In the year 2076
“Granny, do you know who Trayvon Martin is?” “Trayvon?” I ask his name in a question because it’s been a while since I’ve heard it. My granddaughter thinks I can’t hear her correctly, but I’m really just mulling over the trial in my head. I’m thinking about his face. About that hoodie. She says it again, louder this time. “Granny, TRAYVON MARTIN.” I remember the time I lived in New York City. In my twenties. When I took to the streets shouting, “No justice. No peace.” I can’t remember the signs that said ‘shoot me here, shoot me now’ or the man who made a rattle by dropping skittles into an empty tea can, but I remember the day. “Yes, I know who Trayvon is.”
We do a little tango in the kitchen because while I’m cooking she’s setting the table. She does this without my prompting. Teenagers these days-so kind to their elders. “What do you know about him?” “What do you know about him?” “Well, Mr. Kurrasow says his trial was veryyyy important. That it caused a national conversation about the justice system and race because he was an African-American boy who was killed for trying to get to school. No wait, home. He was trying to get home. Is that what happened?”
“Yes. Now is Mr. Kurrasow the short teacher with the curly head of hair?” “Yes granny.” “The one who went to Michigan?” “Yesss granny.” Teenagers today. Still impatient as ever. “Now that’s the one I like! And what else did Mr. Kurrasow say?” “That’s it. We have to research the case and write about it for homework.” “Oh? Well if you need help let me know.” “So you do remember it?” “Why do you keep testing my memory? I’m not so old I can’t remember. I walked for change after that trial.”
She laughs and asks if I’m serious. “Yes, I sure did. Me and Carmelle. You know my friend Carmelle down at the nursing home.” “And what did your mom say?” “She said be careful.” “And your granny?” “She was nervous, but had seen far worse in her day.” “What do you mean?” “I mean she lived in a different time than you. She saw things you won’t see.” “I can’t believe that granny. That’s loud!” “Loud?” “Loud means crazy, granny. “Oh, I can’t keep up with y’all.” “So that man just killed him and got off?” “Yes.” “And what happened to him after that?” “You know. I’m not really sure. I imagine he was never at peace.” Her boyfriend’s picture starts flashing on a thin card. She looks up at me. “Go ahead. Tell Michael I say hello.” I remember when I had a cell phone. In fact, I suddenly remember Trayvon was on his the night he was walking home. I don’t remember who he was talking to. The year 2012 feels so far away.