These aren’t my stories, but I’m going to tell them.
Let’s call her Dana. Dana was going for a walk near her home. It was a dirt road. Her high-school reunion was coming up, she was getting into shape.
A truck pulled beside her. He slowed down. He rolled his window open, he asked if she needed a ride.
Something was wrong. It was the way he looked at her.
Before she knew it, he’d jumped out of the vehicle. She tried to get away. He overpowered her and threw her into a ditch.
She landed a few good hits to his face, but he outweighed her.
He used a pocketknife. He pressed it against her. She screamed something. She doesn’t remember which words she used, but she aimed them toward heaven.
His body froze. Completely. He was like a statue, only meaner. She wanted to run, but she was too scared.
That’s when she saw another man standing above her attacker. He was tall, with a calm face.
“It’s gonna be okay, Dana,” the tall man said. “Go on home, sweetie, everything’s gonna be
Jim was dying. A seventy-something Vietnam veteran with high morals, pancreatic cancer, and a two-packs-a-day habit.
Doctors said his cancer would kill him.
Treatments were hell. Jim met a man in the VA hospital. A homeless man with a duffle bag. A fellow vet.
They shared a few cigarettes. They swapped stories. They understood each other. Jim invited the man home.
The man stayed in Jim’s guest room. He stayed for several months.
He became Jim’s caregiver. He wiped Jim’s mouth after episodes of vomiting, he stayed up late during sleepless nights, he helped Jim bathe. He’d pat Jim’s back when nausea got bad, saying, “It’s gonna be alright.”
And he was there on Jim’s final day, too. He waited in the den while Jim’s family gathered around his bed.…