Longform

THE ANGUISH OF ALEX HALEY'S WIDOWWITH HER HUSBAND'S LITERARY LEGACY DISPERSED, SHE'S LOCKED IN A BITTER PROBATE BATTLE

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He wanted her to move to Tennessee with him, but she refused. They nearly divorced and then, somehow, grew closer again. They would write together again, he promised her, just as they had in Jamaica. She began to sense that her hero could no longer write because he was afraid of writing. "I think toward the end we were really talking about a fearful man," she says. "And that was hard for me to deal with."

@rule:
@body:As a matter of survival, My Haley developed an unconventional source of strength. She practiced Zen archery, a meditation with a bow and arrow. She remembers that two years ago, when she first shot an arrow, "the power across my chest was like nothing I had experienced before. It was fabulous. I thought, 'My God, was that inside me?'"

Alex was delighted with her new pursuit. He sent her an expensive bow. And he sent her a necklace designed like a bow and arrow.

It was to be his last gift.
On the day before he died, he called her from the airport in Los Angeles. He was on his way to his apartment in Seattle. He told her soon they would start working on Queen. They would not only work together, he said, they would write together.

The next day, he was dead.
"People say, 'How could you possibly stay with this person?'" she says. "But to me, in a way, when I connected with Alex part of it was realizing simply that we were supposed to be. Part of my specialness was to thelp this man who had such a wonderful calling to be able to bring understanding, to expand the imagination, to show that it was possible for different races of people to not just get along, but be along together.

"So those really hard times working with him didn't matter because I was fulfilling part of what I was supposed to be.

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Terry Greene