I can still smell rabbit poop
I foolishly thought we could save him.
That buying alfalfa from Yellow Cab when none could be found at the supermarket would be the trick that would keep our beloved bunny Smoke alive.
That bringing him to the garden to graze on grass and hop around would cheer him up enough and snap him out of his funk.
But no, he was sad. So incredibly sad, so different from the bunny we first met. And who can blame him? We were sad too, incredibly sad. We lost a pet but Smoke lost his best friend.
I was trying to stay positive but I knew at the back of my mind it was going to happen, even if he did show signs of getting better, even if he started to seem okay.
And so, on Monday morning, when Jill said, “Check on Smoke” and I said, “I’m scared” but still went straight for the bathroom where Smoke’s cage was, I knew what I was going to find.
And there was Smoke – snuggled between his water bowl and the box that was supposed to be his cozy bed. I was still a few feet away but I already knew he was dead.
“Smoke!” I called his name even though I knew he wouldn’t hear me.
I walked up to the cage. He didn’t move in anticipation of food like he usually does.
Smoke was dead.
He stayed two extra days with us, two days of sadness, worry, love and care. Two days of spoiling and of complete adoration. Two days of alfalfa and poop.
Unlike Ash, Smoke died with his eyes closed. He looked almost peaceful, like he was just sleeping.
But this time I put my foot down. I may have been brave enough to pick up Ash and put him in the box but I cannot do the same with Smoke. Of the two, Smoke was my baby, my little furball, the one I snuggled with, my cuddle bunny. I didn’t want to feel him lifeless. I didn’t want to forget his warmth.
Manang Amy stepped up and put Smoke in his box.
The previous day, we had visited CRIBS to celebrate Jill’s birthday with the babies there. We brought them toys and gifts and Le gave us boxes and boxes of Rustan’s Care For The Rare Stuffed Toys to give to the kids too. “Keep the boxes after,” Jill said, thinking about how much Smoke loved to play and hide and sleep in boxes.
We had twenty-four boxes in all. And on the way back from CRIBS, I wondered if he’d live long enough to use them all. He didn’t. He only used two – one was his bed, the other one became his coffin.
When Manang Amy brought the cage out of the room, I refused to look. It was too painful.
As we were leaving, Jill said, “Manang Amy buried Smoke.”
“She didn’t wait for us?” I asked.
But when we went out, we saw that the hole was still empty, Smoke wasn’t in his grave yet.
Where was his body?
We started searching. Slowly, I was beginning to panic. What if a cat had dragged him off? What if someone mistakenly threw him away?
“He was just here,” Manang Amy said, pointing towards the den.
And instantly, we knew what had happened.
Our eyes turned to the pile of boxes that were still in a huge Rustan’s paper bag. Manang Amy picked the one on top of the pile and looked inside it.
“Ma, did you take a box from here?” Jill hollered to her mom who was in her office in the attic.
Yes, yes, she did. She thought it was heavy because a stuffed toy was still inside.
We ended up laughing.
Laughing. Again. At a bunny funeral.
This time, Jinna wasn’t there. But I made sure I put a flower on top of Smoke’s box – I knew she’d like that.
It’s been a couple of days since Smoke’s death and I still miss him and Ash terribly.
I miss watching them eat. I miss having them hop all over the place. I miss marveling at how sweet they were to each other, how they always slept huddled up. I miss cuddling with them. Fuck, I even missing cleaning their pee.
The bathroom is unusually clean and it feels a little empty. I still feel like calling out their names sometimes. The smell of Irish Spring reminds me of days and nights spent scrubbing their cage. Last night, I changed to a new roll of toilet paper and stopped when I realized I no longer had bunnies waiting to play with the core. It’s been days but I can still smell rabbit poop.
I can only console myself with the thought that they’re now playing together in bunny heaven.
Do I want new bunnies? No. I don’t think I can take another bunny heartbreak. Do I regret having Smoke and Ash in the first place? Hell no. I will forever cherish the short time we had together. I will always be thankful that I had the chance to get to know them.
I had two bunnies and I loved them to death.