The Black Bunny: a short story

I don’t want to say too much as to not spoil the story, but if you are sensitive to the subject of miscarriage, this may not be the post for you. Thank you, and enjoy.

When I was a child, I had speech problems. I couldn’t seem to form words when they were needed. She’s shy, she has anxiety, her teeth are in the way. These were only a few of the excuses others gave on my behalf. I was shy and I did have big teeth; but that was only a part of the problem. I had no one to talk to. I was eight when my parents took me to the toy store and let me pick out whatever I wanted, in hopes I’d find a friend.

I picked up a fluffy rabbit toy. He was brown like the perfect chocolate ice cream: not too frozen but not too melted. His entire body was soft, his feet were large and heavy, and his ears hung down the sides of his face. I named him Peter, after my favorite bunny in children’s literature. Peter Cottontail. That brown mischievous bunny. He consumed every tear I shed as a little girl. He slept every night by my side. He traveled every place I went. Most of all, he let me talk to him. Whether my words were logical or not, he had a full comprehension of how I felt. I could tell by his eyes: round, black, and soothing.

Shortly after my sister was born, my family fell upon harder times, and we had to move in with my aunt and uncle. Poor Peter was trapped in a cardboard box in the attic. We only had one bedroom for my parents, my baby sister, and me. It was crowded we and didn’t have much room for all of our belongings. But we made it work.

I think my parents hoped I would forget about Peter. It rained a lot that season. So much that everything in the attic was destroyed by the water, mold, bugs, and rats. The black beads that were once in Peter’s body lied in a small pile in the corner of the box and other rolled from to side to side. Next to him, two cooking pots were filled with rain water and an old blanket reeked of mold. My dad did his best in saving Peter, now flat and sad, but had to call it. Time of death: 9:54am. I never forgot, but simply had to let him go.

We later moved to a house more spacious than our previous living arrangement. We owned very little but pulled together a beautiful home. The yard was huge and had a big climbing tree. The living room was a great size for rolling around on the floor. For the first time in a long while, I was happy. There came a day when my cousin visited from far away. My dad gathered us children up and took us to the toy store. We were given special instructions to each pick one item. There was not a single doubt in my mind; I knew exactly what I wanted.

I searched up and down each aisle and through countless shelves of Teddy Bears. And then, I saw it. I saw him. His brown fluff stood out to me. His cropped cotton tail faced the sky as if to say: I’m here, I’m here! I pulled him out from the other bunnies. He was instantly reincarnated in my arms: Peter Cottontail.

I took him home and sat him on my bed. I was so happy that he had found his way home to me. My sister had also picked a bunny out, a white one, and named it Snowball. My dad took a black one as well. I grew curious as to why he wanted a bunny. That’s when my parents told my sister and I that we were expecting another baby. That black bunny was for our little brother or sister.

I’m afraid the story takes a sad pause here. The baby didn’t make it. At age 11 at 4, my sister and I didn’t understand why.

The black bunny was placed on a shelf. He slumped over and his black piercing eyes never faded. Christmas passed. We never touched the bunny. A ring of dust gathered around his sitting figure. Spring went by. The beans in his body never rattled. He was a reminder of the child we had lost.

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One year later, my brother was born on January 23rd. It was both a snowy and sunny day. At just a few hours old, he had sewn our broken hearts together again. We found him in the time of need. The black bunny still sits on the shelf, but not as a sad reminder. He sits tall and proud and reminds us that we find what we need at the right times.

Even as an adult, I still have Peter sitting on my pillow. I hold his weighted body tight, careful to never lose him.

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