Pam showed up at her brother Bill’s house with a small bedraggled child on either side of her and a suitcase in her hand and she wondered for the umpteenth time, if she was doing right by her children by separating them from their father. She sighed heavily as her tousled, russet hair and lined forehead reflected a far older person then she actually was. In truth, Pam felt about a thousand years old, even though she was only 35, and the bruises on her rib cage and back made her wince as she raised her arm to ring the doorbell. She knew her older brother would tell her, I told you so; but oddly Pam couldn’t help but love her husband Jimmy in spite of the many times he had beaten her. But when he started turning his drunken violence upon their two little girls Cindy and Sadie, Pam knew she had to leave Jimmy once and for all.
Maizie came bouncing to the front door and opened it with a wide grin on her face. Pam smiled weakly back and winced again as the teenage girl reached over to hug her and said excitedly: “Why Auntie Pam, I didn’t know you were coming for a visit today, Pop didn’t mention you were coming.” Not ready yet to explain herself, Pam looked at her kind-hearted niece and thought, not for the first time, how much like her deceased mother Megs, she was, with her warmth and cheerfulness. Maizie squatted down and spoke to both of the little girls and tickled them, as she said; “We are going to have such fun you two, wait ‘til you see my new pony, Manny.” The little girls squealed and giggled at the older girl’s antics and Pam was happy to hear them sounding excited and normal for a change, as they had both been so fearful and withdrawn since their father had hit them and locked them in a closet before turning on her, just days before. Maizie invited them in and Pam turned stiffly to her and asked “Is you Pa, in?” “Because I would like to speak to him, if he is within earshot?” Maizie noticed her aunt’s grimace as she turned to speak to her and answered: “Yes, Pa is just out in the barn, but you don’t look so good auntie maybe you should sit down here in Ma’s favourite chair and I will find him for you,” She motioned to the large, beige chair with flouncy cushions and then when Pam carefully sat down, wincing yet again at the pain, Maizie became more concerned and said: “Right, you two come with me and let your Ma rest and we will go and find Pa and perhaps if you are really good, I will let you give some sugar cubes to Manny.” The little girl’s faces lit up and they bounded out the back door after her and the screen door banged loudly on their way out. Pam, happy to be left alone, closed her eyes and rested and must have dozed off for a time, because she didn’t hear that anyone else had entered the room. Bill quietly tapped Pam on the shoulder and said; “Sis, are you Ok?” “Maizie said you looked a might peaky to her, and I am wondering if that man of yours has been getting himself soused and been beating on you again?” Pam numbly nodded and as tears welled up in her eyes, she said brokenly; “Look Bill, I know you and your girl have been through a lot in the last year, what with Megs dying from cancer and you trying to raise that little scrap by yourself; but I had nowhere else to go.” “I mean it is one thing when he beats on me; but I will not let anyone lay a hand on my children, no matter how sorry they are afterwards.”
Bill felt a big lump rise in his throat and he hugged his younger sister to him gently and said: “Sis, if there is one thing Megs’s blasted illness has taught me, is to value each day like it is your last and you did right by coming here with your little girls, and that’s a fact.” “Do we need to go to the doctor though; because I will wager you have more than one bruise from that animal, what with you being a weak-kneed midget and him being a six-foot monster.” “Nah, I reckon at least one of my ribs is broken and there is not much you can do for something like that, except rest and give it time,” Pam responded. “Well Pam, you can stay as long as you like; but be forewarned my Maizie has found God and has a new wild mustang pony in the bargain.” Her latest thing too, which she says is biblical is “laying hands on the sick so they will recover.” Pam’s eyes widened and she replied, “Well, I don’t know much about God; but I tell you big brother, I will take all the help I can get.”
At that precise moment Maizie walked in, with the two excited little girls trailing behind her and they both said in exuberant voices: “Ma, Ma, you should see Maizie’s pony, he is beautiful, even though he is a little bit bony and he ate sugar cubes right out of our hands.” Maizie grinned broadly and chimed in “Yep, Manny is my miracle horse and full of courage and sass and I am just the same.” Pa says we have “Intrepidness” Maizie added, “and I reckon God creates us like that, and if we can somehow tap into that strength, it helps us to carry on, in spite of our troubles.” Pam looked at Maizie thoughtfully and said; “But what does it mean Maizie to have intrepidness?” Maizie gazed intently at her aunt and said with conviction: “To be steadfastly, fearless no matter what comes your way; and to know that God is with you to pick of the pieces when you fail down.” Pam looked amazed at the young girl’s mature words and replied: “I reckon that is the kind of faith I am looking for to start over again and with someone like that lookin’ out for me, then I really can’t go too far wrong, now can I?” Maizie reached over and squeezed Pam’s hand and said: “It is going to be alright auntie, you just wait and see; just say goodbye heartache and hello new day and I guarantee you that works a treat for me every time.”