For a long time Honey Bun lived in dark space in the attic, and no one, least of all Honey Bun’s owner, thought very much about him, for all that she had supposedly loved Honey Bun for 59 years.
One evening, when the Woman was going to bed, her head full of worrisome questions about wills and property ( her father’s and her own), and what to do next, she suddenly had a dreadful thought which made her sit bolt upright and demand of herself, ” What will happen to Honey Bun when I am gone?” This was followed by an even more dreadful thought, “But where is Honey Bun? Where have I kept my sweet little rabbit? ”
The next morning, a foray into the deepest recesses of the attic, revealed Honey Bun tucked away safely in a box with other family toys. The Woman sighed with relief and clutched Honey Bun tightly to her heart. “Honey Bun, how I have missed you,” she whispered into his long, soft ears. Honey Bun, with eyes as brown and kind as ever, looked at the Woman and said not a word. There was no need.
The Woman took Honey Bun downstairs to her bedroom, determined to devise a succession plan for her dear rabbit, now slightly shabby, with tail becoming unsewn, but still with the sweetest, pink-embroidered nose, and still with arms outstretched, as if forever poised for a hug.
Whilst the Woman paced the room and wondered to whom she could entrust her special friend, Honey Bun stared at her, fixedly and gently, and remembered how the Woman was when they had first met, all honey-coloured curls, blue eyes, and soft pink skin. The Woman was older now, shabbier and flabbier, wrinkle-skinned, and grey haired but, in the silence of the attic, Honey Bun had recognized instantly the Woman’s footfall and her whispers. Her essence was as integral to Honey Bun’s being as his own stuffing. Then, as Honey Bun continued to stare, the Woman suddenly stopped pacing. She turned and returned his stare. A small, rueful smile played upon the corners of her mouth, and inside herself she said,” Fancy all this fuss and worry over a toy.” No sooner had the words crossed her mind, than she sensed a shimmer of gentle reproach alighting on her soul. Though feather-light at first, the reproach grew heavier as each hour passed.
By evening the Woman was weary and no closer to finding a new home for Honey Bun than she had been earlier in the day. Weighted down by feelings of unease she went to her bed, where Honey Bun lay patiently waiting the outcome of the Woman’s wonderings. In steadfast faithfulness, Honey Bun had remained exactly where the Woman had left him. He had not moved an inch, just as he had not moved an inch all those years of waiting in the attic.
The Woman smiled at the sight of her long-loved bunny and placed her head next to Honey Bun’s on the pillow. She gazed into Honey Bun’s large, shiny eyes and saw her reflection gazing back at her with intense devotion. Her uneasiness lifted. What had she been thinking? Honey Bun was no toy. Honey Bun was a presence as real as all her years. There was no need to part, to find him a new home. Not yet. They had years ahead of them to share . The Woman carefully tucked Honey Bun under her chin and drifted softly into sleep. Honey Bun was almost too happy to sleep, and so much love stirred in his little, soft heart that it almost burst. But, eventually, Honey Bun, too, fell asleep, pink nose twitching, almost imperceptibly, in the sweetness of his dreams.
“It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
With sincere apologies to The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams! (Can you recognize any words I have transposed from The Velveteen Rabbit?) This post was inspired by The Velveteen Rabbit and by my mother’s love for a newly acquired teddy bear.
The teddy bear is about the size of a new-born baby. The teddy bear is named Betty and has a name tag to prove it. Betty wears a dress. But my mother habitually refers to Betty as ‘he’ and occasionally will look at Betty and remark, with surprise,”Oh, he’s wearing a dress.” Which makes me think that when it comes to love and soft toys, its love, not gender, which prevails. Although I have referred to Honey Bun as a male, in order to be avoid being annoying (linguistically) , Honey Bun has never been exclusively male.