It pains me we never met. It was an ordinary Wednesday, til I caught wind of your death, now I’m distressed- fingers running through my hair and getting lost like broken barretts. I would never claim to be your greatest fan, but the breeze that blew through your cage as you sang, carried your scent of greatness through time and space over to me. It was like a seed of your love DNA was reframed and painted an awkardly strange yet desirable portrait in me. The only thing I wanted to be… was your grandson.
Not in the legal, social sense, but in that special way that sometimes happens between two people… You see, I had this fantasy- and in it… I would walk up to you. Hesitant. You would smile. I would smile back. Then you’d take my hand and I’d cover it with my other one. We would look deep into each other’s eyes and see the kindred light shining the Morse code of the poetic mind in flashes of brightness that out shined the sun and made it look like tire rubber. And then, before any words were spoken, we would just… know. I became your grandson; And you became my grandmother.
The next words will probably make people scoff at me, but the pain of your passing is the anesthetic protecting me… I never read any of your books, never memorized your classic pieces, but I was fascinated by you as a person and how you taught the believers about believin. Truth be told, in every interview and recording I never saw you as old, but as living poetry. Every word, every breath, every phrase, every inflection of imparted wisdom, was literary excellence dipped and baptized in the Heavenly Nile- I fell in love with love off of your FREESTYLE!!
But now… like a confused caterpillar trying to get out of its shell, my heart is cracked with grief. Trying to rake away the sentiment that everybody leaves right when I need the strength to stay free. I don’t know where they store the tools to shift heart gears, but when I read that you died I shed real tears… I’m not a snail in a shell, I’m a caterpillar in a broken cocoon… but I’m not sure what’s coming through. Can’t tell if it’s a butterfly or something underdeveloped… I was hoping that one day you would tell me.
Dear Maya… I love you. I never met you, but I love you… that’s what your legacy is all about isn’t it? Love. And purpose. To cradle in your arms a lost and aching generation and tell them it’s okay to walk in your footsteps, as long as we yield control of the road to God and how He paves it. Your words… your heart… your spirit… were aMAZING… I’m praying to be like you- the hero I loved. Which is probably why this hurts so badly. I would gladly trade any of my successes for seconds to look you in the eye and tell you…
I love you Grandma Angelou.