They’d know each other all their lives. Played together, laughed, cried, planned and dreamed. They’d explored the large and rugged grounds of the big house that was home, always finding something new to occupy those long hot summers.
They were equals, partners in mischief, king and queen of their castle. Childhood sweethearts, unaware of the reality of life in the real world.
Yes, they knew there were differences, different homes, different schools, one big and expensive, the other small and, well, ordinary. But those things never mattered, they’d just always been there, always had each other. Sam knew his dad worked for Liz’s father, but it never impacted on their lives, or not that Sam and Liz noticed.
But just recently little bits of the real world were creeping in.
Both now 16,and on the edge of adulthood, they could no longer pretend that there were no differences.
Sam had been working now for well over two years, under-gardener for Liz’s parents, tending the garden that had once been their playground. Liz, however, was about to leave for finishing school in England, Something she dreaded. She had pleaded with her parents not to go. But they’d decided that it was best, that it would teach her a sense of class, and encourage more suitable friendships.
Last night they’d said “Goodbye” both sobbing helplessly, hidden away at the far end of the garden.
“I won’t let them change me” promised Liz, “I’ll always be your friend Sam”
Too torn for words Sam could only nod. “I’ll write too, and I’m coming home for Christmas” offered Liz, swallowing back her own tears. “Hey….you’re working now, maybe you could save up for the boat fare and visit.” Said Liz, suddenly finding a little light at the end of the tunnel.
Sam sighed, “You know that can’t happen Liz, I’d never be able to afford the fare, or a passport, and, well, they’d not let me go, they don’t want us to be friends Liz.”
“But it’s not fair” exclaimed Liz, really crying now, huge sobs that shook her whole body. “Why now? Why let us be friends when we were little? Why is it suddenly wrong?”
“Because” said Sam, and paused, “because, I’m black and this is South Africa, but one day it’ll change, one day…..”
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