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Love Thy Neighbor

A story of love for your brothers and sisters

By Joe PattersonPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 4 min read
Love Thy Neighbor
Photo by Kashawn Hernandez on Unsplash

Clifton Washington is a 60 year old Black male living in the inner city. He is on the way home to his neighborhood riding the city bus. “They say the grass is always greener on the other side.” Clifton thought. “I wonder how true that is?” Clifton thought a lot about the ups and downs in his life as a Black man living in the Black community. In this moment he was angry because the pain he watched one Black man give to another. “He shot that poor boy in cold blood, another young brother. He had a future ahead of him. Places to go, life goals to accomplish and it was all taken away from him at such a young age.”

“This is why I hate my own community so much. We always hold each other back and we can’t stand to see each other doin well.” Clifton gets off at the bus stop just a block away from his house. Making his way home Clifton makes note of the scenery around him: There’s a group of children playing at the park across the street, four elderly women are sitting in the rocking chairs on their porch talking to each other, a small group of young men are shooting dice in front of a friend’s house, and an a fight is breaking out between a group of women right next door to where Clifton lives.

As Clifton grabs ahold of the door knob to go in his house he suddenly starts to feel a sharp pain engulf his chest. It stops him right in his tracks as the pain deepens. He closes his eyes as the pain sharpens, with him barely able to hear the faint ramblings around him that he was focused on before. He briefly opened his eyes as he rocked back and forth in pain, but his vision was blurry. Clifton realized that he was having a heart attack. He tried to open his mouth and yell to catch someone’s attention, but the sharp pain in his heart stopped him short of making a sound. As he slowly stumbled back from the door Clifton fell back from the steps and onto the grass in his yard, slipping out of consciousness.

Clifton finally opened his eyes and found himself laying on a hospital bed. He heard a beeping to the right of where he was laying and saw a hat he was hooked up to an IV. Clifton also found himself surrounded by a number of guest including: one of the girls who were fighting door to him named Keisha, one of the young men he saw gambling named Trevor, two of the children who he saw playing at the park named Ahmad and Destiny and the young girl who Keisha was fighting with named Adele.

“What are you all doing here?” Clifton asked confused. “It was us that brought you here Mr. Washington.” Trevor answered. “Yeah.” Keisha began. “When me and Adele saw you collapse we stopped fighting and rushed to your side.” “And you?” Clifton asked looking in the direction of Ahmad and Destiny. “As soon as we saw you fall out we ran in our house and called an ambulance.” Ahmad answered. “I know we get on your nerves on the regular Mr. Washington, but you really do mean a lot to us and the rest of the community.” Adele added.

Clifton felt overwhelmed by the support of the group. He realized in that moment how loved he was and how much he loved all of them underneath his grumpiness. “So what happens now?” Clifton asked the group. “Well we’re all gonna stay with you to make sure you’re ok until visiting hours are over.” said Keisha with a smile. “Then me, Adele and Keisha are gonna look after your house until you get out.” Trevor added. We all know you wanna see the community doin better Mr. Wash and we’re gonna start doin better if that means keeping you around.” said Keisha as she held Adele’s hand in solidarity.

“Me and Ahmad will keep the house clean for you while you’re away.” Destiny started. “And we’ll all be back to get you when it’s time for you to go home.” Ahmad continued. In that moment Clifton felt overwhelmed with love. As he sat with a smile the group all laid hands on him letting him know that they would all be there for him and in that moment his heart was changed. Clifton now understood that though his community has its problems, there is more good than there is the misguided bad and that if there was a chance to help them grow and be better than everything he resented, then it was his duty to help them grow and be better. Clifton loved his people and he was not giving up on them, just like they were not giving up on him.

“I will be right here waiting for you all when it is time for me to come home.” Clifton said with a smile. “And we will be right here with you too.” Adele concluded.

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About the Creator

Joe Patterson

Hi I'm Joe Patterson. I am a writer at heart who is a big geek for film, music, and literature, which have all inspired me to be a writer. I rap, write stories both short and long, and I'm also aspiring to be an author and a filmmaker.

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  • Windchime2 months ago

    What a moving and heart-warming story you got here Joe. Love it!

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