Until we went to our first rabbit show on the 14th, I thought I had said it enough. Gone over it with them enough. I thought they both understood clearly.
It was a small show. We allowed ILoveBunnies to wander about, looking at all the rabbits, and we let Bunny-Wan Kenobi help a little boy with his show rabbits. My mom and I told Bunny-Wan Kenobi we were going to go look at the Californians again (15 steps away, maybe?). Less than five minutes later, ILoveBunnies came up to me and asked me if we’d seen him.
What? He’s helping the kid with the mini-rexes, right over there. Except… he’s not.
Where is he?
Okay… don’t panic. He’s probably at the show table with that kid. No, he’s not there. Looking at rabbits somewhere? I made several passes around and through the show. No.
At this point, I’m starting to really get scared. Because if he’s not in this room, he’s not with me anymore. Where is he? He could be anywhere. He doesn’t leave me like this. He always asks. Needs to go to the bathroom (when not at home)? He asks. Wants to go somewhere with another member of the family, or a friend? He asks. I’ve said it enough. He understands. He knows. He doesn’t leave. Where is he?
I go outside the big arena doors, which have been left open. There are a couple of kids out there, and an adult. That’s it. Bunny-Wan Kenobi is not out there, and neither is that other kid.
I’m so small, and the world is so big. He could be on the interstate by now, with some creep he’s never seen before. Some creep that’s going to… no, I can’t think about that. What direction? What’s going to happen to him? Am I sure I’ve looked all over this show? He has to be here. He knows not to leave. Let me look again. I know he’s not here, but he has to be here.
Shay’s gone to look in the bathrooms. Mom’s at the arena door. Not knowing that I’ve already looked outside, she tells ILoveBunnies to look around out there.
I hear a voice.
“She found him!” I don’t know that voice. Could it be talking about my son? No, because I’m already way too far down the scared road. I can’t hope, I don’t dare hope, that she’s talking about my son. I’m too scared and small to hope. And I’m numb.
“She found him!”
And then I see him. I see Bunny-Wan Kenobi, and I almost can’t move. It’s like seeing an apparition, like seeing one back from the dead. I can’t breathe. He was gone. But there he is, with ILoveBunnies. Now I’m holding him, and I still can’t believe he’s real.
What happened? How did this happen? I had said it enough. I knew he understood. I had made sure he understood.
He had been helping the little boy groom his little bunnies, when the boy told Bunny-Wan Kenobi he wanted to show him the stables. Bunny-Wan Kenobi said, “Okay, let me go ask my parents.” The little boy got mad. Bunny-Wan Kenobi tried to tell him several times that he needed to ask his parents, but the boy kept getting mad. He didn’t want the little boy to be mad, so he just went with him and didn’t ask first.
He was very apologetic. I told him I didn’t care what the little boy or anybody else thought. I didn’t care if they got mad or not. He knew he was supposed to ask first, and if somebody didn’t like him asking his parents, then that person is NOT his friend and NOT to be trusted. And I told him I was just so scared, and so thankful to have him back, and that I love him so very much. I thought I’d never be able to tell him that again.
Shay went with him and the little boy to see what he had wanted to show Bunny-Wan Kenobi. The stables were empty, and had high walls. No one could have seen into them. The boy also wanted to take Bunny-Wan Kenobi to his dad’s truck. But when Shay questions the boy as to why, he can’t get a straight answer.
Now the boy looks like bait.
Why does this boy ask for my son’s help with his rabbits, then con him into leaving the arena without his parents’ permission, so he can show him some hidden stalls on the back of the building where no one is, and take him to his dad’s truck?
Maybe it was all innocent. Maybe the boy is just flighty and irresponsible and thoughtless of others. Maybe he was just tired of being in the arena.
Or maybe it was almost the last time I ever saw my son.
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