Even Boys Dream Dreams that Bunnies Can Dream

 

 

A rabbit sitting in the grass with its ears sprung and its brown bunny fur littered with flakes of wood chips and dirt saw the young boy walk by, knife in hand. The rabbit sniffed the dirt and twitched its nose. Its eyes were wide and clear, though on closer inspection, one could see that its front left paw was missing, and only a short furless nub protruded out from its body. Then, the rabbit hopped a lazy step or two, paused for an instant, sneezed out the dirt, and scratched the fresh flea bites behind its ear with its back leg.

 

The boy had raised the woodland rabbit since infancy after he found the small animal crying near a log at the edge of the forest. Deciding that it was abandoned, due no doubt to its deformity, the young freckled-skinned boy took it home, sat it on his knee, held leaves of lettuce while the young rabbit nibbled hastily for a moment before stopping and curling up in the boy’s lap for a short afternoon nap. In its bunny dreams were dishes of blanched spinach dressed lightly in olive oil, turnips roasted and dusted with mustard seed, kale rubbed down with vinegar, tossed with tiny grape tomatoes.

 

Looking down at the rabbit nuzzling against his belly, the boy too fell into sleepy dreams, imagining tables set in china, goblets full of wine, and the light of candelabras softly illuminating the room.

 

But, on this particular day, if the rabbit could have known and accepted its fate, it probably would have dreamed of sauces made of cherries, stuffings of whole grains and apples, minted jellies served as complements. However, the garden yielded no mint and there were no cherry orchards. While the knife was sharpened against the clean edge of the stone readying to quickly draw blood, no linen cloths were being pressed; no silver was being polished. Soon the soft brown pelt lie on the ground near the porch and the dust and the wood chips trailed in through the back door along the scratched wooden planks that made the floor.

 

Later in the evening, the boy stepped up to the table as his mother set out the overcooked rabbit, lightly salted and peppered, stuffed with stale breadcrumbs, and as the boy stood looking at his young bunny pal, he noticed that while the missing front paw was no longer evident, the dry meat still clung tightly to the bone as dry meat can cling, dark and shriveled, as if slouching in disappointment.