Chapter 6 : Kevin Bower

Kevin Bower (72)
Missouri – Springfield

Missouri is a state in the middle of America, to the right is Kansas and left is Illinois. The Show-Me state contains mountains and plains and the Missouri River runs through it as well as Mississippi which creates the eastern border.

Kevin Bower was a typical Missourian; he was full of life, played country music on his banjo and enjoyed watching sunsets over the plains. I was walking through Springfield when I heard the music, it was different and old school. I found myself exploring a small downtown café with an old man playing this tiny guitar thing. The café was pretty much empty apart from a small group of regulars who were sitting around drinking coffee and smoking, I was an obvious outsider with my age and paleness but I was welcomed into the circled and poured a coffee on the house. Kevin strummed his banjo with such passion I was convinced he didn’t even notice there was a crowd. His eyes occasionally closed and he’d sing along in his American accent which made me smiled. The set finished and I was the only person to clap, the other crowd dispersed around the café but Kevin came up to me.

“I’ve never received an applause before, I can tell you’re foreign or from the north,”

“East, well Great Britain,” I smiled, “I clapped because that was some of the best music I’ve ever heard, is it your own stuff?”

“A bit of both, the last song I played I wrote when my wife died,” he smiled and sipped his coffee,

“I’m sorry about that,”

“Don’t be, she’s in a better place,”

“How do you know?” I asked, “I mean, how do you know that there’s a heaven and that it’s just not a nice idea that people believe for peace of mind?”

“Whoa, straight in with the philosophical questions I see, I think I’m going to need a refill of coffee and I’ll get back to you on that.” Kevin returned and sat down heavily,

“My wife was called Trish, she died ten years ago of a heart attack, totally out of the blue and it shocked us all. She was walking along some tributary of the Missouri and collapsed, she may have survived if the ambulance hadn’t taken four hours to find us. I’m a religious man,” he spoke slowly and his voice was captivating, “four in five Missourians are, would you believe it? It tells us in the bible that heaven exists as a paradise for when we die. Our time on earth allows us to choose whether to accept God as our father and ask him to forgive our sins and then when we die, we will be judged. All those guilty of sins will be sent to Hell,”

“Everyone sins, even the best of people,” I pointed out,

“Why else did Jesus die on the cross? He died for us,”

“So what happens to those who have sinned and then die?”

“They will be judged and if they haven’t become a Christian they’ll go to Hell,”

“That’s awfully strict, what if they didn’t realise all this? Like kids in Africa who never get told?”

“God is merciful; he’ll give people a second chance,”

“My mother died,”

“Do you know where she is now?”

“In a coffin in a graveyard in London,”

“Her soul?”

“Died with her body.”

“That’s sad,” Kevin sighed, “Don’t you think it’s better to believe there’s something more to life, a better place?”

“It all seems a little, I don’t know, like a fairytale…”

“Don’t you believe in fairytales Ella?”

“I want to.”

The End

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