"Silent thunder is desire, longing," Thea explained. "You can't hear it, or see it, but you can sure feel it, roaring up in you, calling you ahead. It's when you want something so bad that even your bones know it."
I was nodding fast at Thea's words. She was describing what I was feeling each time I even thought about learning to read.
"Rosco's got his own silent thunder raging up in him," Thea said. "I pray it don't push him to do something foolish, the way it did with Clem."
"It's his reading, ain't it?" I figured.
Thea nodded. "That's only a piece of it. The rest ain't for you to know. I'm only tellin' you so's you understand that every soul -- a man's, a woman's, your very own brother's -- carries some kind of silent thunder. But listen, silent thunder is something we got to keep quiet and private." Thea let go a slow breath. "That's the way of slavery, Summer," she said. "Anything that makes you feel good has gotta stay cooped up, like a toad wriggling inside a croaker sack, else it can be taken away."