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Peter watches through the cracked door of the bedroom, as she comes running, a wicker basket swings in her hand, her naturally, curly blonde ringlets bouncing with each step. Lydia is her name, and quite ftting, as she speaks with a melodious lilt in her small, but a grown up voice. In their short time together Lydia and Peter, her rabbit, become close. So close that she asks her parents permission to bring him along on their family vacation to the beach cottage.
Now in her room, at the cottage, Lydia frees Peter from the confnes of his box for the week. Lydia shows Peter the rest of the house, then they play hide and seek. At bedtime, just like at home, Peter sits quietly while Lydia reads to him, in her most animated voice, one of her bedtime stories. She fnishes the story and vaults of the bed. Peter jumps. Lydia bends her head back and twirls around with her arms extended, her nightgown balloons. She stops suddenly and gallops to Peter. She brings her small fisted hands up to her mouth, to quiet her excitement as she prances lightly in place. Bending down Lydia whispers they must go to sleep now or they cannot go to the beach tomorrow. She jumps into bed and tells Peter they will do everything together! They are best friends forever!
Lydia pulls the window shade down past the sill and let’s go. A loud sucking snap follows as the shade retreats upward, the pull string slaps the glass. Intense morning light blinds, the sparsely furnished, whitewashed room. Lydia sets her basket down on the antique ladder-backed chair by the door and opens the lid. With one hand she grabs her straw hat from the back of the chair and plops it onto her head. Lydia, mindful of her mother, ties her hat against the beach wind. Now ready, she gently picks up Peter. She tells him that today they will have the best fun together ever. Lydia smiles and holds Peter up to her face. Finally, she says to him, we are going to the beach. She pauses for a moment and fingers the tiny bell on Peter’s blue satin collar, smiles broadly at him, then puts him in her basket, carefully lowering the hinged lid.
In the dark, Peter is tossed around. He’s uncomfortable and disoriented with the swing of the basket as she runs to the beach. He hears Lydia laugh, but this is not having fun. He’s wanting out just as the basket stops, with a thud. Peter has no way of knowing but thinks they must have arrived at the beach. He hears a strange whooshing sound along with the sounds of birds (he has seen and heard birds from the cottage window and at their home). Tiny specks of light now pierce the baskets weave. It’s warmer now. Peter waits patiently for the lid to open. Nothing happens. He thinks she has made a new game, then not understanding, as he hears her voice fade away to nothing but the sound of the steady whooshing. Birds break the silence, he strains to hear Lydia. Nothing. She said they would do everything together, best friends forever. So he tells himself to be patient and wait. She’ll come.
In the confinement of the basket Peter’s neck dampens, and his collar loosens. The heat becomes intense. He watches as a few bugs fnd their way through the weave in the basket. He decides he does not like the beach, but with the heat, his body begins to relax. Peter, sad and lonely, still waits for his friend, Lydia, to return, for them to see the beach together like she promised. How much time has passed, he has no idea. He’s tired, wanting only to sleep.
Peters ears are now drooped, he is unable to hear the her laughter that is slowly returning in the distance. He lays down his head and slowly spreads out on the bottom of the basket. His collar slides off as his eyes close to the specks of light. The bugs begin to bite him but Peter now feels nothing.
Ashes to ashes, chocolate to sand, Peter dies. Today, Lydia will learn a very valuable lesson. Never neglect your friends, and to never, ever, waste chocolate.