When we first brought them home in that cardboard box filled with straw, Martha’s and mine heart and brain swelled with pride and all these possibilities. Parenthood! Rabbit parenting! Soon the apartment started smelling of their fur and our crushed dreams.
From inside the living room cupboard, Carol and Henry have gnawed a hole to peek out from at will. Sometimes they’ll listen to us, but mainly not. They mostly feed on carrots, but what choice do they have? We call them our rabbits of hazard, because they have these little conversations we don’t understand. Like at tea parties, and also elsewhere. They might be plotting a coup against their parents, their creators. “We made you!“ I’ll yell in their face then. This, at least, I know. That time hasn’t come yet. Everybody is always waiting.
The perfect companion animal will lick your feet and put on your “you” suit to go to work for you in the morning. I discussed this at length with Carol on Thursday, but she only rubbed her nose with her right paw. Bored. Carol, you disappoint me most days. “I made you!” I whisper through my palms, and you just lick your long rabbit ears.
Is Henry a better rabbit child? It’s hard to tell from as far away as he hides inside the cupboard. He is not bold like Carol, yet not more useful either. I ask Martha if maybe we made a mistake by becoming parents. “We were too young and naive,” I mutter. Such a let-down. Especially recently. Martha went to the rabbit bookstore and told me this: there was a graphic novel, and it was about us! Our kids sold our secrets to some literary agent and did not even tell us about it. From now on we’ll only whisper to each other in bed until we fall asleep.
Melanie Boeckmann's writing has been published in TheNewerYork, Sleet, Fat City Review, and Hoot Review, among others. She is a columnist for Side B Magazine. Find her on twitter @m_ian.