I had a boyfriend, Jasper, who collected rabbits. He didn’t really own them; they acted more like strays he had picked up off the street. He’d let the rabbits roam free in his house. I’d be sitting in a chair and see a ball of white fluff scurry by. I loved it. Sometimes we made out on his living room couch. Jasper would try and conform his lanky body into a perfect ‘s,’ and force his mouth against mine. Once, one of his rabbits nestled its way in between our pressed stomachs. From then on I took better care of his rabbits then he did. Sometimes I wonder if I would have liked Jasper if he didn’t have the rabbits.
I’ve always wanted rabbits, but I think if I owned one I would eventually kill it. Rabbits are sensitive creatures. Even the slightest noise can send a rabbit into cardiac arrest. People have always told me I have the personality of a dog—loud, easy going, and happy. Such a personality would not bode well for the rabbit. Perhaps I’d take one wrong step, startle the poor creature, and break its fragile heart.
Jasper and I dated for a while; mostly cause he asked me and I was tired of being alone all the time. When I first met him I thought he was a sad shy thing with passions too sensitive for our town. He didn’t like to play football, but he liked to dance. He imagined he was Billy Elliot or something, prancing around his bedroom to indie music no one even listened to anymore. Except, he didn’t do it good like Billy did. That’s the problem when you’re tall and lanky like he was; his limbs had a mind of their own, and when he moved they would flounder about. It was sad because he would put his whole effort into too.
I felt embarrassed being with him sometimes.
People thought we were good together cause I was nice and he was nice, but I’m not as nice as people think I am. Jasper was nice in the way that men in movies like Tom Hanks are nice: they say they love you and they mean it. But that’s all well and good in the movies, but it didn’t do me a damn lick of good out here in the real world. It didn’t matter how many poems he wrote me, I still felt like I was constantly walking on eggshells around him. Being with him required a certain tenacity that I didn’t really have.
Towards the end of it, when things started to get really bad between us I would lie about homework. I would say I was too busy to hang out and sit alone in my room reading some historical romance novel with a lead male who I was more attracted to. I guess you could call that imaginary cheating. But then he got wise to my act and started asking me how come I was always so busy. So I would swing by around his parent’s place and hang out with his rabbits while he would try to get me to kiss him. Every time he put his slimy lips on me I would close my eyes tight and imagine I was somewhere very far away from all this. I could see myself clearly sitting in some field of hay with an adorable bunny in my arms. In that moment I would think, “God, I wish I loved someone the same way I love this rabbit.”
If Jasper hadn’t made the first move, I think I would have stayed with him until he graduated. The truth is I never gave him enough credit where credit is due; he saw a sinking ship and he got off fast. I didn’t care too much about the whole not being loved anymore part about it but I was worried about his rabbits. Who was going to take care of them? It was my right to see them. By that point, those rabbits were as much mine as they were his.
In the end, I never got to see the rabbits again. With them gone from my life, I felt an irrevocable black hole growing inside of me. The cosmic phenomenon seems to get bigger every day. Even now I wonder if this emptiness will ever be filled.