Rising Above the Clouds

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

Hate clouds your thinking. Touching bases with an old friend opened one's eyes.

I can’t believe I talked to Dillon today.  His grandmother used to live down the street from my grandmother.  It has been almost fifty-five years since I talked to him.

I am not sure when I have ever laughed so much.  He was the youngest of three boys.  His two older brothers were twins and sort of sickly all the time.  Every time his grandmother had to take them to the doctor, Dillon got to come and stay at our house.  You might remember him from one of my earlier stories.  He is the frog I kissed.

I had wanted to marry a cowboy so went looking for a bullfrog to kiss.  I told his grandmother right out that the only time I had kissed him was when he was a bullfrog.  He was crying all over the place.  He was so mad at me.  He thought it would be cool to be a frog.  I even tried to give him some mud pies complete with dead flies on top.

My sister and I got Dillon to do just about anything we wanted him to do.  He would play dress-up with us and wear my daddy’s hats and shoes.  We made a mess out of the ties. We played house, shopkeeper, and even leapfrog.  That one did not go over too well.  His legs were short.  He always had to jump off my back instead of over it.

I know his home life was a hard one for him.  His brothers were mean to him.  It was well known and repeated to him that the only reason his mother had him was so he could help keep his brothers alive.  He always had to give blood and tissue to help keep them alive.

The years passed and when one of the twins had to have a kidney, Dillon supplied it.  He lived in fear that the other brother would need one too.  He did not doubt for a minute that they would sacrifice his life to save one of them.  He got fed the best food and to stay healthy so he could be of good use to them.  It was just the way he lived from day today.  He hated everything.

Once when he came over, he came in and saw me playing with my cat and her new kittens on the floor of my closet.  He sat down.  He picked up a kitten and squeezed it until it died.  I was horrified.  I dragged him by the leg out of the room.  My grandmother said the hate had taken over and he was not responsible for what he was doing.  We started a routine when he came over.  We would get a trash can and put it in front of him.  He would tell us the hate he was feeling.  “I hate broccoli”.  We wrote it down on paper and let him throw away the hate.  He once listed his brothers, each separately.  As he put the slip of paper with their names on it in the trash he started to cry.  “I don’t hate them, but I hate being around them.  They like to hurt me.  They enjoy it.  The only time they ever laugh is when they are hurting me.  “What does hate mean?”  He had asked my grandmother the question.

“Well, hate is something that you cannot find one good thing to say about something.  Like broccoli.  Can you think of anything good to say about broccoli?”  You cannot hate something if you find one thing about it that you like.  Dillon thought about that for a while.  Then before he threw all the little pieces of paper into the fire, he took out the slips with his brother’s names.  It was okay, they were funny, even if they hated him, he could not say he honestly hated them.

The routine of getting rid of all the hate each time he came over made it possible for him to stop wanting to kill something, like another kitten. His life had been a very sad one because of the constant sacrifices he had to make to keep his brothers alive.  Their meanness had grown.  Hate was the only thing the family seemed to be able to do.

I had lost touch with him as I grew older, and we moved away from my grandmother.  He told me about my grandmother teaching him how to do the goal planning butterfly.  That surprised me but it made sense.  She would never leave a child unable to defend himself.  I had a thinking cap.  My grandmother had made him one as well.  Every time he would dream up some ugly scheme to pull on his brothers, he would put on the thinking cap.

He said a lot of what he pulled on them were ideas that came from me.  Putting glue in their shoes so their feet would get stuck.  Using stink balms in their bed.  The running water sound when they were dreaming.  Made them wet the bed every time. Drawing pictures on their faces while they slept was also a fun thing for him to do.

We found ourselves laughing through all the pranks he had done to them and even the ugly ones they had done to him.  I started trying to figure out what had happened to Dillon.  It was certain he had not just called because he found me on social media.  There had to be a reason.  We found ourselves talking about the hate that seemed to be such a big thing for his family.  He said he did not remember anyone ever saying, “I love you.” To any other member of the family.

I told him about how Grandmother used to prepare for his grandmother’s visits.  She would pray for guidance to keep her cool.  The woman was so full of hate things stopped working when she was around.  Grandmother had said that your grandmother was in the habit of hating everything.  There was no joy in anything she did.  He agreed with me.

After my family had relocated to West Texas for Daddy’s work Dillon kept coming over to see my grandmother. He said she saved him as a person.  She introduced him to joy.  “How did she do that?”  I could not imagine him making the statement.

“She turned me into a gardener and set me on the path to studying landscaping techniques.  I learned to find joy in flowers, trees, and things that were natural.”  He paused in the conversation, and I could hear that he was crying a little.

“What about the mind planner?  I had one for many years.  Every new project started with creating one.  The mind planner was a large butterfly with all the shapes that made up the wings.  It looked a little like a stain-glass window of a butterfly.  Each small section of the wings created steps towards a goal.  The different steps it was going to take to achieve the goal were listed on paper strips and I could see exactly what I needed to do to reach my goals.  It was wonderful to see each plan.  I loved that butterfly mind map.”

I could tell he needed to talk so I just kept asking questions so he could get his story out.  He said his grandmother helped him through one of the hardest times in his life.  He went on to explain.

One of his big brothers needed a kidney.  They tested Dillon’s compatibility and of course, it was a good match.  They did not dare take one from the other twin because he might not survive the operation.  They did not ask Dillon anything.  They took him, put him in the hospital, and then took one of his kidneys and put it in his brother.  They both survived the surgery.  Years later after learning that the other brother would also need a kidney, Dillon had run away from home.  He was so afraid they would find some way to take the only one he had left.

He stayed with my grandmother for a while.  He said that her kindness to him was rarely deserved but always accepted.  His anger and hate were deep inside, and it seemed to consume him inside.  He never knew when it would burst out and cause someone else pain.  He was very careful not to ever allow it to harm my grandmother since for most of his life she was the only friend he ever had.  He felt unwanted.  He felt there was not much value in himself as a person.  He had become a habitual hater.

“What changed?  What is the purpose of your call?”

“Jane, you and your grandmother are the only two people in the world who would understand how deep my hate ran.  Then one day, about twenty years ago, I met an angel.  No matter what I did or said, she loved me.  I took advantage of that.  I courted her.  I married her.  I used her.  I abused her.  Then my hate caught up with me and slammed me down.  My one and only kidney were failing me.  I was on constant dialysis.  My wife never complained.  She never had anything but praise for anything I did.  She loved my landscaping work and kept me busy by photographing my work.  She sang all the time.  She had a sweet, soprano voice.  When I would be at my worst, she would break into a song to soften the blows.  I once asked her how she could love me after all I had done to her.  She said because I needed it the most.”

“Dillon, I am so glad you got to know that kind of love.  I noticed you have been talking about her as if she is gone.  Is she still with you?”  Suddenly, I could hear him crying.  I knew that we were getting close to some revolution in his thinking.  “Dillon, do you want to continue?  Tell me if you want to wait, call back, or what.”

“Jane.  I buried my wife but not before I found out that she had willed me her kidneys.  I had no idea she had made the arrangements with the doctor that when she was close to her end, that if it were possible, they were to give her kidneys to me.  I was completely unaware of all this.  You know me, always only thinking of myself.  I was on dialysis and collapsed.  She had had an auto accident and I did not even ask about her.  When I woke up out of my comma, my wife had passed, and I had two kidneys instead of just one broken down one.  She sacrificed her life to save mine.”  I could hear him crying again.  I thought back to the little crying cowboy that was upset because he found out he used to be a frog.

“Dillon, talk to me.”

“Jane, I cannot hate anymore.  Hate no longer clouds my thinking.  I find laughter and beauty in everything now.  I enjoy making others happy.  I enjoy being kind.  I know the good in her is what gave me the life I always wanted.  She was so good.  I feel so guilty for what it cost her.  She helped me rise above the clouds and see clearly.  It is the hate that makes things seem foggy.  Love and hopefully clear the path for me as well as anyone who needs it.”

“I am talking to you today, Jane so you will write down what I have said and maybe save someone else from throwing away a lifetime of hate.  I am the only one left in my family.  Like hate, they all destroyed themselves.  Tell others what I have told you.  Help them rise above the clouds so they too can see clearly.  I am extremely healthy now.  Both physically and mentally.  I am not alone anymore either.  I spend time every day finding someone else to help.  Like the butterfly planner.  I fill up all the steps, follow them and achieve goals.  I am teaching others to do it as well.”

“Dillon I am so grateful for you calling me.  I promise to tell your story.”

“Tell it on the wings of hope.”

“I promise.” 

Submitted: September 30, 2021

© Copyright 2023 Texasjane. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:


D Mays

Fabulous story. You bring out the best every time! Thank you!

Thu, September 30th, 2021 11:21am


Thank you so much for your response. Good to hear from you.

Thu, September 30th, 2021 4:29am

Sune Mans write

Loved your inspiring message! Thanks

Thu, September 30th, 2021 5:47pm


Thank you so much for your response. It is time to rise above the hate that clouds our thinking.

Thu, September 30th, 2021 3:12pm

D. Thurmond / JEF

Amen to that! --- This is the kinds of stories that life the sagging soul, well Done Jane.

Thu, September 30th, 2021 6:21pm


Thank you so much. I appreciate your response. So glad you could help me share it.

Thu, September 30th, 2021 3:14pm

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