Now, I'm not sure if the following story is true, or if I just made it up in my head, but here's how I think it happened. At Easter, when I was in the region of 3 years old, the Easter bunny was said to have left my friend on the porch of our house (in my head it's somewhere warm, like California, but from what I know we lived most of my young childhood in Alaska). I remember crawling into bed with my mother and discussing what said bunny should be named. Names are very important and we couldn't decide on one, until she had a good look at the rabbit and said 'How about Charlie?' and Charlie he has been ever since.
Here's where the story gets sad. My family has always been a little ... different. And in this case, I mean abusive. It's a complicated story and too much to go into in this post, but my dad has never been an easy person to live with. Even though my mother and I have always had an uneasy relationship, she did try when I was younger to do the right thing, however misguided. She used to take my brother and I and move somplace new. This might explain why I thought I found Charlie in California when we were supposed to be in Alaska, I don't think I'll ever know. We were 'taken' a countless number of times. When I tried to explain this to a friend, he said 'your mom KIDNAPPED you?' and it sounds bizarre, but I guess it's partly true. Whatever.
Whenever we were taken, my mom would somehow never think to bring Charlie along with us. Because we moved around so much already, I had no real friends. Charlie was my (only) confidante in all things little-girl. He really was my best friend, and she always left him behind. Whenever I next saw my father again (because he always found us) the first thing he did was take Charlie out from wherever he'd stash him and give Charlie to me, even before we hugged or said hello. He was the only person who knew how much that ragged old rabbit meant to me. And no matter what we've done to each other, I respect my father for that at the very least.
Charlie lives in a happier home now, surrounded by the rest of The Guys. He used to wear maroon overalls and have a little carrot in his back pocket, but the straps on his overalls tore off long ago, and I've never found his missing carrot. Because of old age, his fur has come out in orange patches, and the soft bits on his stomach and under his ears isn't as soft as it used to be, but I couldn't love him anymore than I do. N has extended his name, and sometimes calls him 'Charles Montgomery Brewster' - I guess he sees Charlie's inner-poshness.
Thanks for listening, and more next week...