Bunny had come in a box. A deep box filled with shredded paper from which he emerged into the amber aura of Bea’s bedroom. It was a soothing light from lamps for the flat was dark with persistently unlit corners and more cupboards than rooms.
‘Enchanting’, Bea told the letting agent when she took the keys. Bea had filled the cupboards with bottles and jars of anything that had once seen the sun; soft fruits in syrup, flower-scented creams and honey fermented in dappled Mediterranean forests.
It was a meeting of the shy and formerly contained: Bea with a life for one, Bunny without any life at all. Bea looked at Bunny as he lay, quiet and still, on the gold, tasselled bedspread. An unboxed innocent, waiting in that amber light.
But Bea knew there would be trouble. For Bunny would soon thrive under the burnished glow to make noises neighbours would not recognise. And being a little creature of the night such noises would disturb, and then disturb.
On their first night together Bea wrapped Bunny in a peach, fluff-textured towel. A muffled softness fell. It kept falling. They both were falling, deeper into the peach and the fluff. Then Bunny dropped to the bedroom floor. Bea was convinced the skittering on the stripped wooden boards would wake Mr and Mrs Griffin in the flat below. But Eric Griffin kept snoring, his sighs fleeing upwards like lost loves through the floorboard cracks. Bea, reconsidering her tactics, tucked Bunny back into his box. It was a mostly quiet night: Bunny rolled to the bottom of his box and emitted a sound which could easily have been mistaken for the buzz of a startled but very determined bee.
The next day Bea escaped early from an office, where light only arrived through smoke grey glass. She returned to return to her flat and freed Bunny from his equally grey box. The hours of separation were made good. Bea and Bunny, Bunny and Bea. Everywhere, especially on the downy brown escarpment of the sofa, burrowing among velvet cushions. Under an amber blush Bunny and Bea perfected homecoming.
Yet such joy had entered Mary Griffin’s dreams and Bea heard the rattle and chatter of teacups. ‘Peculiar noises’, said Mary to Eric, ‘they make me feel as though I’ve forgotten something.’
‘Oh Bunny’, said Bea as she lifted him carefully onto the bed ‘they’ll be here soon, tapping on the door’. For a while Bea thought of the Griffins and their regular teatime: a 1960s check tablecloth, green teapot and jar of raspberry jam.
Raspberries, she thought that had probably been forced into colour under a grey glass sky without sun. Bea absent-mindedly licked her fingers. ‘Oh Bunny’, she said again only this time without despair. And she lifted him gently from the gold bedspread with its swinging tassels and walked towards the cupboard where there was still a little space next to jars of amber coloured honey.
Published at at 3:AM Magazine, March, 2007