Friday, May 24, 2013

The Bunny Hop

Within the past few years, there has been an overabundance of rabbit sightings.  Almost everyone I know have told me about the bunches of bunnies they see in their yards.  Everyone seems to love bunnies.  Of course, they are so cute, hopping through the grass, or just sitting with their little noses twitching.  These small mammals seem to be the perfect pet for someone who does not want to walk a dog or change cat litter.  I do not mind the latter, so I never entertained the thought of acquiring a rabbit as a pet.   But the emergence of these cute little animals hopping through the yards reminded of the time my children begged me for a bunny.

“Can we get one mom, please?”  The children were begging me to buy the bunny for sale at a country fair.  I was torn between wanting to please them, and disappointment.  I wondered how my children’s father would feel about having a docile, pet that required little care in comparison to a dog or a cat.  I remembered his reaction years ago when I suggested getting a dog as a pet for the children.  

 “Okay,” he had said; then added, “but I want an aggressive breed – not a stupid terrier like your mother has!”  Wow…there was SO much wrong in his answer.  In suggesting a pet for my children, I had assumed he understood that we would get a breed that would be gentle with children.  I did not have my heart set on a particular breed, but I did wish for certain traits.  Aggression was not one of them.  And with that, our discussion ended.

Now faced with their pleas for a bunny, I wondered how he would react.  I decided to try to call him.  When he did not answer, I left a message and waited for a return call.  It was not unusual for him to ignore my call as he called only if he needed something from me.  Oddly, when picking up the children from a visit, he would greet them with fabricated concern, “I was so worried about you guys!” despite the absence of any check-in calls.  As a worried parent would have called, his comments were strictly to plant a seed of fear with the children.  Cruelly calculated, as he was smug in knowing he only had custody due to his attorney’s unethical behavior and my record was spotless.

“It will be fine with dad!”  The children assured me.  “He said we could have a pet!”  Really?  Well, his wife had an old cat.  So perhaps he was ready to introduce a new pet, prior to the inevitable death of the cat.  And it was only a small rabbit that lived in a cage.  So, against my better judgment, I bought them the bunny and the cage.  I stress it was against my better judgment.  However, when a good mother is victimized by her batterer within court, and loses custody inexplicably, she tends to over compensate to her children’s wishes. 

On the ride home, the children talked excitedly about their new pet.  They debated about what to name her, and talked about the fun they had that day – the music, the hayrides and the food.   As we got closer to Natick, their demeanor began to change.  Their chatter had stopped.  Their voices were no longer enthusiastic.  They sounded strained and nervous.  When we got to the house, they were downright frightened.  Halfheartedly, they took the caged little bunny and closed my car door.  Suddenly, their father ran out of the house.  “Give that back to her!  You can’t have that here!” 

The children started screaming, “You said we could get a bunny!”      

“I’ll get it for you, not HER!” he shouted.  Turning to me, he snarled, “You better take that with you.”

Reasonably, I said, “I left you a message and you never called me back. But if you do not want it, let me know tomorrow and I will find a home for it.”

My ex, a narcissistic sociopath was selfish to a fault, often cruel, and lacking empathy for anyone but himself.  He could not listen or accept reason as he was the one who had to make the decision or have the final say.  But, at the moment, he was stuck.  “YOU can’t just get them a pet without my approval.  I am the one in charge of everything.” He declared pompously, in an attempt to let me know that he relished in being allowed to have some control over me. 

Sweetly I replied, “I will find the bunny a home.  Now, I have to run because I have a date.”  And I drove off.  My last comment was like sticking a knife in his gut.  I could not resist because the thought of me with another man made him livid.  I knew I was risking some sort of retaliation, but for the moment, the look on his face was priceless.

I called the children before I went out that evening.  I wanted to make certain they were safe, and their father did not take his anger out on them.  They gleefully told me that their step sister had a friend who had several pet bunnies and welcomed one more.  Their voices reflected the relief that they would not have to bear the burden of their father’s anger. 

At least for that night.    

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