It is valentine’s day tomorrow. I will be quite happy if an sms/whatsapp/messenger message finds its way to me asking how I am doing. Genuinely asking.
This weekend, we spoke about valentine’s day. For some reason it was almost ½hr dialog about “how rabbits celebrate valentine’s day”.
How decent, adult people; and lady brought up by nuns come to that question?
Thanks for asking!
Stockholm has so many rabbits, sometimes, they have to be shot to control the population. So maybe, just maybe, we saw a couple of rabbits running around happily, completely oblivious of the fact that they could be shot any minute.
I was busy thinking of valentine’s day and what it means for rabbits when the memory of childhood rabbits popped in my head.
A boy needed a pair of shoes. He really wanted a specific make that lasts long. In his tactical planning, if he got a pair of Safari boots, a size too big, he could have them for 2 years before he needed a new pair. In 2 years, he would have saved enough for a new pair of the same.
The boy was 10. maybe 11. maybe 12. not older than 12. The boy & his older sister have tried to remember exactly without success. Repression.
If you know how alcohol infected families work, you know that needing something does not translate to you getting it. You can walk around in too tight or torn shoes. Too small or torn clothes. Too messy hair. Dying of malaria etc Regardless, an adult will prioritize alcohol over your need.
The boy got an entrepreneurial idea. He would rear rabbits. Rabbits breed fast. He could sell the kittens/bunnies. Keep the mother rabbit for continuous breeding. within 6 months, he calculated, he would have his first pair of safari boots.
He worked after school, for over a month! Helping a neighbor with one thing or the other.1 Kenya shilling a day.
He paid 30 Kenya shillings for the mother rabbit. He borrowed a buck from a neighbor two villages away (2 hours walk from home). Within a month and a half, the boy had 4 kittens! The sister could hear, feel, sense and help him count the money that was on the way into his little torn pockets.
Everyday, on their way home from school, the boy & his sister picked weeds by the roadside. For weeks. Food for the rabbits. On Tuesdays, market day, they ran by the market, which was forbidden by the adults
toxic people; to collect cabbage pieces left lying around when market closed.
About 3 weeks after the birth of the kittens, they came home from school with their small handfuls of weed. They head to the rabbit house. Oh, I forgot to tell you, the boy had built that little rabbit house, with little help from his sister, with sticks, nails, iron sheets, reeds, anything they could scavenge, borrow or steal without being caught.
The rabbit house is empty. The boy starts to shake. They can remember a cat. And a goat.
They finds mother. In adulthood, they can’t remember if they looked for mother specifically, called out, or just found her in the kitchen. He asks about his rabbits. In character, she avoids looking at him. “ask your father” she says.
He goes towards the main house to ask father. Halfway across the corridor, he turns around. Back to the kitchen.
The rabbit mother, the doe is stew. In the kitchen. In a cooking pot just beside mother.
He asks, tears running down his face without a sound:
mother: “he sold them and went drinking”
he: “where were you?”
mother: “what could I do?” still not looking at him.
The sister takes his hand & leads him away towards the river. To the big stone by the oak tree where the big snake may or may not be hiding her babies.
The boy is still entrepreneurial. A teacher who runs all sorts of small businesses together with his wife to supplement their income.
Where there is even a little love, some things can be salvaged.