Book Excerpt – Coming Forth by Day
Copyright © 2014 Infinity Publishing/Kakwasi Somadhi No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission from the publisher or author. The format of this excerpt has been modified for presentation here.
Excerpt from Chapter Seven
When Loretha showed up with Solly that hot July evening, the village was already crowded. Men and women with Afros as big as Solly’s came regaled down in African dashikis, flowing robes, leather coats, caps, and boots. Some women sported fine African wraps on their heads and bangles of copper, gold, and silver on their forearms. Loretha, still in her Baptist Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes, felt out of place. She was glad Solly assigned her to take notes because it gave her something to do and freed her from feeling like she was out of step with revolutionary fashion. She lowered her head, focusing on the paper in front of her as Solly announced to the crowd what her role would be.
“Sister Loretha here is gonna take minutes and mimeograph them. In-town folks can stop by the village Tuesday and pick up a copy. She’ll mail copies to you brothers and sisters from out of town.”
She learned that the Brotherhood had joined forces with two other groups, one from Northern California and the other from San Diego. The three organizations planned to form a statewide coalition. After some shouting and pontificating over what to call themselves, they settled on United Revolutionary Vanguard. The argument continued well into the evening over where the headquarters would be and how to merge officers. Eventually, a fight nearly broke out over who would keep the money.
At one point, Loretha stopped writing and just listened, looking from one revolutionary to the next, trying to guess what each would say as if she were watching a movie. Finally, after she took up her pen again and began scribbling notes, she heard Marcus announce that they need to be out by twelve, and anyway Loretha had to be getting tired of all that writing.
On the ride to her apartment, Solly asked if he could keep some of his personal papers there with her, not much, just a couple of file boxes, until the URV found new headquarters. Loretha agreed because the thought of having a piece of him with her was a small victory. When she’d start having doubts about his motives she could point to him sitting next to her couch in the form of cardboard stationery boxes painted black and speckled to look like metal, with just a lid to cover their contents, and no lock. She saw the act as his opening himself more to her.
She felt so good about the prospect that when he asked if he could come inside despite the lateness of the hour, she said yes to that too. The sun came up the next morning, shining on the freeway dust covering Solly’s car, still parked in front of Loretha’s apartment. She cooked breakfast for him, and as he left, he kissed her long and hard and said he’d call her later that night.
She went to the stove to heat water for another cup of tea, passing the open window with its curtain waving and undulating in the breeze as it had done the night before. The moving air released the scent of night-blooming jasmine still lingering in the mesh of the screen and the weave of the curtain. She breathed in the fragrance as she moved, putting away the morning dishes while waiting for the water to boil. She placed the tea bag into the cup, noting the whistling of the tea pot. As she poured water over the bag, she watched the liquid turn dark. She felt warm inside even before taking a sip.
With the magic of the night still fresh in her mind, she sat down across from the window and watched the curtain move. She closed her eyes, laced her fingers together around the cup and let the warmth of the liquid seep into her skin. She remembered how he led her to trust him by guiding her with his hands and probing deep into her eyes with his own. It was then that she closed her eyes because she felt naked, as though he had begun to dissolve all her defenses. He finally spoke, telling her in a commanding whisper to look at him. She held her breath and complied, opening her eyes and meeting him, and he promised not to hurt her.