Like having a butterfly land on your finger, she lingered only lightly. I almost held my breath when she was nearby playing so peacefully. I pondered her as I watched. This little being, so filled with purity, simple joy and light gently plucking flowers in a miniature bouquet for who knows what reason. She hopped around the edge of our large back yard her straw blonde hair dangling over her chubby white cheeks and little pink button nose. My Bunny. She hummed some tune of her own as she collected the flowers. The coarse grassy lawn was lined with fruit trees. A large old Apricot still dropped so much fruit it was impossible to collect it all. Pomegranates hung bountifully along the back fence from the original farm. A plum in the far corner regularly stripped by wild deer and an tart green apple tree in the center. A black berry bush along one side and feral asparagus grew along the opposite. Beyond the back fence was a large fallow field wild with tall weeds where we would often fly kites. Only hills and mountains beyond that from our vantage point. “The country”, or that’s how we perceived it.
My wife Inga and My son Travis had moved here when Travis was barely 3. We had left our tiny 1 bedroom apartment in Southeast Santa Monica to this house in Buellton after searching Santa Barbara unsatisfactorily. My brother had suggested looking out in the ‘valley.’ Inga and I had gasped when we’d seen this place. It seemed impossible that we should be allowed to live here. The 3 bedroom 2 bath house in a quiet suburban neighborhood was certainly nothing special, but to us it meant the world after living in such cramped quarters in the heart of Santa Monica. The gangs, theft, violence, crowds, traffic, horrible daycare and then the riots. I had not wanted to raise Travis or now this gentle little being there. My heart filled to bursting as I took in the beautiful scene before me.
The job in Santa Barbara had been a ‘Hail Mary’ pass thrown from deep in my own end zone with an all out blitz ready to bury me. A full time illustration position designing skateboard graphics? Impossible. My prayer helped by my history as a surfer, skater, animator and Punk album cover designer. The interviewers especially liked one Album cover in particular. The Bad Religion burning boy from the album ‘Suffer’ was ultimately the key that had opened the door to this life.
Now suburbanites with a minivan 2 kids and a cat, we were quite the show when we arrived in a Bob tail truck with a skeleton painted on the side. Our motley moving crew included my brother, skaters, artist friends and my animation mentor Gaby who was a transgender male to female. Our neighbor, also coincidentally the current Mayor of Buellton, had introduced himself to Gaby mistaking her for my wife. Gaby had explained in a deep voice that Inga was actually the person he was looking for pointing him in the right direction.
Since then we’d settled in to a ‘normal’ life. Or at least as normal as we could make it. Today I sat in a white plastic chair on the back patio watching Riley pluck flowers and hum while her Mom was doing lunges around the perimeter in her blue leggings, white tennies and gray top. She was a masseuse and fitness instructor. “Where was Travis?” I wondered. I hadn’t seen my son in about 15 minutes. “Reowwww!!” I heard as he swooped out from inside the house his arms extended like an airplane. “Dugga-dugga-Dugga!” He yelled unloading a barrage of Lego blocks on his little sister’s head. “TRA-VIS!” We all yelled annoyed our peaceful moment broken. Inga ran over to arrest the Kamikaze pilot while I went to the little blonde victim now crying softly. I picked her up a warm furry pale little creature. Her sad blue eyes welled with tears sparkling like polished buttons. “Oh, it’s okay honey.” I said softly. “Its okay my little Bunny.”

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