The Velveteen Rabbit

Apr 17 2016

they call it the “Ah-ha!” moment. or else i think they call it that, or really theyre referring to something else and i just imagine that its what theyre talking about. i really have no idea. but for me what happened was a dream, only it was a dream i couldnt remember, but when i woke up i knew i had changed. Master shoved and prodded at me, but i didnt move, and Master positioned me as He wanted. He said i was behaving well. but when it was time for me to get out of Bed and do my chores, i made no movement. Master became angry and beat me, calling me lazy, a stupid lazy slut, a worthless lazy whore. but i knew i wasn’t being lazy exactly; the dream had somehow changed me, fixed me. i was passive, perfectly passive, and i submitted completely to Master’s discipline. He beat me very badly, but there was no response from my body. my eyes were placid and dewy, my lips slightly parted; this was the perfect attitude for me, and suddenly it was the simplest, the easiest, as i had always expected that it should be, and that i had always been frustrated that it had never been.

after that, for some days, Master used me just as a toy, and im sure that at that time, those were the happiest days that i had known. although i became very dirty, but that did not bother me. but that it seemed to bother Master somewhat, because He informed for me to get and clean myself, although i did not. but that it was not that i did not mean to obey Master, but that it was a matter that was beyond me at that time. and that it seemed still hardly necessary, really, as something had changed inside me, and it was as though the digestive parts, the parts that hungered and consumed and wasted, those irrelevant functions, had been melted all together into the same smooth consistency inside me. and that the parts of me now called dirty were all the Dirt of Master, which was Good. and so that i myself had been made pure and clean, as an object existing for a single purpose only. pure and clean, pure and clean, i thought to myself; it seemed that i should laugh at the possibility that i had become pure and clean, when it was in fact what i had wanted, but it seemed that there should be something laughable about it, and yet there was not. and that i would not laugh, because there was no need or reason for me to express any such thing in any such way.

but then that i knew that there was something about me that bothered Master now, but that i could not see what it could be, because i could only see that i had now been what i thought Master had always wanted, which was pure object. but Master seemed to be avoiding me for some days. the days went by, the light coming and going, and i knew no difference except that my breath went in and out, and i looked at where my eyes directed. and eventually however Master put his hands under my arms and dragged me out of Bed, and my heels hit the floor with a thud. it was no matter to me whether my heels hit the floor, but it seemed to startle Master! He seemed to have expected some more supple movement or some sort of response of reflex, but im afraid that he found me quite stiffened! My head lolled back slightly, but not too much, as though there were some force supporting it independent of my own muscular control. Master dragged me to the bathtub and washed me with some care. it seemed that Master was washing me with some tenderness. Master put a robe on me and carried me to His car, and laid me along the back seat.

as He drove, Master told me that He couldnt care for me any more. “I can’t take care of you anymore, John,” he said. by that i knew that Master was trading me away. i thought my heart would break and that i would die, or that i would want to die; and yet i felt no such thing. i wished that i would feel it, and yet i did not; my eyes pointed out the window at the sky between the trees rushing by, and i looked into that sky and its distant stars. they looked like cold lights, but they were hot lights really, i knew; while they were hot and cold, i was neither. “You won’t be having any new Master though John,” said Master, “I will be your only ever Master. From now on you will answer to a Sir,” He said.

the quiet starlight looked down on me still as i was pulled from the car. my robe was inadvertently dragged off and dropped away and i was made naked; it did not matter. the hands that pulled me were gentle, my limbs were gripped. they were the hands of sturdy young youths – women, boys, girls, men, those things that you call them that i had been, young people. those people were talking to each other in friendly ways, and saying hello to me and asking my name, while Master was also talking to another person and i knew that this person was Sir. although i realised i did not know who all of those people were really, they were just people. i was being spoken to and questioned but my lips though slightly parted did not move in answer. my eyes looked into the sky until i was taken inside, and i was placed on a sofa, and my eyes stared at a ceiling light.

i knew that Master had gone forever when a new, older face came over me, and that it was the face of Sir. Sir had a kindly, gentle face; although i knew that faces could be kindly and gentle when they chose and it meant nothing of what was behind those faces, but that perhaps there was kindness and gentleness behind this face of Sir. it was possible, although i did not know. “Hello John,” said Sir, “Welcome to my house. It will be peaceful for you here, and you will like it. Now you will have a bath, and be put to bed.” again, the able-bodied youths were surrounding me and taking me, and they were putting me in the bath. it was a bubble bath with hot water. so much bathing suddenly, i thought, so much water! but i did not mind it. they were talking to me, i noticed, as though i were an animal being bathed, a cat or a dog, but for most of their conversation was directed at one another. i did not understand what they were discussing, but i did not mind. in any case i wasnt sure whether i was really listening to it or not.

afterwards, i was put into pajamas and placed beneath the covers of a bed. the bed was in a small room next to the kitchen in the house. i knew that it was a large house by the parts of it that i had been taken through, and by the existence of the small room, which may have been some sort of pantry or store room, of a type that small houses never had. the small room seemed to be the correct place for a dog or a cat, although the bed was for a person, and the bed linens were arranged around me as though i were a person. the pajamas were pale blue, like for a boy. the sheets were white, the cover was white broderie anglaise, and everything was soft and clean. this must look pretty, i thought. the door was left ajar and the light from the kitchen came in. i was to expect that Sir would be to come and use me as a toy, but Sir did not.

although i saw Sir many times in those days, or weeks, or months following that, which all blended into moments. the gentle soft face and voice of Sir near to me. although dear to me i did not say and which was irrelevant. i existed as though i were a part of a great game in that house, that centered all around me, but though i was incidental to. although i were used never as a toy as i had expected, but as part of a game. like a game of pass-the-parcel, but more like a game of doll, the doll who is your companion. and i was aware many times that i was very heavy for those who carried me around as they played this game, as they huffed and puffed while bathing me and dressing me and undressing me, while taking me on picnics and sleigh rides and drives to amusement parks where they sat me on mechanical rides and watched me be thrown about. but that although i was heavy that they never complained, but moved me with a sort of joyfulness in having me to play with. i wondered whether i should move myself, but at the same time it did not really matter to me whether i should try to move myself or not, and i did not move myself because i did not try. any attempt would have been redundant.

every night in the house the door to the little room was ajar and the light in the kitchen was left on all night, and the conversations of the young inhabitants of the house visiting the kitchen during the night reached me. i did not understand the conversations. the conversations were usually to do with creators of intellectual works and the works of those creators. it was of no consequence to me whether or not i understood it. i was not designed to understand those things, i was not supposed to know them. that knowledge was not necessary for me, not needed. i heard it, but i did not seek it. in some sense i was above it, i had gone beyond it, transcended it. it was as irrelevant to my existence as i was to it. however, i found that i liked it. i realised that it seemed as though i were a very young child again. it was as though i had fallen asleep while the adults were talking, and that i had been carried to bed, and that halfawake i could still hear the adults talking although not making out what they said.

this was not a house of sex, i thought. i had thought i was coming to a house of sex, but that was not where i had been taken. if there was any sex in that house, i never saw a sign of it. it was a house of something quite different, and i did not know in what manner i belonged there, but that it seemed expected that i should be there.

in a morning Sir came into the room where i was kept, and bent over me so that my eyes were directed at Sir’s face. my eyes were directed in fact to the eyes of Sir, and they were grey eyes, smooth and velvety like deep fog. it was almost as though we made eye contact, although i knew it was really not that we made eye contact; it was just that my eyes were directed at Sir’s at that time. “Hello John,” said Sir, “Good morning, and I see that you have stopped breathing now.” i had not thought of it, but now that it was drawn to my attention, i realised that it was true that i had stopped breathing. Sir was smiling Sir’s gentle smile.

i suppose that i had died, although i had not really died, because i had not really been living. i thought that my eyes were not glass, although they were no longer flesh, and i knew that because they did no movement anymore. they were a dummy apparatus, like everything else about me. my limbs were laid out on the linens of the little bed in the same forms in which they had been laid out when i had been put to bed the previous evening, and no changes had taken place in me overnight, except that i no longer breathed.

i was carried from the house in the blanket, and i knew it was a special day. i was carried in the same way that i had been, as a doll in a game. although it had never been a game, i knew; everything had been completely Real, in all respects. there was a hole that had been dug for me, and i was rolled out of the blanket and dropped into the hole, because this was the part of the game where i got buried. my limbs tumbled and rested in funny ways in the hole, but i had landed facing up! “Goodbye, John!” they said to me. “Bye John, bye!” they were the voices of all those who lived in the house, who had played with me so much. they began to push the earth into the hole, and i saw their faces, and the face of Sir was there too. the faces were smiling down on me with sweet, radiant benevolence as the dirt crumbled onto my eyeball parts and i was covered over. They were saying “Goodbye John!” like a choir of angels.

i wondered why they had buried me, whether it would have been better to have thrown me into the river. i would have washed down the river and been pushed by the water into some snowbank and gotten snowed over. and when the snow melted in spring i would have been encountered by passerby, looking like some sordid murder victim, with my body all encrusted in mud and my clothes all torn and rotted. and then i suppose they would have toyed with me. but it was of no importance; i was indifferent.

the earth rested against my eyeball parts, pushing against them relentlessly, without any force of inclination. the earth was inert, and my eyeball parts were inert. essentially, those different substances were the same, identical stuff.

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