We haven't had a winter this cold in twenty-something years, so when Simon first came to live with us, he shivered and shook. He shivered until his little body could acclimate to our thermostat setting (I think my husband was a polar bear in a former life). He shook violently when he slept. I thought he was having a seizure the first time I saw this, but the shaking stopped when I spoke, and that put my mind to rest. Now Simon chases rabbits. There in the warmth of a favorite, furry blanket, Simon drifts into a deep sleep. His four feet flop. His nose twitches. His cheeks puff, and once again Simon is fast on the scent of woodland rabbits, barking and tracking them to their woodland homes.
I love rabbits. I love their long ears and fluffy tails. I love to watch the wild ones venture from our woods to nibble on the tender grass. But I think I mostly love rabbits for the memories they bring, memories of a once-close friendship. Beautiful in spirit and authentic in Southern charm, Sondra was one of those people who made my life brighter. And...she loved rabbits. Throughout her house, there were elegant rabbit statues and fine rabbit paintings. Still today, I cannot venture into specialty stores and what-not shops without being drawn to their rabbit-themed merchandise. These things remind me of my long-lost girlfriend.
But I don't have Alice's tenacity or courage. Marriage and family and all Sondra's burgeoning family activies pulled her into a life of charity balls and European vacations, and I could not follow. I last saw Sondra in a dream after my father passed. Oddly, I dreamt it was she who had passed and I was attending her estate sale. That morning, I awoke with fresh, hot tears on my face, having wandered from room to beautiful room, having touched all of those precious rabbits with my fingertips, having found none I could afford to buy. Perhaps it was foolish of me to let her slip away. But if anything, I have learned to value my present friendships more. I am fortunate to have found two good girlfriends, gals with whom I can laugh and cry and rant and rave, friends who live and work and play on my side of the rabbit hole.