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As Mrs. Downen turned to leave, she pulled Jeff aside.

"Maggie has always surprised people with what she was capable of," said the mother. "Maybe she will, again."

After giving her daughter a hug and kiss, Mrs. Downen climbed into her car and drove away. Immediately, Maggie broke into tears, so that Jeff had to lead her back into the house.

Hearing a commotion in the living room, Debbie woke up and wandered into the room where she saw her father trying to comfort Maggie.

"It's all right," Jeff was saying, in a soothing voice.

"I want my Mom!" cried Maggie.

Seeing her opportunity, Debbie walked over to Maggie and climbed onto her lap. Maggie was surprised by this act, but appreciated it greatly, for she hugged the child with all her might, until Debbie had to ask for some room to breath. It had been a long time since Debbie had had a mother, and the embrace was enough assurance for the small girl that Maggie would love her as her own. Jeff kissed Debbie on the cheek, and sighed contentedly.

"What's the end of one thing, is the beginning of another," observed Vera, from her vantage in the corner.

As the day ended, the small circle of friends took comfort in each other's company and looked forward to the days ahead.

"Therefore shall a [woman] leave [her] father and [her] mother, and shall cleave unto [her husband]: and they shall be one flesh."
~ Genesis 2:24 ~

"Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows."
~ Matthew 10:29-31 ~

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