Bunnies – Shana Graham
September 26, 2022
I knew I was going to take Arley home with me the moment I glimpsed him hopping across the rainbow-painted crosswalk to join the Easter for Heathens egg hunt in Cal Anderson Park. The way he bounced in his bunny suit, a muscular kind of spring, masculine yet whimsical, like he didn’t care who was looking. The way the filmy Seattle April glare glanced off his perk white ears. My nose started twitching, my toes started tensing. The thrum of drunken revelers around me seemed to quiet and a sun-stream fell upon him like a bright Hallelujah.
I presented myself at the border of the park.
“Bugs,” I said, extending a white, fluffy paw that was a little damp with someone’s vodka soda that had been dumped on it at the last bar of the Bunny Crawl.
“Bugs. Of course!” Arley said, grasping my paw in his and lifting it to his lips. “To rabbits and resurrection.”
We didn’t need to say much more. We were bunnies, after all. I handed him the pink plastic egg I’d found tucked in the grass near the fountain and he cracked it open. Inside were a couple drug baggies filled with jelly beans and some plastic Jesus figurines that you could fit together in various fornication poses. Arley assembled them atop one another and I laughed. Then he made them hop and take each other like bunnies and I nodded, and he nodded. He called an Uber.
On the way back to my place, we nuzzled and pawed on the sticky nylon seats while the driver pretended not to look, and I could see our whole future before me. The periwinkle blue we’d paint the veranda and our garden bustling with dahlias and lilies. Days of lazing on the porch in the sunshine, feeding each other candied carrots and maple-glazed ham, crickets and grasshoppers chirping in chorus. A whole flock of baby-bunnies, downy white and soft as fresh fleece. Arley as an old bunny, greying coat and milky eyes, peering at me from his favorite perch by the window with that same look he’d had when he first said, “Bugs.”
But when we pulled up outside, it was like we’d skipped the resurrection and gone straight to post-Rapture. My neighborhood was empty, dry scrub and weeds creeping everywhere, the low hum of nothing—no cars, no planes, no insects—dense in the yellowed sky. My house looked like no one had been there for decades. White paint crusting off, revealing mildewed boards beneath. Thick dust and brown stains coating the windows. The bramble to the north so dense and dark it looked like it could consume you.
Arley stepped onto the creaky rot of the porch with me.
“Bugs, I…,” he hesitated. Glanced at the bramble like he hoped it would help him. “I don’t think I can do this.”
I nodded. He nodded. Then I couldn’t help myself, I reached for him. And he ran. He flung himself off the porch and made for the back fence. Jumped it so quickly his bunny head tumbled off into the grass below and lay there like a dumb, lifeless thing, mute eyes staring nowhere. And you know what? When I saw his face, he didn’t look like himself, anyway. He was just another man, scared and trying to save himself.