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A shiver ran down my spine as I sat trembling in a kitchen chair at home. My five-year-old mind was trying to wrap itself around the truth: My dear, precious, comforting stuffed animal rabbit named Pink Bunny might not be coming home. As my mom looked down at me with a look of pity on her face, I whimpered at that terrible thought. I closed my eyes, and started to cry at the possibilities of Pink Bunny’s fate in that awful airport.
I could see her lying on her side in a trash bag, being carried down the isle of an airplane by a flight attendant. On her way to a dumpster in some strange, foreign place.
Or perhaps, another girl taking her home and adopting Pink Bunny as her new prized possession, lucky to have found her sitting alone in an empty passenger seat of an airplane.
I felt my mom’s loving arms wrap around me in a tight hug as she whispered, “Don’t worry, sweetheart. Daddy is on his way to the airport to look for P.B. He should find her.”
I turned and pressed my head into her neck, still crying, and went over the day’s traumatic event again...
Happily I plopped down in the worn, blue airplane seats, excited to be going on another airplane, but also excited to go home.
“Mommy, can you get P.B. out of my backpack? She brings good luck.”
“Oh yeah?” My mom playfully answered while she dug around my cluttered backpack. “Good luck for what, possibly?”
“So I won’t barf again like last time.” I squirmed and giggled in my seat, and Pink Bunny was handed to me. Closing my eyes, I felt her soft, fluffy pink ears. The feeling of the special spot on the inside of her ear always calmed me down.
“He he,” I thought. “As soft as usual.” And I drifted into a deep sleep, dreaming about hundreds of Pink Bunnies hopping around me, tickling me as we ran and played in meadows of golden flowers.
It was hours and hours later when my mom gently petted my hair. “Time to get up, Maggie.”
I opened my eyes with a grunt and realized I was in an airplane, and now apparently at the airport. Groggily, I pulled the airplane blanket off of me and grabbed my backpack. I slid off the seat, walked out into the isle, and stumbled through the door of the airplane.
I looked up, and saw my brother, Billy, grin at me and start running down the hallway. I recognized the invitation to a race and sped after him. My feet thudded on the ground as Billy and I darted down the long, metal hallway. We reached the end, my small legs carrying me into the large open airport just a second before he reached the end. Our parents smiled down at us, and then took our hands as they led us through the airport. Weaving though the crowds, we went first to the luggage pick-up. People were everywhere. I was overwhelmed with the amount of people. I saw people with dark skin, people with squinty eyes, and people talking weirdly, like they were from a different planet. Soon my parents said they had retrieved all of our suitcases from the airplane and we walked to our parked car. Finally we were on our way home.
Time ticked by slowly, minutes turning into hours, turning into what felt like days, until we pulled into our awaiting driveway. The brick house looked so cozy compared to the cold metal airport. I shrieked with excitement to be home.
Grabbing my backpack and Barbie suitcase, I ran upstairs to my room and flung my small body onto the bed. I laid there for a few seconds then jumped up and opened my backpack.
“Pink Bunny! We’re finally home!” I squealed happily. But then my happy face melted into a confused scowl as I couldn’t find what I was looking for.
“Daaaaaaddy!” I yelled downstairs, my nose peeking through the bars of the stairwell.
“What, hun?” he asked, meeting me at the bottom of the stairs.
“I can’t find P.B.” I returned, breathless with anxiety.
“Really? Are you sure she’s not in your backpack?” I nodded. “How about your suitcase?” I paused, then scrambled back upstairs and tore through my suitcase. I threw my clothes out of it and onto the floor, even though I knew my mom would yell at me later for making a mess. Nothing.
“Dad!” I ran downstairs. “She’s not there either.”
“Well don’t worry, I’m sure she’s just playing hide-and-go-seek.”
“She needs to stop playing! It’s not very nice of her.” My voice trembled as I replied.
“Hm. That’s interesting,” my dad said as he zipped up his suitcase. “Not there either...” Looking around with his hands on his hips, his face brightened with an idea. “How about I tell your brother and mom to check their stuff?”
“Ok...” I replied. I sighed then plopped myself down on a kitchen chair to wait.
“Alright then.” From my perch on the chair I was able to watch as he walked out to the car where my mom was helping Billy get his suitcase from out of the trunk of the red van. Her head turned towards him as he touched her shoulder. Her face clouded over, and she shook her head. Dad said a few more words that I couldn’t hear, and then she picked up the suitcases and walked into the house.
“Sweetheart,” she told me, “Daddy is going to the airport to look for P.B. Don’t worry, I’m sure she’s fine. He’ll find her. You know how good she is at hide-and-go-seek.” I heard a car door slam shut and an engine turn on. I ran over to the door by the garage, and waved goodbye as tears rolled down my face. Soon my dad was out of sight down the street.
And so there I was, my tiny frame shivering in that kitchen chair on my mom’s lap, the inevitable weighing down on me. I laid limply in her arms as she stroked my hair, waiting for my dad. Billy attempted to make me laugh by laying on the ground in front of me and my mom, and made weird faces. But his loving effort to make me feel better was to no avail; nothing caught my attention, my only focus was the fate of my precious bunny.
Soon the day turned into evening, which morphed into night. Two hours passed like snails before my dad returned home.
Soon, just as I was about to fall asleep, I heard running footsteps in the garage. I perked up and rubbed my exhausted eyes, hope filling up my heart. Then my dad came in, holding Pink Bunny in his hands like a trophy.
I scrambled over to him, fresh tears coming to my eyes. My dad beamed when he saw my face radiating with happiness. He bent over and gently laid Pink Bunny in my arms. I pulled her close and her fuzzy pink fur brushed my skin like kisses, as if she had known she had happened and was greeting me with joyfulness. I ran my fingers through the special crease in her ear and then went over to my dad.
“Thank you so much, daddy,” I said, and then gave him a big hug.
He whispered back in my ear, “No problem, sweetie. I love you.”
“I love you too.”