Thursday, July 24, 2014

Eva Jackson: 0081

Meeting a public intellectual

In 2000 it was the festival of writers, who came from everywhere. On the first night a diminutive public intellectual who was local, hosted the panel. He gently questioned the beautiful writer and the other one. I had read his columns frequently, and was 14 and very excited to see this. After the panel was over, people filed out. He was enthusiastically shaking the hands of people leaving who hopped onto the stage to talk to him. So I did too. I told him very fast how much I liked his columns. A little way into my rapid-fire devotional,  he began to turn red and bellowing about how I was attacking him. He was still on a high after the event and shiny-cheeked. I began to cry slightly on the stage in the now empty auditorium. Though he was short he stooped and looked shocked. He said as gabblingly as I had spoken, that he was sorry.
When I saw him at a cramped book launch last year, I thought about raising it. He stood in the corner and grinned in a polo neck but I decided against it. Sometimes people just need their privacy.