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The Angel of Stalag 9B (Healing story #2)

He fed me rats.

They starved us in Stalag 9B, the sounds of our sick pittered like rain through floor-cracks, drip-drip-dripping on the Jews they kept below us. Crowded. So crowded up there, we slept in shifts. Gaunt with starvation, bones too brittle to hold me up… I couldn’t help it anymore. I collapsed.

At 35, I had been weak since childhood when I battled rheumatic fever. Now, after battling at the Bulge, I would surely die.

But my cell mate fed me rats. Caught 'em with his bare hands, made me eat. I was mindless with fever, couldn't ask his name, couldn't resist him. I ate them. Ate the rats.

And I lived. Lived to love a wife. Lived to love six children who loved makin’ me jump outta my skin by pinchin’ my frostbitten toe. I got them back with relentless teasing. .
Laughter—I knew laughter. I knew poverty and family and struggle and laughter. I didn’t know his name… but I knew my grandchildren.

All because he fed me rats.

Thirty-three years after, I saw him again. Him, with his Bob Hope-chin, cocoa-colored skin, and eyes that gleamed and said, “We are overcomers.” From my hospital bed where the monitor’s beeping got slower, slower, slower… there he was, the angel of Stalag 9B, ready once again to shepherd me safely.

I know his name now.

Alistair Knows Al Is There (Healing story #3)

The Kindness (Spring Healing story #1)