The Rabbit: a story

"Lop-earned bunny" Lineart by Thistleflight

“Lop-earned bunny” Lineart by Thistleflight

The rabbit was large.
No. The rabbit was huge.
Well, that’s not quite right either. The rabbit was all out of proportion with any size you might expect a rabbit to be, even those “Giant” rabbits you see being raised in Germany or Flemish…land (Belgium? Denmark? I never could get those place names straight). This rabbit was immense. Gigantic. And perfectly white, with black marble eyes. He sat back on his (large, powerfully muscular) haunches with his ears folded back, at ease nibbling on some grass or hay, nose twitching every which way. Acting like a rabbit might be expected to act. It’s just that he was so very very large. I guess we’ve established that but I can’t stop dwelling on it. You just don’t see rabbits this big. Dogs, maybe. Hogs, sometimes, like for instance at the State Fair. But a rabbit, never. “Hmm…” I said, to myself I suppose. I wasn’t talking to the rabbit. Who would talk to a gigantic rabbit? Not me. Nope.
To make matters more mysterious, I knew this rabbit. I mean, as rabbits go, this one was familiar to me, as a pet of about three years. This certainly seemed to be the same rabbit I had fed, pet, applied medicine to, trimmed nails, given an occasional bath. It’s just this whole size thing was throwing me off. (Understandably, in my opinion.) The rabbit before me was easily 50 times bigger than the rabbit I had known as Timothy, a mini lop. Mini. Short for miniature. Meaning small, smaller-than. Anyway, I had come home from work early that afternoon with a headache, the kind that just needed a good nap. When I got home I dumped my things just inside the door and headed straight for bed. I fell asleep after getting up once to darken the room with a blanket slung over the curtain rod. I slept deeply, as you do when taking an afternoon nap, dead to the world around you. I awoke and looked around, disoriented as you are after taking an afternoon nap when you’re out of the habit, and remembered where I was, reestablished the context of this moment within the larger day. I lay back on the pillow after raising my head to check the time, enjoying the feel of my brain without that particular pounding sensation of a headache.
(Tension. I knew you were wondering what type of headache it was: tension. Like a taut piano wire behind my neck and between my shoulders, pulling everything up under the back of my skull, pulling everything out of place and keeping it there in that wrong formation so that nothing felt right, everything felt wrong, and there was no sense in thinking about anything because all the thoughts were wrong too.)
I was definitely awake, let’s establish that. I had awoken from my nap, then got up, rinsed my face with cold water, and wandered about the house, wondering what to do with myself with this hidden hour of time before anything was expected of me, before dinner needed to be started or dishwasher emptied or whatever mundane task I took as mine to complete in the evening after coming home from work. The house was quiet and relatively orderly, nothing crying out for my attention. I wandered into the living room  and — well, there he was. And as I mentioned, I said “Hmm…” as I pretended (for whose benefit, I don’t know) to be calm and rational about the situation. At some point, I don’t recall exactly when as my memory gets very fuzzy around this time, I made it over to the stuffed chair to sit down, to avoid falling down I would guess. Timothy (I call him this for I’m certain it was still him) had turned to face me, half-hopping as he went. I found myself staring at him with my mouth agape, my mind gearing up from a standstill to a full-out sprint, my hands shaking with the surge of adrenaline and increased heart rate, my cheeks flush and my mouth dry. “Hah—“ I was attempting to ask “How?” but had no one to ask but Timothy, and despite the strangeness of his phenomenal growth spurt he did not seem to have gained the skill of speech, so asking him how he came to be so large didn’t seem to be appropriate. Timothy merely stared at me with those black marble eyes, twitching his nose as he often did, as if scanning the surroundings. After a few minutes my heartbeat began to recede to a less extreme pace and evened out somewhat as I took in details of the picture before me.
Looking at him, nothing seemed to indicate Timothy felt alarm, fear, or anxiety about his condition. He continued to look at me for a short while, then (hopped? loped?) back to his little trough of hay, now looking absurdly small. My first thought was, good God, how much hay is he going to need now? He already had quite a healthy appetite for the stuff. I was going to need to buy it by the bale, no doubt about it. I’ll have to start getting it direct from a farmer. I’ll have to ask my friend with a horse where she gets her hay…So went my thoughts as my former headache hinted it might make a return visit.
Timothy sat up on his haunches now, again seeming to scan the scene by sniffing the air, his nose uplifted and twitching with a certain look of sophistication that I had always noted when he sniffed in this manner. He came back over to where I sat considering him, with thoughts of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Eat me! Drink me! Which was it he needed?) and Clifford the Big Red Dog running through my hyped up brain. At least he wasn’t so big his paws were busting through the windows, or his foot through the chimney, I thought. He came to sit before me, then placed his front paws on my knees. They were roughly the same size as my hands, but retained their sweet delicate shape and velvety soft touch. I looked down at his paws and put mine over the top of his. Again Timothy’s eyes looked into mine, and I felt in that look reassurance, as if to say, “Well, who knows? But here we are.” I patted his paws then reached out to give him a rub along his neck and behind his ears, his fur now if it’s possible even softer than before, maybe just because it was so much thicker, surrounding my fingers as they rubbed those extra soft spots. His eyes closed slightly, and he slowly sat back down on all fours, settling down for a nap it seemed.
It was then I heard the front door opening, probably one of the kids getting home. I got up to…I don’t know what. Give them a warning or maybe just share this turn of events. I turned to go down the front hall, then stopped to look back at the rabbit one more time. With an odd mixture of both relief and disappointment, I saw that Timothy was indeed asleep and was also roughly 3 or 4 pounds and 8 to 10 inches long in his current position. Sweet, soft, cuddly, and little, Timothy once again.
“Hi Mom, are you home already?”
“Yeah, I came home early. I had a headache but it’s gone now.”
“What’s for dinner?”
“I don’t know, what sounds good?”
“Eh, I don’t know.”

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