She died before I was born. There were no photos. If grandma was white, what was I? The future looked grim. I might have to surrender the title of first black girl at my high school to wear an afro. Return all those Affirmative Action prizes, like my college education. Rescind my edginess at being the only African American in book group, yoga and dance class. (OK it's ballroom, so it probably doesn't count.)
I cornered Michael. "Mama's mother? White?"
"No," he said. "Mama's grandmother was white."
Mama…grandmother…black…white. Words. Puffs of air on to which my brain had bestowed meaning.