Wednesday, October 26, 2011

He Wrote Back Again and Again

Several weeks ago I received a second letter from Lloyd Cork, the man who murdered my grandfather.  I'd been waiting on a response to my second letter for what felt like an eternity.  I'd started to believe that I wouldn't hear from him.  I even wondered if maybe he'd found my blog and decided that he didn't want to be a part of any of this.

After much waiting and worrying I finally received a second letter from him in early October.  Like before, I was initially really excited to get it, I was still standing in the post office when I tore it open.  There wasn't anything groundbreaking in it.  He talked about how he spends his days and asked again for my phone number so that he could call me.

I haven't written back because my life has been fairly nuts and I didn't want to write back again without having set up a way for him to call me.  Getting an untraceable phone and corresponding number is surprisingly simple, but I also have to create an account with the prison so that he can make the calls from his end.  This is a little more time consuming.

Yesterday I checked my P.O. box because I was expecting something from someone else and there inside was another letter from Cork.  This one contained nothing besides the forms that must be filled out by anyone who plans to visit him.  I've been doing a lot of procrastinating when it comes to Cork, but these forms must be returned within 14 days.

I've set something in motion and now it's game time.  Whenever I tell people that I want to sit down with the man who murdered my grandfather their eyes widen and they ask me why I'd want to do that and if I feel afraid.  I always respond as if it's no big deal and I tell them that I just have a few questions to ask him.

Obviously, it is a big deal.  I've been busy, but I could have gotten the whole phone thing set up weeks ago.  On some level I feel fearful for my safety.  I know that we'll be in a secure situation, but he'll see my face, he'll learn more about me.  What if I slip up and give him information that allows an outside contact of his to find my home, my children?

On some level I know that the odds of this are highly unlikely.  I met his mother and he really comes from a deep, seemingly relentless poverty.  The idea that he would have the resources to get to me or my family from prison is kind of silly.  But it's not impossible.

What if I travel all the way there only to find that he's crazy and he doesn't have a thing to tell me?  What if I ask him whether or not he was hired to kill my grandfather and he says yes?

This entire journey has been full of peaks and valleys.  Today it feels like both.  Like always, I am busy.  But there's a deadline on this form.  I can't hem and haw because the window will close.  I can't ignore this chance because it may not come again.

I was in a car accident the last time I was in Mississippi.  I actually hate talking about it because I drove away from it with only minor injuries and the whole thing turned out to be little more than an inconvenience in the big scheme of things. However, the accident itself lasted a long time and it really did leave me feeling quite shook up.

I'm usually a very confident driver, but since the accident I find myself feeling hesitant about driving in inclement weather.  Several years ago I was talking to my aunt Vera about coming to Mississippi in the winter to visit and to conduct some research into Booker Wright's life.  She was more than happy to pick me up at the airport any time during the year except during the winter months.  She told me that sometimes the roads get ice on them when it's really cold and she was afraid to drive too far from home.

Cork's prison is several hours drive from the nearest airport.  Also, if I'm in Mississippi I'll certainly want to travel to Greenwood to visit family and friends.  If, by the time the forms get approved, Mississippi is unusually cold and the roads are too dangerous to drive on, I may be forced to push this off until sometime next year.  If not, I may be getting on a plane as early as next month to sit across from the man who forever altered my family's history with a single shot.


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