The Year the Easter Bunny Died

Fear can help to cement every detail of a particular memory into a child's brain.

The memories I have of my fifth Easter are extremely vivid.

The day before Easter, I was bursting with anticipation.  I could recall that the year before had yielded a hefty amount of chocolate and jelly beans and that there were bright colored things and baskets and  a magic rabbit that somehow made all of the other stuff happen.   I was understandably completely out of my mind with excitement.


It wasn't long before my little brain began concocting a scheme to squeeze every last bit of sugary goodness out of the opportunity before me.  


I was going to trap the Easter bunny and make him my slave.   I was going to have an unlimited supply of chocolate forever!


I went to bed that night with the plan firmly in place in my mind:  wake up early.  Go outside and hide in the bushes.  When the Easter bunny appears, trap him in a bag or under a blanket then put him in a hole or in my closet where he can't get away.  It was flawless.  

I fell asleep, content with my strategy.


When I awoke, I was filled with rabid excitement about my almost certain future of unlimited chocolate. 


I grabbed my blanket and raced down the hall:


I threw open the back patio door. 

 

I was shocked to see my poor, tired mother kneeling in the grass, a brightly colored egg in her hand; her head adorned with rabbit ears. 


Imagine that you are five years old.  You have just exploded enthusiastically out of your house, expecting to find the Easter bunny, which you are hoping to trap and keep as your chocolate-making slave.  Instead, you find your mom.  There is no Easter bunny in sight even though he is supposed to be there.  Your mom is wearing rabbit ears.  

What does your brain do with this information?  Mine did this: 


=


My mom killed the Easter bunny and harvested his ears to wear as a hat.   What.  The.  Fuck.   Grief-stricken and terrified, I fled to my room. 



My mom, unaware of the correlation between her rabbit ears and my sudden terror, followed me to offer comfort. 


I can only imagine her confusion.  I'm pretty sure she assumed that I was simply upset over the realization that the Easter bunny wasn't real.  But no.  It took me at least five more years to figure that out.  My mother sat on the bed with me, trying her hardest to convince me that she was just "helping" the Easter bunny because he was "sick."  The whole time I was inching away from her; wondering what other kinds of sickening crimes such a monster was capable of. 


I don't remember how (or even if) the situation was resolved.  I don't remember whether I looked for eggs that year or just sat stunned in a corner of my room all day.  I DO remember worrying about the safety of Santa Clause the next Christmas.  I sat in the hallway closet and watched my stocking, prepared to jump out and surprise any would-be attackers.  No one was going to lay a finger on Santa if I had anything to say about it.