June 18, 2015, Charleston, SC.
Two months ago I went to an event to read and talk about my recently published novel, Palm Beach Nasty.
The venue was a library in West Ashley, just over the bridge from Charleston. I was greeted by an elegant
lady who immediately made me feel like I was a celebrity author with a handful of Edgar’s and a Nobel Prize
for literature on my curriculum vitae. She had a mile-wide smile and a engaging sweetness that was irresistible.
She went and got me a bottle of water, told me how excited she was about having me there and how she
hoped for a big crowd.
This morning I saw that that woman, Cynthia Hurd, was one of the victims of the mindless mutant who killed nine
people at the Emanuel A.M.E. church a mile from where I live. It was like a Louisville Slugger to the gut. Yesterday–
the day the murders happened– was a sad, sad day for every citizen of Charleston. First and, of course, foremost
for the poor, innocent victims who graciously welcomed this monster into their fold, then their devastated families
left to deal with their incalculable losses, then the rest of us Charlestonian’s sorting through an array of conflicting
feelings from guilt to anger to total shock and disbelief.
I drove out to the library in West Ashley on Sunday with a bouquet of flowers. I was not surprised to see other flowers
and tributes to Cynthia there. She was a good woman and I was lucky just to have known here briefly. R.I.P. Cynthia.