I've been quiet lately. I've been telling myself for a few days that I need to blog before my next trip. Really, there's only one thing going on right now, one topic to write about. This Sunday I will share a table with the man who blasted a hole into my grandfather and our family as well.
This past week I distracted myself by trying to see if I could get cameras in to film my meeting with Cork. Three state representatives and two state senators called the Mississippi State Commissioner on my behalf. The final answer was no. Then I was writing or working hard to build Booker's Place. I've also been setting up interviews with more people who knew my grandfather. I found the guy who worked as a DJ at Booker's restaurant. I've been volunteering at my kids' school, shopping for groceries, watching A LOT of The Walking Dead (which, by the way, presents some really complex questions about what it means to lose ones sense of humanity), and so on.
What I have not done is thought about what's going to happen this Sunday.
Someone asked me today how one prepares to meet the man who murdered their grandfather in cold blood. I said, "I don't know. I guess this is how I prepare, I don't." I have hopes for what may come of my meeting with him, but no expectations.
I hope he tells me the whole truth. I hope he provides the monumental final piece to my grandfather's murder story, the piece that will complete the picture so that I can finally make sense of it. But maybe there is no making sense of death, especially murder.
I know I won't get "closure." I don't think I even like that word anymore. It sounds like a place to stand, a perspective from which one can observe, from a distance, a devastating hurt and examine it without emotion.
The raw intensity of the feelings are gone. The loud blast, the shattering glass, the blood that pooled on the floor, all of it gone. Left in its wake is supposed to be a peaceful silence. A hazy, sepia-toned version of the memory. One that brings back only a faded replica of what once was, with none of the hard hitting, vivid color of it all.
But with closure, I lose him. These feelings are all I have to connect me to him. Solving his murder, or finding out whether or not it even needs to be solved, sometimes seems like the only gift I can give to him. The logical side of me says that my children are a gift to him. Every time I speak about him to a crowd of students I am planting a seed of him and that is a gift as well.
Sometimes I feel stupid about this whole murder question. At times the answers have been clear, like a face on the other side of a freshly cleaned piece of glass. Then a bit of dirt gets kicked up and I can't quite see the answer anymore, but I remember it and I'm holding to it tight. Then mud is splashed on the glass and suddenly the answer is ripped from my sight. Thankfully, someone cleans the glass. I look through it excitedly only to find a different answer, someone else's face staring back at me. Each new face seems less real than the one before it. I can't seem to get as excited as I was the first time. I wonder if, after I meet with Cork, I will look through that glass again only to find that no one is there at all.