Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Peter and the Rabbits

Recently, a friend sent me this e-mail:
My dad asked if your kids would be interested in two rabbits. Apparently they come with the cages and everything. Maybe I should rephrase that: would YOU be interested in your kids having two rabbits? Don't know if they're free, or both girls or whatnot.
Your husband probably has some rabbit recipes if you decide you want them but later change your minds... ;)

Alright, that's funny enough, except that it reminded me too much of my high school boyfriend.
And since we're talking about rabbits, we'll call this boyfriend "Peter".


I was 18 years old and had been dating Peter for several months when a friend invited the two of us over to hang at her house. Her parents wanted to meet my boyfriend because he was an avid hunter and wanted to buy one of their beagle pups.

It was almost like introducing Peter to my own parents. They wanted to be sure he would be a good owner before they'd sell him one of their dogs, so Peter got the third degree. Up one side and down the other.

Sometime during the conversation/interview/interrogation, the fact that Peter and his brothers raised rabbits surfaced. They had several hutches in their backyard. And yes, they butchered their own bunnies rather than send them out to a "professional" for processing.

Now, it's important to point out here that *I* grew up on a farm and witnessed many home butcherings myself. Steers got hauled off to a "professional", but the chickens and the rabbits were done by my dad and brothers. (And between you and me, when I was a kid, it was kinda fun watching the chickens jump around, but I can't stomach it anymore.)
I don't remember watching a rabbit get butchered, though. Maybe I didn't want to see. My brothers did try to show me how they skinned them once, but I couldn't take it.
I also could not eat rabbit meat. And after a while, my parents stopped making me.
You know, cause bunnies are cute and furry and all.

Besides, I had a bunny named Pebbles.
(Technically, she belonged to my brothers, but I got to feed her and she let me pick her up and carry her around.)
Pebbles had light brown fur, and I loved her so much that I made a replica of her out of a cottage cheese container when I was in Kindergarten.

Pebbles never was butchered.
She ran away.
Although, I secretly knew that my brothers just let her go, because, you know, she was a rabbit, not Steve McQueen in The Great Escape or anything.

As it was, Peter also had a little sister. She was eight years old, about as old as I was when we raised rabbits at the farm.
When this little nugget of information came up in conversation, my friend's dad asked, "Soooo, how does your little sister feel about you butchering the bunnies?"

"Oh," Peter said, "We tell her they run away."

And I nodded, sympathetically.
Poor girl. Sad to be lied to, but then, isn't it better to imagine your furry little bunny frolicking in a meadow somewhere...

... like mine...

Suddenly, time and space seemed to fold into itself.

... ran away...

As if two parallel dimensions were determined to intersect.

... like mine...

The past and the present converged.

... we tell her they run away...

The room began to spin.

... like mine?...

My friend looked with concern at the odd expression that must have been on my face.
"Are you okay, Roses?" she asked.

I tilted my head, and far away, a voice that sounded like mine said, "My rabbit didn't run away."
I tilted my head the other way, and a rather angry voice, that still sounded like mine said, "My rabbit didn't run away!"

"Oh my god!" I shouted aloud. "My rabbit didn't run away!"

Everyone gasped.

Didn't you know?
Didn't anybody tell you...
All this time, you never figured out...
How could you not know?

My friend's father was very amused. My boyfriend was slightly concerned. And I was alternately laughing and crying.

Of course I didn't know!
Why would anyone tell me?
After we stopped keeping rabbits, what was the point?

Holy crap!
I was 18 years old before I realized my family had eaten my bunny!

I'm so stupid.

Peter never mentioned his rabbits to me again.
And after that, I'm not sure he ever raised any more of them.


Thinking about it now I realize that for all the mean and nasty things my older siblings did to me (or I imagined they did to me), they never did throw this one in my face. No one ever said, "Oh yeah? Well, we ATE your stupid rabbit!"
Because that would have been mean.

So, I guess my siblings were pretty decent to me after all.


Anonymous said...

awwww, i'd cry, hardcore cry. i own a bunny now & i can't imagine life before him, i guess if i grew up on a farm with it all around me i'd be thinking differently. but now? no way, not for me. i hope you've recovered since then. very well written story :)

Lemon Stand said...

Awwwww! Tell me it ain't so! I'm calling my sisters (I didn't have any brothers) and asking them if they ever did anything like that to me that they have never told me about..... Nah, nix, that idea. I really don't want to know! Great story very nicely written!

Roses said...

Cute one: Not your bunny! Your bunny is a pet and always will be. To paraphrase Finding Nemo: Bunnies are friends, not food! (Note: don't ever watch Fatal Attraction though)

Lemon Stand: Nope nope nope. Don't ask.

Thank you both the the compliments!

Carol said...

Nice post. have a look at this too beautiful bunnies

Dani said...

Woah! I assure you my evil bunnies will not be eaten. At least not by people or my other pets. Yikes!