CANDICE K. AGUILAR - THE BUNNY
Grace clenched Mr. Conejo with all her might while she ran as fast as she could to keep up with Super Boy. The wind blew through his cape as he ran around the room with his trusty side kick. He was wise, and she was graceful. Together they would defeat the evil vacuum cleaner. They ran so fast around the tile floor their feet created the rhythm of a tribal drum. Their laughter and screams let their mother know they were not eating anything that they were not supposed to so, she continued her meditation.
She sat upright in the antique armchair they’d purchased while living in England, eyes closed, body relaxed, and feet planted on the cold hard wood floor. Thoughts flowed in and out of her mind like the current in the ocean. She was surrounded by the warm rays of sunlight that beat into their living room through the giant window facing the street. The audio on her phone began to speak again as she finished her meditation.
She made her way down the hall to the last door on the left, the play room that doubled as Grace’s nursery. The room was vibrant mixed with a touch of ruggedness. It had all the pink and gold accents for Grace, combined with all the red and blue super hero characters her older brother introduced. Elijah was still wearing his Super Boy attire watching a movie too closely to the screen, while Grace ascended to the top of her play house still holding onto Mr. Conejo. Once at the top she sat and clenched him so tightly that she shook slightly, rattling her plush, white little bunny in the process.
She made her way back to the living room to enjoy a bit of tea and look at photos on her phone. She came across a photo from six months ago at church, the same day Grace received the bunny. The photo was of her husband holding Grace. Grace was sitting in his lap smiling with eyes fixated upon her daddy’s face. He had a fresh military cut, clean shaven and smiling from ear to ear. Grace’s dress was blush pink with lace across the top and pearls separating the skirt. She became warm as a rush of emotions flooded her body when, she was interrupted.
Elijah came running into the room and said, “I didn’t do it.”
Cue Grace running in behind him face full of tears so thick she is stumbling over her own feet.
She rose out of her chair and slowly sat down when Grace ran straight into her lap. She motioned her hand towards Elijah who took the remaining room in her lap. She glanced over Grace noticing no blood and, no redness of skin.
“Now, what happened?” she said.
“I don’t know,” said Elijah.
“Did she fall or pinch her fingers in the drawer again?”
“Did you accidently bump into her?”
She took a moment to gaze over Grace trying to decipher the message behind the 16-month olds tears. When she notices something is missing.
“Where is Mr. Conjeo?” she said.
“I don’t know,” said Elijah.
“Elijah, you know how much this bunny means to your sister don’t you? Please, help me look for him.”
Elijah stands slowly, she rises simultaneously picking up Grace who is blubbering her chunky lips however, is not quite crying. Grace smears her snotty nose upon her momma’s shoulder and tickles her momma’s cheek with her one, black as night pony tail that sticks straight atop her head like an antenna.
The search begins in the playroom, Elijah crawls under the crib pushing out all the Legos and toy cars that have been shoved under it. No Mr. Conejo. They search the closets throwing out all the clothes that have been scattered across the floor. No Mr. Conejo.
They make their way to Elijah’s room, he climbs to the top of his gray bunkbed to survey his room. Seeing no sign of the bunny he searches the rest of his room. No Mr. Conejo.
On throughout the house there was no bunny to be found. Not in the kitchen, or the master bedroom. Not in the office or any of the bathrooms. Mr. Conejo had disappeared.
Grace began to panic when the sound of chimes went off, and everyone froze.
“Your, father is calling,” she said.
Elijah begins to jump around celebrating the occasion, as she walks to the computer still toting around a blubbering Grace.
“Hey,” she said.
“Hey, babe. Awe, what’s wrong with, Grace?” said her husband.
“Well… we seem to have lost Mr. Conejo, he is nowhere to be found.”
“Yeah, I didn’t do it,” said Elijah.
“Is that right? Did you help mommy look for the bunny?”
“Yeah, but we couldn’t find him anywhere so, you have to come home.”
“Elijah, I will be home so soon. I promise. I need you to help your mom okay? Please, can you find the bunny?”
“Babe, when will you be home?”
“Soon, I promise. I’m getting called I have to go. I love you all so much.”
“We love you too,” she said.
“Mom,” said Elijah.
Her head was down to hide the few tears that escaped. She wiped the tears on her daughter’s head as she looked up at her son who was standing in the doorway, holding the lost Mr. Conejo.
“I found him,” said Elijah.
He ran over and plopped into his momma’s lap and began to sob. Grace began to scream and laugh as she squeezed her bunny as tight as she could.
There was a thud at the front door when, he walked in. Grace dropped Mr. Conejo and waddled, all the way to her daddy. Elijah was frozen until his dad spoke.
“Elijah,” he said.
Elijah ran with his super kid speed right into his dads open arm leaving his momma sobbing on the living room floor.
“I told you I’d be home soon.”