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Last night, I thought of offering a sample excerpt from Blue Lines: Chapter 14 Cleaning The Closet.  Though, I am in my last stages of the personal editing phase, this sample includes both original, and recently edited elements of a discourse between Key Walker, and Blue Hurt, between classes on campus.  I kind of smile thinking back to the elements of the scene, but then again, knowing that I wrote this body of work, as I work through some of this again.


                The scene, that takes place on a rainy day, includes elements of two separate and different events/moments, that were later combined and then relocated to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and adjusted to include fictional elements to create this arch in the development of my manuscript.   


Blue Lines: Chapter 14 Cleaning The Closet page 146:

…After class on a dreary afternoon, Keypsiia was walking toward the exit of Manning to head to her next class with Blue behind her.  She stopped before the door and turned toward him.  He was expressionless as he continued to approach her.

“Keypsiia there is something that I really need to tell you,” he asserted stealthily as he put his arm around her shoulder and leaned in to her ear.

                She took a deep breath as she prepared for him to declare his admiration for her.  She was resolved in making a jump into a new relationship although her current one remained incomplete.  Blue would manumit her from the bondage of her boyfriend, she smiled.

                “See that is what people are not supposed to do,” he laughed as he turned her face to look at the attire of a female student who walked by.

Keypsiia smirked idly in displeasure.  She laughed, but was disappointed that he would utter something as trivial as that when she was, silently, anticipating something more substantive.  She continued toward the door after he released her from his grasp, his scent still fresh in her mind.  She wanted to remain in his arms, closer than she had been in the past.  She looked at Blue.

                “I’m not going to class today,” she confessed.

                “What,” he asked approaching her.

                “I don’t want to go to class,” she restated waiting for him to indulge her soft advances.  She stood before him at a moment of weakness, and her feelings for him were at their cusp.  “All he had to do was say the word,” she thought as she longed for him.

                “Keypsiia, you’re going to class,” he said forcefully as he walked toward her.

                She watched as he deliberately lifted his hands to her face and took hold of the coat hood attached to her black ¾ length bubble jacket.  He lifted the hood over her head and gently tied it closed to protect her from the increasingly inclement weather.  She looked into his large brown eyes as he focused on fastened her hood.  Keypsiia felt that she saw pain in his eyes as he prepared for her to go off.  She grimaced as she thought that she may be incorrect in her deductions.

                “I love you,” were the words that her mouth would not let escape.  “I want you now,” also accompanied her silent thoughts as she wished that he could read her eyes and would change his mind about sending her off to her next class.

                Beneath her hood, she gazed into his eyes with a mute longing for him.  She missed him when she was alone.  Why was she silent, she thought, as she realized that she thought of Blue during the infrequent moments she shared with her boyfriend?  She stayed in his shadow each day they were in contact on campus.  Although her admiration was in silence, she longed for reciprocation from him.

                “Keypsiia you can’t miss your class,” he said semi-ordering and semi-pleading.  She was unaware of his intentions or thoughts, but he understood that she needed to go to class.

                “Do you have a Black,” he asked in his dialect that was a hybrid of Standard English, New York and Atlanta accents and slang.

                Keypsiia savored the sound of his voice.  She tasted him through his smell, his sound, and his actions.  She knew that when they were together nothing else mattered.  He walked her out into the chill of the rain and she pulled out one of her Black & Mild cigars.  He lifted it from her hands and lit it.  She shivered in the cold weather, looking for him to hold her.  He stood unaffectionate as the cold raindrops fell upon his navy knitted Wu-Wear cap, his mind decidedly preoccupied with something.  She pondered, as she did each time they were together, why his actions toward her were not tactile.  She was unaware that he was suppressing his advances until she was free of her boyfriend.  She lifted the cigar from his hand as he motioned to her to take it.  She felt his hand wrap hers as he placed the cigar in her hand.  She watched the smoke bellow from his mouth mixing into the drizzly mist.

                “Damn I don’t want to go to class,” she thought silently as Blue’s face reappeared like her angel from behind the haze of smoke. 

She wanted to be with him and did not know how to convey her wants.  She watched as he lifted his hat to reveal his cornrow braids where the new growth in his curly hair was finding its freedom as he scratched his head.  He raised his right eyebrow, as she had seen before, and waited for her to return the cigar to him.  She watched him take another full pull from the cigar.  His lips kissed the end of the cigar and she thought of them upon hers.  As he exhaled she caught a glimpse of his tongue.  She was aroused about his presence and felt damned to hold her feelings inside.  She saw his eyes fix on her perched form.

“Keypsiia, don’t you have to go to class,” he reminded to her discontentment.

“Yes,” she answered pleadingly with sadness in her eyes.

Blue grabbed her hand and inserted a piece of paper in her pocket.

“Here is a little something that I wrote and I thought that it may brighten your day.  I know how much you hate the cold and rain.  I’ll see you later,” he paused, “after class.  Like normal.”

“Yeah sure,” she muttered aside as she walked off, “like normal,” she hissed.  Keypsiia could not see his face, because of her hood, as she headed off to class.  She could not gauge the pain that he felt in releasing her from his attention.  She began her solitary walk through the rain, with each step through the rain an emptiness grew inside her.  The wind gusts were sharp and its frigid waves cut into her face just as Blue had when he denied her quiet requests.  She internalized her displeasure as she tried to avoid the puddles of water that impeded her progress.  Keypsiia wanted to run back to him and tell him what she felt…she continued walking.

The space left by her augmented emptiness soon became a chasm filled with anger.  Anger manifested from what she interpreted as a slowly waning interest from Blue.  Her anger was in her inability to voice her feelings.  Her anger was in her laziness in ending the obvious farce that was her relationship with [BLANK].  The taste of the cigar was damp and her mouth felt putrid, scowling she looked down at the Black & Mild still in her hand and tossed it to the puddles on the walkway.

“That’s one thing that is over,” she thought aloud shaking her head, as she left the smoldering cigar to be expunged by the continued precipitation and planned on breaking up with [BLANK].

                Keypsiia took a seat in the rear of the classroom, allowing her jacket to fall to the floor as she tried to warm up in class.  She drifted through her thoughts as she sat in the auditorium.  She focused some of her anger on Blue and decided that she would not go to meet him before his Spanish class later that day.  Grabbing her bag, she slid out of class slightly early.  Sighing, she reentered the dark weather that added to her displeasure.

                “I should be at home,” she thought full of anger, as she jumped into the downpour that had grown ferocious in intensity since she was last outside, “don’t even know why I came here,” she pouted with thoughts of sunny California.

                She ran across the courtyard and down the stairs, trying not to lose her balance on the wet stairs, to catch the campus shuttle that she had heard pulling up in front of the athletic center and returned to her dorm.  The heating system in the bus made her uncomfortable with her satiated clothing.  Upon arrival at the dorm Keypsiia took in a few last breaths of the rain-cooled air to calm herself then entered her residence building.


The manuscript Blue Lines is the fictional coming of age narrative of a young California woman Key Yemaya Walker, and her 2 year growing journey through school, love, and life period piece, written by Kenneth Suffern, Jr., taking place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill between the years of 1997 – 1998. Loosely based on true events, and experiences during that time, told through the eyes and voice of the main female protagonist, a freshman first attending the school.