to begin with, he is the woman’s best friend, and she doesn’t
care who knows it. he goes wherever she goes, and people think she’s a nice old
lady bringing presents to her grandchild.
she is not nice, though she is old, and she has no grandchild. she has, in fact, no
relatives, but she has a few friends.
her friends think she’s crazy, carrying her bunny around everywhere. they tell her, he isn’t real, you
know. he has no soul. she raises her eyebrows but says
nothing. they are wrong, of
course. what he has, is no
body. no skin, no flesh. no
veins. if you prick him, he does not bleed. if you hold him to your ear even
tightly, you will hear no heartbeat.
a tag attached to his back tells you he was made in japan. on sewing machines. by sullen, underpaid workers who will
one day rise up against the factory owners and break the soulless machines that
run their lives. she knows this, and it saddens her. she would pay them worthily, for their work matters. but what they make is not a body, only
a casing to be filled, over time, with a soul. each bunny’s soul is different,
crafted by the owners, their fears, their joys, their every moment’s life. sometimes she sews things onto the
plush bunny; embroideries, or patches of bright material. once, a button,
though a small one, and inside the bunny’s ear: nothing to interfere with the desperate or happy hugging that is the
bunny’s due. the button had belonged to a long-dead friend, who lent some of
his soul to the woman for such
purposes. her friends think she is
a sad old creature, but they love her laughter. and this is a good thing, for
she laughs often, and especially at her friends, though that laughter they do
not hear. it belongs only to
her, and to the graying
bunny, wrapped in its polyester
and other natural materials. it belongs to their souls.