“Wake up Pepper it’s time to get up.” “Wha..it's not morning the sun isn’t even awake yet, Tom why do I have get up when the sun isn’t up yet?” “The sun will be up soon enough but I told you today is a big day for you. Now come on let’s get up I have your clothes ready to go and breakfast is on the table waiting for you.”
After Pepper gets out of bed and changes out of her pajamas into black terry cloth shorts and a bright lime green t-shirt she puts on her white socks with her white teeny shoes. She heads into the kitchen and sees a plate of bacon and eggs with a glass of milk on the table. “Where’s mommy” she asks in a sleepy voice “Mommy is still sleeping so eat up.”
After she gets done eating Tom takes her down to the basement where he has all kinds of things. “What’s the big bag hanging there? What’s that long twisty string that goes up to the celling?” “Pepper that bag hanging over there is called a punching bag and that twisty string is called a climbing rope hanging.” “Oh…” “Now today is the first day of your training of what’s called hand to hand combat.”
Pepper looks down at the ground unsure of what to say because she doesn’t understand what that means. “Pepper it’s ok… now come here I want you to watch what I do and then do it to the best you can, do you understand?” “Yes” she watches Tom as he puts his hands up in front of him and closes his fists. One hand is a little closer to his face and the other is further out Pepper watches as his further out hand moves out and then back to the place it was. He switches hands and does the same with the other.
“This is called punching now you try” “she copies what he does and then switches hands. “Good job now do it again” she does it again and again and again. After 15 minutes her little arms drop down and she looks over at Tom “Tom my arms are tired can I stop now?” “No not until I say so, keep going you’re doing great.” “But my arms and hands hurt and I’m tired” “no complaining Pepper, when you feel like stopping that’s when you have to say to yourself I can do this and I’m not going to give up.” She slowly raises her arms and does punching motions again, an hour later Tom tells her to stop.
It’s now 6:00am and they walk back up the stairs from the basement and into the kitchen where he gets her a glass of water and an ice pack for her arms. Go sit on the couch and in 2 hours we are going to start again.” She takes the cold ice packs in one hand and her glass of water in the other and sits down on the couch. Her little arms feel so sore and she doesn’t understand why Tom is making her do punching motions but what can she do she’s only 4 years old with a mother who drinks and does drugs and a father who they are or were running from, Pepper only has Tom to rely on so she’s going do what he says.
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