MISS MOOX + room


I blame Cute Overload. On Saturday, I got a rabbit.

My life, for the past seven years, has been all about minimalism. I've spent it assiduously paring possessions down to bare necessities and eliminating excess. This is due mainly to transitoriness, moving often with limited space in each location. Unnecessary items weigh you down, that much more cargo to pack and haul and find room for.

Pets do not fit into this picture. The exception has been two goldfish, neatly contained and low-maintenance enough to sustain. Granted, they rank rather low on the interactivity scale, but you can't have everything.

I dream of owning a cat someday. Beyond this, I have had to resist pet ownership completely as an unfair and impractical addendum to my mobile and fund-restricted lifestyle.

But somehow, when I saw the "Offer: bunny" posting on Freecycle, my heart was caught.

Knowing I really shouldn't, I emailed to inquire. The rabbit was a black male mini Rex, a year old. The owner was moving and couldn't take him. He needed to find a home immediately, or he would go into a shelter. I was the only one who'd shown any interest.

After a considerable amount of internal debate over the next several days, I agreed.

Almost immediately I had the sinking feeling that I had perhaps made an unwise move. Reassuring myself that I could at least provide him a temporary shelter and re-home him later, I took the necessary step of asking my landlady's permission and made an appointment to pick him up.

We met at a gas station by the highway. A battered black pickup truck containing a young couple pulled up, and by the way they grinned as I approached I knew it must be the rabbit people. A few moments' brief and nearly wordless exchange, and I drove away the owner of a small wire cage containing a rather frightened midnight-black rabbit.

During the short ride home, all I heard of him was occasional hops and the rattling of the ball in his drinking bottle. Once I got home and had carried him inside, I lifted him out to have a look.

He was perfect. His fur, impossibly silky and soft in the manner of all Rexes, felt like heaven-spun velveteen. Tiny, dainty paws ended in small curved claws. His anatomy was all perfect ovals and rounds, making him look incongruously like one of those drawing lessons where everything starts out as a shape. His eyes, a deep, shiny black, reflected the amusing combination of incomprehensibility and fear that all rabbits seem to emanate.

And he was mine.

So James Dean and I (for that's now his name) have spent the last couple of days getting acquainted. He loves to hop about the room sniffing everything, occasionally doing a sudden leap and heel-kick or a surprisingly loud thump of warning. He swiftly and mightily resists being caught, turning into rubber and kicking on the jet-thrusters when a hand approaches. He goes soft and quiet when picked up, though the push of his head into the space between my arm and my body reveals his insecurity. When he tires, he stretches out on the floor next to his cage and rests.

And it feels good to have him there. Despite my trepidation about acquiring an animal, he's added a dimension of life and companionship to my normally sterile and solitary existence. He's something to care about and care for, a level of need outside my own that is satisfying to meet. He's probably going to be one spoiled rabbit. And even if I can't keep him forever, he's already won my heart.

(His cage was dirty when he arrived. It's since been cleaned and is now all spiffy with recycled pulp bedding, healthier than shavings).

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