My rabbit died.
Two shoes abandoned, sucking me into the whirlpool, the spinning water in the toilet flushed…my rabbit was not behind the bathtub, was not next to the paper maché igloo, I looked for her under the stairs. In the third place, she was stiff on her side behind the wheel of my bike. I didn’t want her to die alone. I failed her. Maybe it was the heat, maybe she stroked out like the elderly, warned to take care on hot days. I wonder if she was thirsty. I don’t think she struggled. Did she just give up, waiting for me to come home?
After work I took a look at the sky, a storm was brooding, the wind was racing. The sky worn blue silver denim, the color of old blue eyes…I felt like something bad was going to happen, maybe a tornado. So I walked straight home, not going to the bank, not stopping at a store. I didn’t know she would be waiting for me, I didn’t know that was the terrible thing.
I didn’t know what to say; I was non-verbal.
She was stiff. I applied pressure to try and curl her gently into a smaller ball. Her body resisted. I tucked her into a 2 gallon Ziplock bag, smoothing her ears. I drew the excess air from the bag with my breath and pressed the seal closed. I repeated this until she was nested in 3 plastic bags. I placed her in the freezer, at first laying her sideways then not knowing what to do with the ice cube trays, I rotated her. She fit so neatly there, room to the right for 2 stacked ice trays. She was no bother in death, as in life.
Then it started to hit me, the feeling of loss.
I was washing her bed; I left it soaking in the tub, expecting that she would lie in it again. The litter box, the igloo, the water and the food bowls. The limp and rubbery carrots and dandelion greens left wilting. The hay and the branches: the fur and her droppings. I couldn’t look at it anymore, I could not have reminders of the once living now dead. Through tears I filled a garbage bag with her things. What if I wanted to smell something of hers again?
When I opened the freezer I thought her ears look flattened so I opened 1-2-3 plastic bags and tried to smooth them. I knelt and cried while stroking her soft ear between my thumb and my forefinger. I miss her; I miss her being alive.
Sometimes I forget she is gone; I look for her still.