Read The Coldest Winter Ever Online

Authors: Sister Souljah

Tags: #Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Literary, #African American, #General, #Urban

The Coldest Winter Ever

BOOK: The Coldest Winter Ever
10.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Praise for Sister Souljah and

The Coldest Winter Ever

“Souljah, an Emile Zola of the hip-hop generation, has written a naturalist novel of a world without redemption. Her story, like the cultures it exposes, is an unflinching eye at the truth.”

—Walter Mosley

“Souljah adds a new voice to the most marginalized of the marginalized.”

Black Issues Book Review

“[C]ompelling … tugs at the emotions.”

Chicago Sun-Times

“I think she is an important voice in American literature, and I find her work spiritually rewarding and powerful.”

—Jada Pinkett Smith

“[E]ngaging … a fast, fun read.”

The Plain Dealer

“This is a wild tale … a vivid portrait of a girl you’d rather have as a friend than an enemy.”


“Real and raw…. If a rap song could be a novel, it might resemble [this] book.”


“This is a ghetto fairy tale with a surprise ending…. There’s a lesson to be learned from
The Coldest Winter Ever

The Tennessean

“[A] tour de force.”

Kirkus Reviews


Washington Square Press 1230
Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 1999 by Lisa Williamson P/K/A Sister Souljah

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.

For information address Atria Books, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

ISBN-13: 978-0-7434-9938-5
ISBN-10:       0-7434-9938-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-7432-7010-6(Pbk)
ISBN-10:       0-7432-7010-X (Pbk)

First Washington Square Press trade paperback edition September 2005

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

WASHINGTON SQUARE PRESS and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Manufactured in the United States of America

For information regarding special discounts for bulk purchases, please contact Simon & Schuster Special Sales at 1-800-456-6798 or [email protected]


There is no such thing as love anymore,
the kind that is so strong
that you can feel it in your bones.
You know we used to feel that emotion
when we looked into the faces of our mother,
father, sisters, brothers, family and friends.

There is no such thing as love anymore.
At least not the deep satisfying kind
that sits on your heart and influences every
decision and action we take throughout each day.

There is no reason to celebrate anymore.
Just empty actions and empty reactions,
calculated gestures and financial arrangements.
There is no such thing as love anymore …

This novel is dedicated to the era in which we live.
The era in which love, loyalty, truth, honor and respect died.
Where humility and appreciation are nonexistent.
Where families are divided and God reviled,
The era.
The Coldest Winter Ever.

By Sister Souljah


Serving Mother God and Father God, first, always
and forever.

Loyalty, respect, love and strength to my husband
and son.

A very special thanks to Tracy Sherrod.

Thanks for your professional services:
Judith Curr, Emily Bestler, Paolo Pepe.


I never liked Sister Souljah, straight up. She the type of female I’d like to cut in the face with my razor. Before I get heated just talking about her, let me make it clear who I am and where I stand. Don’t go jumping to any conclusions either. All of y’all are too quick to jump to her defense without knowing what somebody up close and personal thinks. When it comes right down to it, those are the ones who really count, the people who was there, who seen it all. Hell, you can’t smell nobody’s breath through a camera. You almost can’t even see their pimples. So you know that TV shit ain’t real. Don’t run ahead of me. Let me take my time and tell my story.

Brooklyn-born I don’t have no sob stories for you about rats and roaches and pissy-pew hallways. I came busting out of my momma’s big coochie on January 28, 1977, during one of New York’s worst snowstorms. So my mother named me Winter. My father, Ricky Santiaga, was so proud of his new baby girl that he had a limo waiting to pick my moms up from the hospital. The same night I got home my pops gave me a diamond ring set in 24-karat gold. My moms said that my fingers were too small and soft to even hold a ring in place, but he insisted that he had a guy who would have it adjusted just right. It was important for me to know I deserved the best, no slum jewelry, cheap shoes, or knock-off designer stuff, only the real thing.

We lived in the projects but we were cool with that. We weren’t wanting for a damn thing. I had three aunts, four uncles, and a whole slew of cousins. As far as we were concerned it was live for all of us to be chilling in the same building, or at least the next building over. We never had to worry about getting into fights because around our way we had reputation. Plus it was plain and simple common sense. If you put your hands on anybody in the family you would get jumped by the next oldest person in our family, and so on and so on. Sooner than later we didn’t even have to say a word. Everybody understood that
our family had theour family had the neighborhood locked down, it wasn’t worth the trouble.

Our apartment in the projects was dipped. We had royal red carpets on the floors, top-of-the-line furniture, a fully loaded entertainment center, equipment, and all that good stuff. I loved my pops with a passion. He was the smoothest nigga in the world. When he came into a room he made a difference. His cologne came around the corner introducing him before you could even see him. He spoke softly, with deep seriousness. He was light-skinned, tall, with curly black hair and a fine thin mustache to match. He was medium build, definitely in shape. The thing that stood out about him was his style. His clothes were crisp-expensive. He never wore the same shirt twice. He could do it like that ’cause he was smart. He never used the drugs he sold. He collected his money on time and made examples of any fool who tried to cheat him. He had a saying: One copper penny, one finger.

All the ladies loved him but he wasn’t what I would call a ladies’ man. He never had no girlfriend, at least no female ever called the house trying to front on my moms. I can’t recall any incidents involving other women, accusations or any uncomfortableness. He was a family man. Everybody in the whole world knew my moms was his wife, his one and only, his soft spot even. Moms and Pops had been young lovers and, unlike a whole lot of niggas, they stayed together. She was fourteen when she had me. Folks said she looked great during pregnancy and would switch her ass around the neighborhood flowing easy, like water. She would wear her fine Italian leather stiletto heels even in her seventh month. Moms had everything by the way of clothes and anything else you could think of. Her mahogany skin was smooth as a Hershey’s chocolate bar. When she went anywhere she was well coordinated. If she had on a zebra skin hat, she’d sport the zebra skin pants and would have a zebra skin pattern on all ten nails. She’d even have the Victoria’s Secret zebra pattern panties and camisole. What separated her from every other woman any of us knew was she just had so much class. While the others were putting their imitation leather and zebra skins on layaway, piece by piece, Momma wouldn’t be caught dead without her shit perfectly arranged. By the time hoes sported their outfits all their shit was played out, straight out of style. When it came to shopping Momma had no mercy and that’s the way Santiaga liked it. His woman was supposed to be the showstopper. Momma didn’t work ’cause beauty, she said, was a full-time occupation that left no room for
anything else. She’d sit at her vanity table for three hours making sure she positioned each extra long lash on just right. She’d argue with anyone who said she wasn’t born with those lashes that framed her big, wide brown eyes that were gorgeous with or without falsies. She made it clear to me that beautiful women are supposed to be taken care of. She would whisper in my ear, “I’m just a bad bitch!”

Now a bad bitch is a woman who handles her business without making it seem like business. Only dumb girls let love get them delirious to the point where they let things that really count go undone. For example, you see a good-looking nigga walking down the avenue, you get excited. You get wet just thinking about him. You step to him, size him up, and you think,
Looks good.
You slide you eyes down to his zipper, check for the print. Inside you scream,
Yes, it’s all there!
But then you realize he’s not wearing a watch, ain’t carrying no car keys, no jewels, and he’s sporting last month’s sneakers. He’s broke as hell. A bad bitch realizes that she has two options: (1) She can take him home and get her groove on just to enjoy the sex and don’t get emotionally involved because he can’t afford her; or (2) She can walk away and leave his broke ass standing right there. Having a relationship is out. Getting emotionally involved is out. Taking him seriously is out. If a bad bitch is extra slick she can keep this guy on the side for the good sex. He then becomes a commercial to the money man who is the main program. The money man is the guy who knows how to provide, knows how to bring home the goodness and bless his woman with everything she wants. Now the money man might not be ringing any bells sexually, but if he has ends—if his pockets are heavy—a bad bitch will moan like this nigga is the original Casanova. When he’s sexing her, she’ll shake, pant, and cry out like he’s creating orgasms as strong as ocean waves. Now Moms must have been a bad bitch because she had it both ways. She had the money man with the good looks, loyalty, and I know Pops was laying it down in the bedroom.

Moms got her hair done once every three days. The shop we went to, ’cause she always took me, was for the high rollers’ girls. These were the few women in the neighborhood who are able to hook the big money fish. They all went to this shop to get their hair done, nails did, and, more importantly, to show off and update on shit going on. Earline’s was where we could get our hair done while we collected information on the side.

By the time I was seven I understood the rules perfectly. Keep the
family’s business quiet. Most things were better left unsaid. Even though this was the high rollers’ hair shop, we were clear that motherfuckers were jealous of us. My Pops’s operation was steadily building. As a young guy he started off as a lookout but was so sharp that now he has organized his own thing. He has his own workers and whatnot. People knew he was headed to being the next Big Willie by his style. He was respected for his product, which was never watered down, always a fair cut for your money. So me and my moms would catch those jealous glances, but we threw those shits right back. Our attitude toward other females was: “Hey, your man works for my Pops, now bow down to the family who puts food on the table for you and yours.”

BOOK: The Coldest Winter Ever
10.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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