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					 Onyx and Eggshell                                            1


 The line
   The sounds of palms and fingertips released the heavy bass
notes from the goatskin Djembe drumhead. The rhythms and
the sounds echoed not only all across campus but also over a
large part of the community. This African drum was no
reproduction; it had been handed down to the drummer
directly from his ancestors. The head had to be replaced
occasionally overtime, but the owner insisted on the
traditional goatskin. The preferred goatskin was from the
African goat. The sound just wasn’t the same as that of an
American goat. It had to do with the conditions and diet that
made the African skin tougher than the American skin. This
was not always possible, but when it was, the sounds were
just so much more vibrant.
   The drummer drummed, just as his forefathers had taught
him the traditional rhythms and just as he had been able to
pass down himself to those over his lifetime. They say that
every Djembe is unique because it shares the soul of the tree
it was cut from, the craftsman who put it together, and the
animal whos skin the drumhead was fashioned from. When
those three souls were married to the drummer, it always
brought forth a unique quality. The sounds drifted from the
side steps of the sorority house where the old man was
playing it. It echoed through the buildings on Freedom
College’s campus. But today was not a casual drumming. At
this early part of the semester it had a very specific purpose.
Those on campus had come to know that it represented that
Gamma Beta Alpha Sorority, Incorporated had chosen to
take a line.
   Whether that line would stick or even take root was
anybody’s guess. It only represented that the sorority had
made the choice to bring on new women this semester. The
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drum continued to beat, the old man graciously played the
rhythms for the allotted time to send out the signal and create
the mood that would be lost to the uninitiated. He lovingly
sent out the signal on the chosen night in support of the
organization that had been referred to as the talented tenth by
those on campus. He had done so ever since the sorority was
founded. He had taught the craft to many over the years so
that any one of them could fill in if he wasn’t able to. But he
had never missed a semester.
  The sounds echoed and reverberated. The ladies of the
sorority were either on campus checking on perspective new
members or at the house preparing for their arrival. The very
name of the instrument is said to go back to an African word
meaning come gather around. And Gamma Beta Alpha’s
Pan-African theme pulled this from that continent’s rich
history. Though the sorority was somewhat Pan-African in
nature, they did prefer to pull most of their symbols and ritual
ceremonies from the countries of Africa’s west coast. This
choice was made because a very high percentage of those
American’s with African roots could trace their ancestors to
the West African slave trade. The organization was created in
an attempt to get back to those roots.
  The drummer drummed. The clear cool still night was
perfect and intentionally chosen for this very reason. The
present, recent past, ancient past and future were being
married in those drum beats. The rhythm continued –
echoing, circling; owning the night. All of the Gammas at the
house were lost in thought as they reflected on past
semesters, the semester they were initiated in, and of those
African roots lost to many so long ago. The Gammas on
campus remained focused on their task at hand, allowing the
beats to surround and embrace them. The drummer drummed
and would continue to do so until the time was right to still
the night.
 Onyx and Eggshell                                           3

                                ***
  A lone figure sat on the low wall in front of the Gamma
Beta Alpha display. She had expressed her interest in the
sorority privately to the right people, careful not to make her
intentions too public. Broadcasting her intent would have
been disastrous and would have almost certainly meant that
she would not have been invited to begin the pledge process.
The entire process would be underground, meaning that
secrecy was a requirement and loose lips could end one’s
journey. The young lady glanced at her watch. She was sure
that she had the time right, but expected everyone else to be
here too. Perhaps this was her first test. She would not appear
impatient, nor would she allow herself to look bored.
  Chilli stood and faced the secondary wall behind her. It was
only a couple of feet higher than the one she had been sitting
on. Beyond it was on open space of four or five feet with a
third wall behind it. Carved into the third wall was a bass
relief representation of the sorority’s crest. The words
Gamma Beta Alpha were carved in similar relief on the
second wall. She had seen the display many times while
taking classes here at Freedom College, but she had never
before taken the time to really look at it. So with an unknown
amount of time on her hands, she decided to let her eyes
explore. On the bottom of the crest were the words ‘se wo
were fi na wosan kofa a yenki.’ The center piece of the
exhibit was a large sankofa bird with the familiar egg in its
mouth looking back over its shoulder at her.
  She glanced to her left and saw similar displays all the way
back around to her left to where the semi-circle began. She
carefully noted the symbols that she had seen regularly at her
last university. This tenth group was an anomaly to her
though. She had considered one or two of the others in the
past, but had never pursued them. Or perhaps they just hadn’t
shown any interest in her. This extra organization intrigued
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her. She had heard rumors about this group. It had been
something about them not being a part of the Devine Nine,
but being nonetheless welcomed here on campus because …
that part was unclear to her. She was aware however that this
was the Alpha chapter of the sorority though she was not sure
if there were any other chapters.
   At Mason-Dixon University, she had approached a
historically white sorority. It wasn’t so much that she wanted
to be in a white sorority, but because she had always prided
herself on doing something just a little more off the beaten
path. And joining a white sorority had its merits since she
would have been the group’s only black member. But when
she looked further into it, she decided it wasn’t really for her.
She also had a feeling that the girls in the group weren’t
really trying to welcome her either. In most cases this would
have made her angry enough at the sheer discrimination of it
to do it anyway, just to piss them off. But deep down in her
heart, she wanted to be a part of a group that she was
passionate about and she fully intended for the experience to
be for life. But in the end, that decision was taken away from
her. Things had gotten really heated up there, to say the least.
And she found herself down south and enrolled here at
Freedom.
   Some of the first ladies she had met were Gammas and she
had discussed the sorority at length with them. She had told
herself that she would approach them with her interest next
semester once she got more familiar with her new
surroundings. To her surprise they had approached her first.
She tried to act casual, but in truth she was excited about the
prospect. She glanced around the courtyard to see if anyone
else was around. No one else was there. She looked at her
watch then up at the bird as it glanced back at her.
   ‘I guess it’s just you and me,’ she thought, ‘I wonder
what’s keeping everyone.’
 Onyx and Eggshell                                           5

  On the far side of the yard and on the third floor of Douglas
Hall – just above the tree line – another woman glanced at
her watch. She nodded to the young woman standing next to
her and they left the room and headed down the stairs.
                                  ***
  Things had never been easy for Sabina. She had worked
hard for everything she had. If you told her she couldn’t have
something that she wanted, she’d make sure she proved you
wrong by getting it. Her dreams were important to her and
she was going to make sure that they came true. And God
help you if you stood in her way. She spent most of her life
reaching toward Freedom. It was the only school she had
ever wanted to attend. Her high school guidance counselor
had told her freshman year that she wasn’t college material.
Her grades were terrible, but she had been working two jobs
to try to support the family. In the end she was so pissed off
about this guidance counselor that she graduated tenth in her
class, while holding down those same two jobs.
  Sabina had grown up in Stone Haven and still lived at
home. Her mother’s health problems meant that she still had
to keep those same jobs because she was her mother’s sole
support. She had a younger sister from another father, and
just like with her, her little sister’s father wasn’t around
either. She would make sure that her sister had more
opportunities than she had growing up. When she finished
with school, she would make sure that her sister’s education
was paid for too. She wasn’t exactly sure how the sorority
would fit into it all, but she would find a way to make time
for it.
  She was running late so she double timed it to the library.
She allowed her steps to fall in time with the drum beats she
could hear in the distance. She took the steps up to the
second floor conference room two at a time. She took a deep
breath and walked in. The room was empty. She laid her
 Onyx and Eggshell                                          6

book bag on the conference table and got out her notebook.
She double checked the room number. This was the place.
She walked over to the large windows at the edge of the
room and looked out onto the next building. ‘This has to be
the place.’ She went back to her notebook and checked the
date. She sat down hard on a chair. She got up and put her
notebook back in her bag. She moved back down the stairs
looking around as she moved onto the main floor of the
library. She glanced around looking for anyone wearing
letters. There was no one. She approached the circulation
desk.
  “May I help you,” the young man behind the desk asked.
  “Yeah. I’m supposed to be meeting some people here. Can
you check on something for me?”
  “What can I help you with?”
  “Has anyone reserved the conference room upstairs? Room
200?”
  “Let me check.” He pulled a three ring binder from beneath
the desk. “It looks like the Gammas have it for the next
hour.”
  “Thanks.” Sabina went back upstairs and took a seat near
the windows so she could make the most of the light. She
glanced at her watch. She didn’t have time for this. She went
back into her bag and pulled out her Political Science book.
She glanced at the syllabus and began to read tomorrow’s
assignment. Hopefully they would show up. If they weren’t
here in an hour, she’d try to get in touch with one of them.
But she couldn’t afford to waste time, so she would study
until then.
  Across from the library in Washington Hall, two sets of
eyes were trained on her. “I told you she’d be back.”
                               ***
  “Sorry I’m late. Is she here yet?”
  Onyx and Eggshell                                            7

   “See for yourself.” She motioned to the sleeping figure on
the couch on the far side of the student union.
   Rachelle just looked at her soror and shook her head.
“C’mon, let’s go over.”
   Celeste and Rachelle sat down on a couch facing the other
one.
   “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
   “Maybe she had a late night.”
   “Still, it doesn’t seem very professional to me.”
   There was a look of real disgust on Celeste’s face. “What
do you want to do?”
   “Let’s hang out here for a little bit and see what happens.”
   “Sure, why not.”
   After a couple of minutes of silence and shared glances,
Rachelle began to speak. “How do you feel about the
semester?”
   “I like all of my classes so far. I have Dr. Ofay for Critical
Literary Theory.”
   “That sounds tough.”
   “It’s going to be a lot of reading and a lot of research, no
doubt.”
   “I wanted to take him for freshman English, but I had
schedule conflicts both semesters.”
   “Yeah, he’s great.”
   “How are you feeling about the sorority?”
   “I think we have potential.” Celeste motioned toward the
girl asleep across from them. “I don’t know about sleepy
head there, but I think we got a lot of pretty good picks.”
   “Yeah, I feel good about it too.” Rachelle stood up and
walked over to the sleeping form, looking her in the face. She
slowly turned and retook her seat. “I guess she’s still going to
be here when her time is up, but that is a helluva way to do
it.”
   “True.”
 Onyx and Eggshell                                            8

  Rachelle crossed her arms then crossed her legs, letting the
leg on top bounce to the Djembe beat as she talked. “How do
you feel about them cutting out line names?”
  “I guess I’ll get used to it.” Her voice changed as she
turned to face Rachelle. “Why did we do that again?”
  “New greek life coordinator says it’s hazing.”
  “Please. Forget him. He’s probably just mad because he
was never greek.”
  “What can you do?”
  “I say we do what we want to do.”
  “It’s not worth losing the charter over.”
  Celeste raised the left corner of her mouth and relaxed it.
“Well maybe they don’t need to know everything.”
  Rachelle looked over at her with her leg bouncing a little
faster. “How do you think Koko is going to be as a pledge
mom?”
  “If she’s anything like her old man, she’ll be great.”
  “True.”
  Not content to change the subject, Celeste went back to the
previous conversation. “I still think we should call them the
rainbow line.”
  “No one liked that in chapter.”
  “Well, prism, something like that.”
  “Maybe, but the line names you threw out … Black,
Brown, Red, Yellow and White? That was just a little too
much.”
  “I liked it.”
  “No one is really red and no one is really yellow though. I
mean Akia is definitely the darkest and Tammy is definitely
white, but the other four are all about the same.”
  “I guess. I just thought it would be cool.”
  “No, I don’t agree. If you start stereotyping them like that,
I’m sure it would …. It’s just not right. Aren’t we trying to
get away from that kind of thinking?”
 Onyx and Eggshell                                            9

   “I see your point. But I still liked it.”
   “You’re insufferable.” Rachelle and Celeste both started
laughing.
   “Shhhh, you’ll wake her.” They began laughing again.
                                 ***
   Tammy wanted to get as far away from West Virginia as
fast as she could. She loved her family, but that place was
giving her claustrophobia. Though she had absolutely no real
life experience to back it up, she knew that there were a lot of
ignorant people around there. Sure, she was a bit more
privileged than most, but some of the small mindedness
really seemed over the top. People always talked of leaving
but no one ever did. Even in good times, the economy sucked
there. But her father owned a local mining company, so they
did quite well for themselves. They had the biggest house in
town. Life wasn’t bad, but she had a driving urge to see what
else was out there. It had to be better than this.
   She spent her freshman year at the local community
college. It was her dad’s idea. He just wanted to keep her
close to home. He’d be lost without his little girl. He didn’t
care what she majored in or what she did in life as long as
she was close by. He could have afforded to send her
anywhere, but he was a bit of a control freak, and not ready
to let go. When the first year was basically up, she began to
feel like this was all just an extra year of high school. She
began to find everything around her stagnant. She decided
then that she had to get the hell out of there and quickly. She
retook the SAT’s to improve her scores and put some
applications in the mail.
   Her older brother was a Marine and she had spent a few
summers with him down in Beaufort. She had fallen in love
with South Carolina, so she decided to apply to several
colleges in the state. She just wanted to get as far away from
her home as she could, but stay within her comfort zone. She
 Onyx and Eggshell                                         10

knew that things were a little different in the south, and
although her community college had a few black folks, she
still found herself only hanging out with white people. She
didn’t even know how to approach them. She figured she’d
get another chance in South Carolina. Her parents hated that
and she liked pushing their buttons. All of the schools she
had chosen to send her scores to were in the south, so she
was convinced that there had to be a few black folks on
campus wherever she ended up going.
  Her first two choices were the University of South Carolina
and Clemson University. She didn’t really care which one
she ended up at. She picked three more at random just as a
safety net. She hadn’t done any research at all on the other
three schools, so when Clemson and Carolina both rejected
her, she was left scrambling. One of her safety net schools
had even turned her down. She was of the assumption that
schools that she never heard of would be easy to get into. She
was mistaken. It didn’t really matter to her which of the two
that did accept her that she would choose. She just wanted to
be closer to her brother. She made the choice the quickest
way that came to mind, through the process of elimination.
She had laid the acceptance letters side by side on her
bedroom desktop.
  She flipped a coin to see which letter she would start with.
She then moved her finger from one letter to the next,
alternating it with each word to the saying she had learned as
a child. Back and forth she went. “Eany meany miney moe
catch a nigger by his toe. If he hollers, let him go. Eany
meany miney moe.” And just like that, she chose Freedom.
Before she was to move down to this town called Stone
Haven, her brother was transferred to a base in Kuwait. She
considered staying at the community college another year,
but she knew it was time to make her escape. This new
school was appropriately named, she had thought. For this
 Onyx and Eggshell                                           11

school would mark her freedom from living at home and
being stuck at a college that didn’t challenge her. It wasn’t
until the end of that summer that she had actually seen
Freedom for the first time. Before the end of the first week of
classes, she had an application in at nearby Ben Tillman
University.
  They had rejected her application without explanation. She
had vented to a girl in one of her classes about it at the time.
“I can’t believe they didn’t take me?”
  “Why do you want to go there anyway?”
  “I don’t know. I just do.”
  “I know why they rejected you.”
  “What? Why?”
  “You really don’t know?”
  “No, tell me.”
  Her classmate shook her head back and forth a few times
before answering. “Tamaria Jackson from Freedom College
wants to go to Ben Tillman.”
  “I don’t get it.’
  “Tamaria Jackson.”
  Tammy shook her head. “I’m lost, you’re going to have to
break it down.”
  “Tamaria Jackson. Black girl extraordinaire.”
  “What?”
  “They don’t want your kind over there.”
  “My kind?”
  “Black girls.”
  “I’m not …,” she was getting a clue as to what her
classmate was trying to share. “No!”
  “Afraid so girl.”
  “You’re kidding right?”
  “Nope. That’s how I see it.”
  “Nah, I don’t believe that at all. Tamaria is a family name.
I’m named after my grandmother.”
 Onyx and Eggshell                                         12

  “You don’t have to believe it.”
  “It isn’t like that anymore. I mean please.”
  “You don’t think so?”
  “It can’t be.”
  “Hey, all it takes is one person opening one envelope and
not liking what she sees.”
  “That doesn’t happen anymore.”
  “Keep on believing that.”
  “I just don’t buy it.”
  “Well, that one person throwing that application in the
trash for no one else to see … it is just that simple.”
  “I refuse to believe that that still happens. I really do”
  “Suit yourself.” Her classmate shrugged it off.
  Tammy was lost in thought. “No way. That’s messed up.
No, that couldn’t be true. Stuff like that doesn’t happen
anymore. You’re nuts!”
  Noticing the tension in the other young lady’s eyes,
Tammy’s classmate tried to lighten the mood. “So your
grandmother is black?”
  “Shut up,” Tammy smiled. They both laughed a little.
  Her classmate continued. “I also know why you want to go
to Ben Tillman.”
  Tammy just looked at her with her mouth open. Her
thoughts encircled the comment. What her classmate was
trying to say was ridiculous. She had her all wrong. She
wanted to protest. “Oh my god … oh my god … no. No way.
I’m not like that.” She tried to be objective and really look
inside herself. “Oh my god … no. That is just not true. I’m
not like that! That has nothing to do with my choice.”
  “Really?”
  “I really don’t think ….”
  “… about it,” her classmate finished her sentence for her,
but not exactly with the words Tammy was going to use.
“Maybe you should start.”
  Onyx and Eggshell                                           13

  “I’m not a racist.”
  “Racism runs deeper than you think. Deep like the rivers.”
  Tammy hadn’t wanted to even think this about herself and
doubted that it was true anyway. She knew she wasn’t a
racist, but it wasn’t until this conversation that she really
started to question why she made the decisions that she
made. It was like a veil had been lifted and she really began
to see the world for the first time. It was that day that she
began to lose her innocence. Nothing would ever be the same
for her after this. But it really wouldn’t be that simple either.
  She would prove that she didn’t see race. Soon she was
sleeping with any black man that asked. She had even told
one of the sororities on campus that she was interested in
pledging them. She was actually on her way to a meeting
with them now. As she approached the bottom steps of the
music building, she paused to look around. They had asked
her to meet them at an African Art exhibit that they had
referred to as ‘the hands.’ She had slowed down as she
passed the steps of the music building because it was then
that she realized that those beats she had been hearing
weren’t coming from there. She had assumed someone was
practicing for some percussion class. As she approached the
hands and took a seat, she realized that the sounds were
coming from much farther away. Two low voices were
watching her from across the yard. “You’re kidding right?”
  “Don’t worry about it. There is no way she’ll ever get in.”
                                 ***
  Most of the pews were empty at this hour. It was still day
time so most people were out doing other things. The
university’s chapel remained open to all and was never
locked. There were no regular services here. For that you
would have to go to one of the community churches. This
building was meant to be a sanctuary for anyone who wished
to use it. It was also available per space request form for any
  Onyx and Eggshell                                           14

group on campus that wished to reserve it. A young woman
entered through the back double doors and walked toward the
front. Whispers and eyes quickly caught sight of her abaya.
This traditional piece of Muslim clothing covered her from
head to feet. Its mostly white exterior contrasted against her
very dark skin. As she glanced up at the large cross with
Jesus at its center, a few in the church made their way out the
door.
  “She’s probably going to blow the place up,” someone
mumbled.
  She had heard them but choose to ignore them. She was sad
to hear the drums fade as the doors closed behind those that
had just made their hasty exit. She chose not to take a seat
and looked around the room. In the very back were two
young ladies, but she chose not to approach them. She
assumed that those young ladies were who she was here to
see. They had not stood up so she would give them time to
politely make their approach.
  She had only been in the states for a short time, but so far
her reception had been mixed. She had spent a couple of
years at a European school, so she was familiar with the
stereotypes and attitudes she sometimes encountered. She
just expected things to be a little different here in America. It
was okay though, she would prevail. She really didn’t mind it
all that much anyway. Sure, it could be tough at times. But it
provided a real chance to dialogue with anyone who was
open enough to approach her. Walking into this chapel that
didn’t exactly cater to her needs was bound to catch anyone
off guard though. She smiled.
  She walked up the few steps to the podium. On it laid an
open bible. A red ribbon lay at its center marking this
specific page. She glanced again to the right and the Christ
figure hanging from the large cross. Though her religion was
Islam, she was familiar enough with Christianity to be aware
 Onyx and Eggshell                                          15

of the symbols and stories. She looked closer at the pain
etched on the man’s face and the crown of thorns on his
head. She glanced back out toward the interior of the
building. On both sides of the pews she saw stained glass
windows. The colors looked brilliant in the late afternoon
light.
  She glanced again at the two women in the back. They
were discussing something, but stopped when they saw her
looking. She smiled at them and started walking toward
them. They looked away and then back at her. One stood and
smiled.
  “Are you ladies Gammas,” Akia asked.
  The second girl stood to join the first and began speaking.
“You weren’t supposed to figure that out yet.”
  “Yeah, we were supposed to just keep an eye on you for
about half an hour and see if you stuck around or not.”
  “You know, see how bad you wanted it.”
  “How bad I wanted it?”
  “How important the sorority was to you.”
  “When new girls want to come in, we sometimes ask them
to meet us somewhere but leave them there alone for a while.
The way it usually works, if they aren’t patient enough so
stick around for a little while then they probably aren’t the
women we want to call sorors anyway.”
  “So there are other girls in other places right now being
made to wait too?”
  The first girl smiled. “They usually don’t figure out what is
going on. We’ll get them all together in a little bit.”
  “The ones that are left anyway,” the other girl added.
  “Is there any particular reason you asked me to meet here at
a Christian church?”
  The first girl looked embarrassed. “I’m pretty sure the
choice was random. But I guess that lets us know that you’re
serious about the sorority.”
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  The other girl fumbled. “I guess if we were thinking, we’d
have done it somewhere else with you. We didn’t mean any
disrespect.”
  The first girl searched for the right words. “I think we
should talk to the school and see what we can do about that
crucifix. This is supposed to be a non-denominational church
open to all students.”
  “But most of the denominations here still believe in the
same Christ right,” Akia commented.
  “Yes, but ….”
  “It’s okay. I’m not offended. There is no reason to change
anything.”
  “Still, in all fairness ....”
  “I’m not the first Muslim student on campus. If you didn’t
change it for them, then why change it for me?”
  The first girl laughed as she let all of the tension flee from
her. “I’m sorry, this is all just a little bit awkward.”
  “Come sit, join us. We still have a lot of time.”
  Akia took a seat next to Kelly and Aja. “So, after you see
which of us are going to stay, what happens next?”
  “We round everyone up at the sorority house,” Kelly stated.
  “And after that?”
  “We can’t tell you any more than that. We’re not even
supposed to be talking to you now.”
  Akia smiled. “Yours is a group of secrets.”
  “I was curious,” Aja interjected, “why the interest in us?
International students come through here all of the time, but
they never show any interest in the fraternities or sororities.”
  “I like to approach things in my own way.”
  “What do you mean by that?”
  “I saw it on my campus in London and it is probably the
same here. I could just hang out with people from my
country, people from my religion – like I saw international
students do there. But when you do that, you miss out on
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really getting to know the country and its people and its
culture. If you are going to do that, then why study abroad,
you can get that at home.”
   “Yeah, most of them do that here too. I see your point.”
                                 ***
   The first pair of sorors got to the house about fifteen
minutes before the rest started floating in. Their girl had
chosen to not stick around. So, six became five rather
quickly. Only time would tell how many others had gotten
this far. Once the thirty-two minutes and one second passed,
it was safe to say that they would probably hold steady at five
potentials. When the time was up, the drumming stopped.
Everyone who had made it back to the house was in a general
holding pattern within yards of the front of the house. The
first two sorors to make it back approached with a
perspective member. She was a thick sister named Luci. She
had a smile on her face. Rachelle and Celeste escorted her to
the bottom of the stairs. Their expressions were more
subdued.
   “We are ready to see what the future may hold,” Celeste
and Rachelle said in unison. “We request the honor of
entering.”
   “You may enter,” the Omanhene instructed.
   The three young ladies walked up the steps and stopped as
soon as they reached the porch. Celeste began speaking. “We
present to you Lucinda Brown, candidate for our beloved
sorority, Gamma Beta Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.”
   All of the ladies on the porch let go with a call
approximating the sound of the sankofa bird.
   “You may enter.” The president slowly extended her hand
to her right where there had been six chairs just minutes ago.
“Take your seat.” Dajuna faced forward toward the yard,
waiting for the next candidate. Luci looked around to
 Onyx and Eggshell                                        18

determine if something was expected of her. No one moved
but her, they just waited.
  The next two sorors with a potential moved forward.
Dajuna nodded.
  “We are ready to see what the future may hold,” Tiffany
and Monica said in unison. “We request the honor of
entering.”
  “Approach.”
  “We present to you Chilli Davenport, candidate for our
beloved sorority, Gamma Beta Alpha Sorority,
Incorporated.”
  All of the ladies called to the trio.
  “You may enter,” Dajuna said. “Chilli, please take your
seat.”
  Again they waited.
  Three more women approached.
  “We are ready to see what the future may hold,” Koko and
Ashleigh said in unison. “We request the honor of entering.”
  “We present to you Sabina Chambers, candidate for our
beloved sorority, Gamma Beta Alpha Sorority,
Incorporated,” Koko and Ashleigh said together.
  They all called.
  “You may enter,” she motioned to her right. “Please take
your seat.”
  And again they waited. One of the sorors disappeared
inside and came back out a couple of minutes later. No new
women had been seated, so she hadn’t missed anything.
  Luci was saying something to her line sisters. Dajuna
quieted her. “No one said you could speak.”
  Aria and Tomika approached with Tammy.
  Before Dajuna could speak, there was an “Oh hell no” from
one of the ladies at her right. She looked over at them. Aria
and Tomika stopped their approach.
 Onyx and Eggshell                                        19

  “Oh hell no,” Sabina repeated. “What the fuck is that white
girl doing up in here? That bitch is not getting into my
sorority. Oh hell no!”
  Dajuna immediately turned to her right and walked over to
Sabina, putting her nose about three inches from the other
lady’s. She spoke slowly and chose her words carefully.
“This is not your sorority. And you are not a Gamma. You
are a neophyte at best. I need you to understand your place.”
She paused and stared unblinkly. “We decide who gets in and
who doesn’t.” She kept staring until Sabina blinked. “Do you
have a problem with that?”
  “No soror.”
  “Have you lost your mind?” Dajuna had raised her voice
and struggled to calm it. “You are not a soror. You may
never be a soror. Don’t insult me! Don’t insult us!”
  “But ….”
  “Sit, think, shut-up. Check yourself.” She turned back
toward the three ladies that had approached.
  Sabina considered getting up and walking away, but she
chose not to. She continued to fight the impulse, not sure
what she was going to do.
  “We are ready to see what the future may hold,” Aria and
Tomika said in unison. “We request the honor of entering.”
  “Approach.”
  “We present to you Tamaria Jackson, candidate for our
beloved sorority, Gamma Beta Alpha Sorority,
Incorporated.”
  The ladies called while Dajuna glared at Sabina then at
Tammy. “You may enter.” She didn’t feel that differently
than Sabina did, but Sabina needed to know who was in
charge here.
  Tammy took a seat next to Sabina. ‘Black bitch,’ she
thought. “Bitch,” she said.
  “Who you calling a ‘bitch,’ bitch!”
 Onyx and Eggshell                                         20

  Sabina grabbed Tammy by the hair and the others seated
tried to pull them apart. The chairs were quickly scattered.
  Dajuna walked over to the back and forth. “Who’s ready to
go home now,” she asked. Everyone stopped in mid tussle.
“Eh?” She looked at Sabina. “Well?” She looked at Tammy.
“Then sit your asses down before you’re both gone.”
  The chairs were reset and Chilli took the seat between
Sabina and Tammy, forcing them apart. Not more than a
minute later, Aja and Kelly approached with Akia.
  Dajuna shot Sabina and Tammy a stern look. She turned
again outward. “Who approaches?”
  “We present to you Akia Oduyoye, candidate for our
beloved sorority, Gamma Beta Alpha Sorority,
Incorporated.”
  A few of the ladies glanced at each other as they called to
them.
  “Enter,” Dajuna said. She glanced around at these new
candidates for her beloved sorority. She looked at Sabina as
she looked at Tammy who was looking away. She looked at
Luci who seemed to be in her own little world. She looked at
Chilli who was looking back at her. She then looked at Akia
and dropped her head. Seconds later she regained her
composure. “Tofuhene, please escort these neophytes across
the threshold.”

				
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