Chapter 36: It's just food!

I've been writing late tonight. Sam has decided that enough is enough. There is a part of the community that she cannot ignore, and so she does something about it. Despite being told that she doesn't belong and that it is dangerous there, Sam takes her food down to the fifth street neighborhood. It's a long section I'm posting here, but at the end Sam gets something that many of us take for granted every single day. Bear in mind that for a full year Sam has slept in nothing but a sleeping bag. 
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“You don’t have any cookies today Sam.”

The shy voice belonged to one of the few white teenagers that lived with her mom here in this neighborhood. Sam handed over her ladle to one of the volunteers that offered to serve for awhile.

“I’m very sorry Amy. I haven’t gotten paid yet, but I promise, when I open again, there will be cookies.”

“If you’re not open, why are you bringing food?”

“Would you like the truth?”

“Um, kind of.”

“Well, I noticed people like your mom, your dad, and all the rest of the people from this neighborhood never came in to my restaurant. I think..they may have felt left out. I never actually invited them in like I did to the people in my neighborhood. Now the people in my neighborhood are receiving flyers telling them I’m open again. But I’ll bet your neighborhood didn’t receive those flyers.”

“No.”

“So how were your mom and dad supposed to know that I’m open? How are the people on the streets down here supposed to know they can come and get a cup of coffee and sit in the warm for a while?”

“Do you mean how are the black people supposed to know?”

Sam shrugged, “I mean everyone from your neighborhood Amy. You aren’t black, even though your mom and dad are. Everyone is welcome in my restaurant. Even those little assholes that tried to ruin the whole thing. If they came in to eat, I’d feed them too.”

“They’d just want to wreck the place.”

“But if they did, I’d bet you dollars that they’d be stopped by the people who do eat in there.”

“I’d stop em. I like your restaurant.”

“Thank you Amy. I’m glad you like it.”

There were a lot of people who didn’t come down to eat. Some just stared out their windows. Sam couldn’t pretend the whole neighborhood loved her for being there either, but she did her best to ignore the hate filled glances cast her way. She was pretty sure that Mal might take any opportunity on the street to really hurt her, but even he wasn’t stupid enough to try it where others could catch him at it unless he had some deadly weapons, or a whole lot of backup. By the end of the day there wasn’t a scrap of food left. Sam returned home with every plate, every dish, every cup, and every piece of silverware. All the folding tables came back with the volunteers and the volunteers themselves were given a huge amount of gratitude for their part, and their restraint. 

Best of all was what she came back to that day. When everything had been put away, Sam went upstairs and found a neatly made twin platform bed with a brand new mattress and bright red wool blanket, a chest of dark stained drawers, and even a heavy bathtub in the bathroom area already hooked up. She had no idea how it had been done, but knew Tito had to have been part of it. Sam sat on the edge of the now comfortable room, and cried.

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