Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Good Deal

As unwilling captives, we breathed in exhaust fumes mixed with dust and a little fresh air that blew through the open windows, in clouds. The school bus sailed along the gravel road until it hit a pot hole which sent its occupants half a foot in the air and back down again, in their seats. At the front of the bus, a small child flew into the aisle and sat there.

My friend, *Jack Tate, with his back to the bus driver and feet in the aisle, faced me from the seat diagonal to mine. I sat on the edge of mine leaning in, while holding onto the bar at the top, to hear what he was saying. I could see Jack’s mouth forming words, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying.
“What?”

“I have baby rabbits for sale.”

We’d left childhood behind and blindly walked into adolescence without much warning. Jack was a year younger, a nice kid, easy on the eyes with dark blond hair and beaming smile. He was my bus friend.

“How much?”  
“Two dollars.”

“That’s a good deal,” I said, not knowing if it was or not. Our conversation ended when Jack waded through the kids in the aisle and got off the bus.
I don’t remember how much bargaining or pleading I did that night at home, to be able to buy a bunny, but the next thing I remember I was at Jack’s house buying one of his rabbits. I named her Suzy. 

Suzy was a doe with soft white fur and pink eyes. Her front feet were dainty, but her back feet were long with sharp claws. I learned fast how to hold her to avoid injury. For me, it was love at first sight. Suzy did her rabbit thing and I provided most of what she needed to grow into an adult. That summer, I planted a garden just for Suzy so she’d have fresh lettuce every day. When her trust in me grew, we bonded and soon I had introduced her to a leash (baling twine) so that we could take short walks together--girl and rabbit.
I spent hours sitting in shaded clover patches, my long skinny legs outstretched, with my rabbit grazing from the safety of a rope. Even though she seemed content, I recognized wanderlust in Suzy's pink eyes. Maybe she longed for another rabbit or a greener yard. I knew the instinct was there and how one clover could lure her to another, without a thought of me or the consequences.

One dew covered morning, I rushed outside to feed Suzy grabbing a handful of lettuce on the way. That day, I planned to do something that young pet owners often neglect, clean her cage and go for another walk after that. But, as I walked up the hill, I could see Suzy’s cage and that she wasn’t waiting for me at the door as usual. I ran over the slick grass to her hutch only to find that the door was not latched and Suzy was gone.
The door wasn’t mangled and there was no evidence of a struggle, only a door left unlatched by me. I believed that Suzy was still alive and with a racing heart full of panic I started searching, our mini-farm, high and low for my bunny rabbit. After that, my family helped in the search walking the open fields behind our barn and the woods surrounding us.

We didn’t find Suzy. But, for weeks after that and even the next spring and summer, I watched for white spotted baby rabbits that would give evidence that Suzy had indeed survived and was a part of the wild rabbit community, but there were none.
Rabbit love is complicated—but only for the human.

~~~
 
*Name changed

13 comments:

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Teresa, thanks so much for stopping by to visit. I love this blog! If you would ever like to join us over at Sepia Saturday, we welcome you. http://sepiasaturday.blogspot.com/

Kathy M.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry about the lost bunny...

Cynthia said...

Aw...maybe Suzy was watching from afar. There is something about this sweet narrative that reminds me of The Velveteen Rabbit.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I'm hoping Suzy found a boy bunny and they ended up with a happy little bunny family (including a mischievous boy bunny named Peter who wore trousers. :) )

Carol Kilgore said...

Aw, that was a hard lesson to learn.

Hart Johnson said...

Oh--poor little you! I would have given anything for a rabbit as a kid, but I had white rats and as you noted, was terrible about cleaning the cage. And I had a close friend whose rabbit was eaten by a bear, so I get that there is farm trauma...

Arlee Bird said...

Enjoyed the story style. I never had any furry critters as a kid, but I used to see the rabbits in the canyon near our house when we lived in San Diego. Years later, when I was in my twenties, I was working on a magic show and one of my jobs was to tend to the rabbits. Hated cleaning the cage.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Linda Jackson said...

Eventhough I enjoyed this story, it left me feeling sad. It reads like my favorite kind of middle grade novel, so I hope you'll write more if even they do almost make me cry. :(

Lynn Proctor said...

this is very sweet and charming :)

Betty Manousos said...

oh, this is such a sweet and adorable story, but it left me feeling sad!

and that very impact on me or others is what makes a good writer!


and thank you for stopping by and leaving such a wonderful comment.

xoxo

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Teresa .. I can empathise with losing an animal and calling all over the neighbourhood to look for said lost cat in my case - we never did find her. Thankfully acquired another ...

Rabbit love is complicated - that I can believe ..

Good to see you here - happy weekend - Hilary

Judy SheldonWalker said...

My youngest had a rabbit that found a bad end due to a springer spaniel, and our neighbor had a rabbit they let go which I found hopping around my back yard but it would not let me catch it. All I caught was photos. :-)

Candilynn Fite said...

What a sweet story, even though Suzy escaped (that's what I'm telling myself). I followed over from your journaling woman blog. I admire you for concentrating, focusing, reining your writing, and putting yourself out there. It has a lovely feel here on the Ruralhood.