Torso cover of the animal issue

That last sunbath

My mother has the most powerful voice. This was once more proved on the summer of 1997 when my family had a series of serious discussions. I was in seventh grade and, unlike my parents, wanted a pet rabbit. Or actually I wanted a dog, but the rabbit was the closest I could get, after many conversations and a lot of persuasions.

My friend Suzuki had what I thought to be a valuable experience on purchasing and the ownership of bunnies. To me, Suzuki was that junior vet I trusted, and who I wanted to go shopping with. The licensed pet shops would ask unreasonable prices, so we headed downtown. There the shops were unlicensed and would not charge as much.

By entering the shop I was no longer tempted to purchase a bunny. The scene I faced was like a sessional sale, things were out of control. Raw smell and dirt everywhere. A dark room, and cages filled with bunnies. Since there were plenty of them crumpled together it made the decision making even harder than expected. Thanks to Suzuki, he patiently pointed out what he knew to help to come up with some options.

The bunnies skin colour was a concern of ours. We had a variety of colour to choose. From grey and brown to white and black. Also, combo’s where a nice choice as well. Alongside what should the gender be? Or should we get a pair, or what? and so many other thoughts that come to mind during decision making. I have to admit, now that I am looking back, I realise I was just physically standing there, hypnotised. Staring at the shop’s environment, the people, and the rest of the pets. It was Suzuki who did all the works and the final decisions. He even got a discount by his bargaining skills.After a long day I was back home with not one, but two bunnies. I was overjoyed.

I liked the experience of taking care of my bunnies. Our yard was pretty decent, a small pond in the middle of the mosaic-covered floor, with some trees and plants giving shade. The bunnies got to hop around freely during the day. At nights I tried to protect them from stray cats, carrying the cage in and back out again during the day. I imagined it was what a father would feel for his kids. I waited eagerly to see them growing up, from bunnies to rabbits.

Two weeks went by. It was the middle of the summer and we had more than 12 guests with a bunch of kids coming over. As I had turned my back one of the kids cried for help. He had decided to give the bunnies a bath and soaked them in the pond, to which they reacted by shivering violently.

No one knew what to do. Someone suggested that the bunnies should be left out of the sun, so they wouldn’t catch a cold. It sounded wise and smart, thus after putting them back into their cage, I carried them to a spot under the sun. Relieved and content, we went back to our fun and games.

After lunch, in the middle of a ferocious Super Nintendo Street Fighter tournament, we heard weird noises. Almost like someone screaming, and that’s what it was. The bunnies had spent hours in the hot summer sun and were screaming for their lives.

We thought of holding a proper funeral and bury them in the yard. But we were stopped at one of the guests suggested to take them out of the house. He believed soon or later we will dig them out, and probably do crazy thing. So it would be the best to take the poor animals out of our reach. We never got to know where they were taken.

Afterwards, it was time to sit down to hear pieces of advice from the parent. Mom and dad pointed out how I could have taken better care of the bunnies and also tried asking me what I learned from this experience.

Stubborn me was still trying to prove a point by stamping my foot and raising the idea that why I asked for a dog and not a bunny!

Torso is a student magazine founded and funded by TOKYO, which publishes four times in a year on Art, Design and Society. Each issue has its own theme, and “animal” was the theme for the second issue of the year 2014.

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