It’s cold. Too cold. Ugly, damp, finger-eating cold. My favorite picnic table is dank and
soggy. So I’ve chosen a different bench on the southwest edge of the park, behind that mildew-
and-concrete apartment complex where a couple shredded blue tarps flap about in pen-like yards
and no one’s ever outside. Beneath my bench is an empty forty and piled, almost-neatly, to each
side, semi-fresh stacks of cigarette butts.
There are no children on the frozen playground. There are no dogs in the park except
mine, Dov Bear, and she’s very small and she’s shivering.
I slipped silent from my corner of our California King bed while he showered this
morning. Made him breakfast and coffee, the kitchen bare and bright because we hardly cook
anymore, take our dinners at bar tops where it’s someone else’s job to talk. I stood with him and
smiled while he ate his boiled egg and toast, watched him scroll through his phone. Little Dov
jumped at his legs, excited to see him, and he yelled, No! Get down! Down! Why does she always
have to do that? And I wondered why I was standing there, and why he always had to find
something to hate about everything.
On a warm night last autumn at 2 a.m. or so, we walked here together with Dov Bear, sat
and smoked on my favorite picnic table. He was high, far too high, and I held him, stroked his
arm, talked him down as he catapulted through some anamorphosis of existential dismay and
wrongness. And then we saw the bunnies, paused together in the dark, dewy grass near Yesler
Way, stealthy and serene in the low mist. One the color of tree bark and one caramel. The
bunnies that had been hanging out on a quiet street corner a few blocks north all summer, lazing
under parked cars and hopping about and nibbling on carrots and broccoli left out for them by
neighbors. Always together, now magically in our park, magically at this auspicious moment.
Dov Bear and I leapt up to visit them, to get as close as we could. Wabbit hunting! One
of our favorite games.
And he was so worried. I recall with surprising and rare tenderness his concern: Don’t
chase the bunnies! Be careful! Be careful! So sweetly protective of these little creatures in the
night, that they might scare and bolt into the street, get run over.
Recently, in the bleak of January, Dov and I walked past the bunnies’ street corner and
there was just one there, Caramel, sitting stolid in the yellowed grass, staring off into the
distance. Alone and unmoving no matter how close we stepped. I’d never before seen one bunny
without the other. I’d never before seen one stay so still. Was it reveling in this sublime solitude?
Or freezing, forsaken? Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference, even for yourself.
Dov Bear and I walk this way almost every day. Each time we’ve seen Caramel since, it’s
been the same. And my sadness about this is inordinate, intimate. What happened to your
companion? I want to ask. It’s too cold out here for a small, lone bunny. I want to make it
breakfast. I want to take it home with me. I want to lift it in my arms, fly us from this street, this
park, this bloodless season, and never go home again.