I'm having trouble writing here because I don't want to write about the boy with hair in his eyes, welcomed into the prayer meeting at a historic Black church in Charleston, guided by an arm around his shoulders to a seat next to the pastor, who sat there for an hour listening to a minister and a librarian and a coach and a teacher and a grandmother, the faithful, as they searched out the good, who then rose to his feet and pumped bullets into nine of them, telling a tenth that he was leaving her alive so that she could tell what happened there.
I don't want to write about the fact that the families of the dead got up in court a day later and told that hate-filled boy that they forgave him. I have not forgiven him, and I don't believe the families truly can forgive him so soon after he murdered their loved ones. I think they are just saying the words, reaching for grace, but it made it all the worse for me that the shooter just stood there with dead eyes as these people spilled their sorrow at his feet. My cousin thought it was God in action. I couldn't feel it if it was. I hated it. I thought it was the devil himself standing there with those empty eyes, with no shadow of remorse for the atrocity he had committed.
He was obsessed with the Trayvon Martin and Freddie Gray cases. He had become radicalized by the Trayvon Martin case, which brought him to the conclusion that Black people were taking over his country. This, according to some rambling manifesto he wrote on some White supremacist website. I laughed bitterly when I heard that. I couldn't help wondering how this taking over the country business was working for Travyon.
In Charleston, all the flags flew at half mast in honor of the dead, except for the Confederate flag, which continued to fly high, insult to injury, insult to murder.
Fathers day was lovely for us, all of us together for the day, my daughter making her dad's favorite creme brûlée, my son being a big goofy boy, everything easy and good. I felt so lucky and blessed to call this man the father of my children, and for us to be there together enjoying the two we have raised, who have grown into such good human beings. But every time I tried to write about it, I just felt as if the world was in flames, and how could I not acknowledge that, even from my sweet corner, where my mercies seem almost extravagant. Don't get me wrong, I'm so grateful for these mercies, this family of mine, this life. God in action, my cousin says. Yes. That.