimes only had ten seconds of convo to share. He’d say, “I just wanted to hear your voice and be sure you’re happy and okay.” “Daddy,” who has a serious weak spot for his daughter, who he could hardly ever see in person because of his work. So he filled the absence of his presence in her life with presents. Expensive gifts given on each of her birthdays and on selected Christian holidays. He gifted her anything she asked him for with only one rule. She couldn’t ask him to come home on any particular day at any particular time. He would come on his schedule, unannounced and by his own choice. My wife marked time by her father’s presence and presents and absences. The presents were gifts that no young husband who, although he is a hard worker and is steadily building his business, could match.

“Daddy,” a general in the American military. “Daddy,” who had declared war on me when he realized his daughter’s heart had been swept away by a young Muslim man who was born on the other side of his world. “Daddy,” who played deadly games with my life because he could. “Daddy,” whose last words to me before I left Asia with his beautiful sixteen-years-young daughter who I wifed, were, “Take great care of my daughter or I’ll find you and kill you.”

Now his daughter, who is definitely my wife, lay naked on the hot floor beside me on her early seventeenth birthday party, stroking my joint with her pretty fingers, kissing me lightly with her pretty lips, hypnotizing me with her pretty eyes, and stroking my calves with her pretty toes. Saying she loved me more than him. My presence had outdistanced his presents. And our intimacy was an area where he naturally could never go. And our closeness was sealed . . . a bond never to be broken.

The metal tapping against the metal door unlocked time.

“Uh-uh, no . . .” Chiasa said, seductively.

No one was supposed to knock on my project apartment door. Even when my family lived here, no one did. And for the time that Chiasa and I had been coming here, no one else came, and no one else was invited. She licked my lips and her tongue fucking delighted me. Just as I moved to go in her, a voice within me ordered me to get up. Chiasa leapt up a fourth of a second after me and began collecting her clothes from the living room floor. I nodded for her to go into my bedroom. I stepped into my basketball shorts, then my jeans.

Easing up the metal shutter of the peephole, I saw hazel eyes, black lashes, and a red hijab. It was Sudana, a sixteen-years-young Sudanese girl who lives way out in the Bronx, but now she was standing alone on the other side of my door, in the dark, dangerous corridor of my Brooklyn project. Uninvited. I never gave her this address, and she had never, ever been here before. I felt a bad feeling as I quickly unlocked and yanked open the door.

“Umma,” was all I said to her. She smiled calmly and said, “Your Umi is perfectly fine. She’s still at my house with my mom at the women’s meeting.”

Relieved that my sudden and dark intuition was wrong and that this was not an emergency, and that my mother was safe, as she should be, I turned my attention to Sudana, waiting to hear her reason for coming and what she wanted.

“Are you going to continue to block the entrance, or will you invite me in?” she asked. Actually, I wanted her to disappear, leave, so I could get back to my wife. I knew I had to be cautious though, and careful and courteous. Sudana and my mother are close. Sudana’s father and I had done good business together. And for the time that I had recently been traveling in Asia, Sudana’s whole family had taken care of my Umma and my sister Naja for more than a month. I owed her . . . to be grateful.

I saw her eyes moving over my chest, admiring my body. In haste, I was shirtless, unzipped and beltless, sockless . . . I stepped back from the door so she could enter. I locked it behind her, then quickly picked up my T-shirt and pulled it on. When I turned back to her, she was unwrapping her hijab, which in our faith, and in this situation was forbidden. There was no blood relation between us, and I was a man who could marry her, and she was an unmarried young woman. Her long hair was shining like she taxied over here fresh from the salon. She was watching for my reaction, now that she had showed me what I had never seen before. I gave off nothing. I knew she felt it. She moved her eyes slowly around the living room. First she looked back toward the front door. She paused on Chiasa’s kicks, neatly placed against the wall. She turned again, her eyes landing on Chiasa’s bangles lying on the counter next to the slingshot that she keeps strapped around her right thigh beneath the skirt of her yukata. She paused over the bento box Chiasa had packed and stacked with some foods for our “project picnic.” Then Sudana stood staring at the only half-closed bedroom door. She twisted her body slightly and her gaze landed on my nine-millimeter, then eased back onto me. She had a serious stare now that she had surveyed everything. Her eyes were moving over me. The love that she was searching for in me wasn’t there. My heart was full. And the scent of my wife’s and my lovemaking still hung in the stagnant air.

Perceptive, Sudana switched from speaking the English she had been using to speaking only in Arabic. She realized Chiasa was here with me, and somewhere listening closely. She also knew that Chiasa could not speak or understand Arabic . . . but of course I could. Chiasa remained quiet and out of sight. Even that aroused me.

“I need to speak some private words just for your ears,” she said in Arabic.

“You could’ve waited to tell me whatever you have to tell me when I pick Umma up from your house later on,” I said in Arabic. “It’s not smart or safe for you to just show up here.” I walked over and picked up her hijab. “Put it on,” I told her. Then I heard the shower splash on in my bathroom. My mind switched. I pictured Chiasa naked in the downpour. Can you do that same thing to me that you did to me on our first time? Chiasa had asked me.

“All this time I have been walking around believing that I was doing everything right and that these other nonbelieving girls were all wrong,” Sudana said. I didn’t like her referring to my second wife, who was not born into Islam, but who is Muslim by choice, as kaffir, meaning nonbeliever in Arabic.

Sudana continued in Arabic with soft but strong emphasis and attitude, “But I figured out, when you came back from Japan with wife number two, that these other girls must’ve been right all along—and I must’ve been wrong.”

“Sudana . . .” I interrupted her.

“No, please let me finish,” she said. “I’ve been wanting to say this for more than a month. I’ve been slowly getting up the nerve. I had been waiting for the opportunity where I could speak directly to you, just the two of us. But the chance never happened. We were always surrounded by so many.

“The whole time since you and I first met, I was doing everything you wanted and everything you asked me to do, and caring for your Umma as much as my own mother, even after you returned from Asia, shocking me with this second wife, acting all calm, cool, and casual.”

Sudana’s voice stayed in a controlled tone but her emotion was rising, so I let her get it all out. It didn’t matter. If anything she was saying was against Chiasa as my second wife, she was walking down a dead end.

I met Chiasa in the sky, somewhere over the Siberian mountains. She was asleep on a flight, wearing her naturally long cornrows braided like streaks of lightning. Between her breasts was a gold first-place medal. When Chiasa and I stood face-to-face and eye-to-eye in Narita Airport processing through customs, the thought that came to me, and dropped directly into my mind about Chiasa, was She seems like a gift from Allah. And, if Allah had given me Chiasa, only Allah could take her away, la kadar Allah (God forbid). Sudana would have to chill and learn that she couldn’t love me by force or keep a count or a scorecard somehow declaring herself the winner. True, I had always known Sudana is a beautiful Sudanese young woman who had feelings for me—but the timing between me and her was always off.

“You couldn’t see me. When I was covered, you overlooked me. So I wanted to give you a chance to see me clearly,” she said, holding the fabric of her hijab in one hand. “Take a look,” she said, peeling off her light jacket, the one I’m sure she had to wear to get past her mother and father and brother’s inspection and besides them, all of the Sudanese women at that meeting in the basement apartment of her house. Her red but sheer blouse showcased the cut of her satin bra and perfect figure. She spun around slowly, her jeans hugging her hips, her feet turning in her new red heels, which she wrongly and defiantly didn’t remove when she walked in here.

“Oh these,” she said, stepping out of those red heels. “Same as I stepped into them, I can step out of them.” Her toes were revealed, red polish dusted with crystals. I eased my eyes up and away from her feet. Still, she stood posing and clutching her new red Coach saddlebag.

“Here I am, Sudana Salim Ahmed Ghazzahli, from our country. Speaking our language, from our people, a believer, a muslimah same as you, mussulman. There can’t be anything wrong with any of that. I know those are things that you like; the same things that you love about your mother, Umma. The only thing left has to be that you didn’t see me. Because I was always covered, you didn’t notice that ‘Ana ahla minaha’ I’m prettier than her,” she continued in Arabic, referring to Chiasa by shifting her eyes to the back room. Then Sudana uttered, “I’m more beautiful than both of them,” referring also to my first wife, Akemi.

Chiasa came hurrying out the back bedroom in her black-laced bra and matching panties, her yukata half on, half off. In a frenzy she tied her black yukata and dove for her black Pumas.

“I saw Naja outside running . . .” Chiasa said, now down on one knee tying her laces.

“It couldn’t be Naja. I left her downstairs, indoors with Ms. Marcy,” Sudana said with confidence. “Naja told me that she missed Ms. Marcy,” she added.

She was speaking to my back ’cause I was already out the door. It didn’t matter what Sudana said. Chiasa has perfect vision. I was one hundred that whatever my wife said she saw, she saw. I had my little sister Naja in my first mind, my Nikes on my feet, my nine in my hand. I was on the stairwell. Bulbs were broken and it was darkened; I was headed down.

About The Author

Photograph © Brian Velenchenko

Sister Souljah is a graduate of Rutgers University. During her college years, she was known for her powerful voice, sharp political analysis, cultural allegiance, community organizing, and for her humanity. Post-graduation, Sister Souljah earned the love and support of her African American community by creating a national youth and student movement. She is credited for serving homeless families, creating academic, cultural, and recreational after-school programs, weekend academies, and sleep-away summer camps. Partnering with major mainstream celebrities, she provided her efforts free to all young people and families in need. A multidimensional woman, Souljah was the only female performing artist and voice of Public Enemy. She is also a wife and a mother. A storyteller who makes the entire world her home, she lives wherever she is “pushing her pen.”

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books (October 4, 2016)
  • Length: 544 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781476765990

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Raves and Reviews

"At a time when manhood is misrepresented, misunderstood and under attack, Souljah provides the blueprint of manhood through a fictional character named MIDNIGHT."

– Husain Abdullah, Kansas City Chiefs, NFL

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