It wasn’t the first rabbit she’d ever seen . . . or maybe it was. At least the first rabbit in the wild. The first real rabbit trying so hard to disappear, frozen there at the edge of the path, not a twitch showing in its body.
It must have been the sound of her footsteps that warned the rabbit. It wasn’t looking at her—or watching the path as far as she could tell. The head faced away, the eye didn’t move, but, perhaps it still saw.
Minnie froze too. I’ll become a rabbit. If she mimicked the animal exactly, she’d learn what it felt like to be rabbit, she’d absorb the essential rabbitness of the creature. A wave of unease swept through her—shouldn’t she know the scientific name? or even the common name of this particular rabbit?
No, it didn’t matter. The rabbit didn’t have that information herself. Himself? Itself? and still maintained its rabbitness. Should she know the gender before she gave over to imitation? Did it matter? It wasn’t gender she was after, but otherness, other creatureness. That’s what started the whole project: the slow roam to see what one could see.
Jake’s idea, but a good one. What he said he did all the time. She knew it would bring her closer to him, and she’d begin to understand him better. She said she wanted go into the woods with him, become one with an animal.
He raised an eyebrow at that. “No, I go alone. Two people are too much energy for an animal.” Rejecting her.
So she was there, alone, motionless, cold, fascinated, staring a rabbit down, a rabbit that wouldn’t look at her. If she moved, it would go. That much she knew. And if it moved, she would go. Reciprocity.
If she didn’t move, she would never touch it, never get closer to it, never feel the fur or the warm throb of the body. The longer she stood there, the more she wanted to enfold the rabbit in her arms, to whisper in its silky ear, to love it forever. But if she made that move, she’d lose it.
© 2012 Kathleen Coskran