Okay, so here’s the thing about rabbits: They’re not much good at dancing. How do I know this? I dated one once. I know what you’re thinking: “Not all rabbits are like your ex. It’s not okay to generalize about a group based on one bad experience, you specieist bigot.” Well, alright then. You date a rabbit then.
No? You see, exactly. You don’t want to date a rabbit. Who’s specieist now, asshole?
Oh. You would date a rabbit, but none live in your urban neighborhood? Okay then. Let me tell you how it would go:
At first it’s great. The rabbit is cute with his long ears and pink nose. And the way he looks at you just makes you feel so special.
You catch sight of him for the first time while taking an afternoon stroll through the park near your high school. It’s October of your senior year, and the ground is littered with orange and red maple leaves, so that the whole world looks warm like the embers in a fireplace late at night after everyone has gone to sleep. Jason Greene has asked you to Homecoming, and you’re pretty pleased with yourself.
The white rabbit with the brown mark jumps out of the yellow brush and fixes you with that look you’ll come to know and love. It says curiosity and fear both at once. And he stands there for just a second or two, before hopping back into the brush.
And you’re intrigued. Of course you’re intrigued. How could you not be? With those soft ears and that pink nose, and that special way he looked at you?
So you go straight to the grocery store, and you buy a bushel of carrots, and a head of lettuce, and the next day you’re back at the park. And the day after that. And the day after that.
And eventually he reappears. You’re sitting on a bench near where you first caught sight of each other, and out pops his head from the tall grass just ten or so yards away, and a short while later, out pops the rest of him. You can tell it’s the same rabbit from the distinctive brown marking on his left flank.
So you hold out the carrots in one hand, and the lettuce in the other, but he doesn’t approach, just sits there on his haunches, giving you that look – you know, the one he gave you before, that special look that says curiosity and fear both at once.
So you drop the lettuce and the carrots both on the ground, and you take five steps back, and he scampers forward and pokes at them with his little pink nose, and starts munching (turns out he prefers the lettuce to the carrots).
And the next day, the same thing happens, and the same thing the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that, but each time you’re backing away a little less, and he seems a little less afraid, until finally you’re not backing away at all: You’re just sitting there side by side as he eats his lettuce. And not long after that, he’s eating the lettuce right out of your hand, and letting you pet him, and stroke him, and even hold him, until one day you put your lips against his furry back, and you whisper “I love you.”
So now I guess you’re going steady. You see him every day. You touch each other. You kiss. He eats his lettuce. You share an intimate silence.
And it’s not always easy. Communication, especially, is difficult. But you struggle through, because it’s worth it, because you’re in love.
Outside the park, life proceeds pretty much as normal. It’s April, and a couple of guys have tried to ask you to prom, but of course you want to go with your rabbitfriend.
But he can’t ask you to go. He probably doesn’t even know what prom is. So you just have to take him, and trust that he’d want to do it for you, if only you could explain to him what exactly prom was, and why exactly it matters.
So when the day of the prom arrives, you show up at the park bench as usual, only this time you’re wearing your prom dress. It’s light blue and just a bit frilly, and you feel like a princess.
You give your prince his lettuce, and sit side by side as he eats, and when he’s done, you gently lift him up and start carrying him to your parents’ car.
You can feel his little heart fluttering against your fingers, but he doesn’t fight you, and you’re in the car on your way to the Hilltop ballroom, him in the passenger’s seat, and he’s giving you that same old look: that mixture of curiosity and fear, only this time you also sense something else. Trust.
So you arrive, and you scoop him up out of the passenger’s seat, and you grab the prom tickets from the glove compartment, and you start walking – trying not to run – towards the ballroom. Your heart’s beating fast, his is beating faster. You want to turn around and run away. You do turn around. You walk back to the car. Did you remember to lock it? Yes you did. Take two. You hold your rabbit close to your chest. You wish you’d managed to find a rabbit-sized tux. You hope it’s okay that he’s nude. They probably won’t mind. He is a rabbit after all. You walk not-too-fast not-too-slow up the stairs and through the double doors. You hand over your tickets to an old woman at the folding table that’s serving as a makeshift kiosk. You’re pretty sure she gave you and your rabbit an odd look, but she doesn’t say anything – just waves you in.
Prom doesn’t go well. Of course it doesn’t go well. What did you expect? They say high school’s rough for gay kids. Well. Try being a rabbit lover.
But the worst part isn’t the ridicule of your bigoted and drunk peers. And it’s not the mixture of pity and disgust that you see coming from the chaperones. No, the worst part is the behavior from your little prince himself. He doesn’t like the dark, and he doesn’t like the loud noise, or the people pressing from all sides. You try moving gently to the beat, imploring silently, that he just try his best to feel the music, but it’s just not working, and he’s scratching at you, and twisting in your arms, and you try to cling onto his little body, but Jason Greene bumps against your elbow, and your rabbit drops to the floor, and he’s off, darting between dancing feet, and you’re going after him, pushing and shoving through the crowd. You slip in a pool of rabbit urine, and you grab at someone’s prom dress, almost ripping it, barely keeping upright.
And you lose sight of him.
It takes you three hours to find him. Prom is over. The chaperones have kicked everyone out. They’re all either at home, or at their afterparties, or else in collectively rented hotel rooms, losing their virginities. The chaperones saw the tears in your eyes and let you stay though. They took pity on you.
It’s 1 am when you find him, sleeping behind a drinking fountain. When you lift him up, he only fights you a little. You drive back to the park in silence. You only have to pull over once to wipe away your tears. The moment you open the passenger door, he’s out, and running away as fast as his little legs can carry him. It’s only once you make it home, parked in the driveway in front of your house, that you finally let yourself break down.
He’s there the next day. Same time, same place. But he doesn’t approach you. Doesn’t even approach when you drop the lettuce and take a step back. Doesn’t approach after five steps back.
“I’m sorry,” you say.
Your rabbit just looks at you blankly.
“Please,” you start to say, but your throat constricts and you can’t get the words out.
You take a deep breath.
“Please,” you try again. “I love you.”
But your rabbit says nothing. Just fixes you with a look, different from the look from before.
You stand there in silence, just looking at each other for what feels like minutes. Then you try again. “Please. I’m sorry I – ”
Your little prince turns around and hops into the tall grass.
The next day the lettuce is still lying limp where you left it. Your rabbit is nowhere to be seen.