Sam Cox (20)
Oregon – Florence
Oregon was one of the last states I visited on my road trip, which was a shame because it was one of the most beautiful states. The picturesque beaches, waterfalls and lakes were really something remarkable. The Beaver State is famous for its beer, lush valleys and deserts, places unspoilt by a growing population.
I had just bought myself a hamburger from a vendor and I wasn’t quite sure how to fit it all into my mouth, I ended up picking bits off and popping them in my mouth trying to be as polite as possible.
“Ah, a true Brit,” came a voice from behind, it was an English accent and I felt immediately comfortable to turn around and smile at the young man.
“How can you tell?” I asked,
“An array of things, the look of panic on your face when you saw the size of that hamburger, the failed attempt to consume it with your mouth and then the pitiful picking of the burger trying to do so, whilst looking vaguely civil.” The man smiled and held out his hand, “In true English manners, I’m Mr. Sam Cox from Yorkshire,”
“Ella from London,” I shook his hand, “Please to meet you,”
“What brings you to America, Ella of London?” Sam asked, he absentmindedly handed me a polystyrene plate and a fork.
“It’s a long story which I’ve told a hundred time and I’d…”
“You’d rather not delve into it again?”
“Precisely,” I smiled,
“In all honesty I only asked, so you’d ask me why I was here…”
“Why are you, Sam Cox, across the Atlantic?” I smiled and began to eat whilst he told me his story.
“I was born back in the time of the Great Oil Crisis, my parents were poor and we couldn’t afford to travel or eat. Of course having seven kids didn’t help the whole scenario and so they decided to put me, their youngest, into social care until they had conjured enough money to be able to feed me. I stayed in care homes for years, travelling around England and making new friends. I was fostered at the age of seven to a single man named Jason Crew, he wasn’t a nice guy, adopting children and selling them on to rich Africans in places like the Congo and Libya. As soon as I got back to his house, I was told to get my belongings and follow him. A little later I was on the plane to Africa, I wasn’t afraid – I mean after everything a little holiday would be fun, well that was what I thought. A man named Piro picked me up at the other end and I was delivered to a house, where I served as a servant for ten years until one day I escaped and flew to America!”
“Really?” I asked in disbelief, I knew the GOC [Great Oil Crisis] had been bad and I’d heard of families not only giving up pets and possessions but also children, I wasn’t aware that a reversed slave trade still existed.
“Every inch of that story is true, although I did edit out the bad parts for your innocent ears,”
“Tell me the edited bits!” I begged,
“Assured to say, I wasn’t treated like a young boy should…” Sam lifted his polo top and revealed large red scars across his back, “I was sort of the anger reliever, according to some Africans hitting young white lads really releases the tension!”
“I’m so sorry,” I swallowed hard and looked into his eyes, they were dark and sincere.
“Don’t be, I’m here now and none the worse – apart from the obvious scars. They’ll heal up in no time,” I shook my head sadly,
“They won’t I’m afraid, they’re deep wounds which will scar for life,”
“What are you, a doctor?”
“I want to be; well I used to want to be.” I smiled wistfully. There was a long silence as we embraced each other’s company, “Why don’t you go back to Africa and get your own back? Or at least report them?” I asked,
“Because I hold nothing against them, I’ve forgiven them,”
“You’ve forgiven them?” I asked incredulously, “Why?”
“They don’t know what they do, there’s no point in bearing grudges or holding onto the past. You’ve got to live Ella, what else is life for?”
“Forgiving is hard,” I muttered, “I know a girl who would agree with me,”
“She killed her family, well she thinks she did,” I swallowed the last of my burger and wiped my hands, “she’s been immersed in guilt ever since,”
“I’d be pleased to help her, I mean that’s my job now – I council people who have come from tough situations to get over it, like rape and abuse, divorce and death.”
I left that afternoon feeling a lot better, Sam had convinced me that living in the past was not worth it and if I wanted to enjoy the time I had on earth, I should.
Unlike Kevin, I still wasn’t totally bought on the whole Heaven idea and so if this was all I got, I shouldn’t be sat around wishing for the past to become present.
Because let’s face it, it never would…
I ended up giving Sam Maria’s number and two years later I received a wedding invitation, for Mr. Sam Cox and Maria White.