The Burmese doctor looked hesitant. They all knew, despite medication, she was slowly slipping away.
“She sees the spirit world and wants to go.” He whispered. “You need to rekindle her interest in this world somehow.” He glanced at the mother for reassurance. This was not something he usually told his English patients, but she understood. They looked down at the pale five year old, her lungs ravaged by double pneumonia, breathing barely audible as she slipped peacefully back into sleep.
“We could hospitalize her…” the doctor ventured. They knew it wouldn’t help any more than the medicine had.
“No!” the father exclaimed fiercely, “she stays here with us…”
The voices sounded distant to childlike ears, like the whisper of a dream. Around her the light glowed as she drew closer to the music that called her, soothing and peaceful. She felt at home here in this place. She was drifting home…
Angry tears welled up in the father’s eyes. He’d waited so long for this child, lost four already in pregnancies that ended in despair. He would not give up. He would fight.
He remembered her joy on her birthday when they’d bought her a kitten, a fluffy ball of ginger delight and her sadness when it died a few weeks later. An idea formed in his head. He’d get another cat, a pretty one, surely that would rouse her.
Cycling home from work he stopped off at the pet shop, not a cat of any description to be found…
She was aware of someone coming into the room, her dad’s jolly chuckle. Half opening her eyes she looked in amazement at the thick leather bag he carried. The purple and brown triangles were wriggling. Eyes popped wide in curiosity.
“What is it daddy?” the little voice piped with sudden interest.
“It’s a monkey,” Dad said.
It wasn’t a monkey, (dad was always a tease). Opening the bag onto the bed he let loose its occupant, a small, frightened, black and white rabbit. Running in circles about the bedding it flung one leg in the air, spraying the room with its jubilant freedom.
The little mouth puckered and laughed. A laugh echoed with tears by both parents.
“I don’t care about the mess, that rabbit stays.” Mother said stubbornly.
Stay it did for a whole blissful week as child and rabbit became friends. Laughter rang often through the room and more pillows were fetched so she could sit up and watch it. She even ate again sharing carrots with the rabbit.
Father was busy every night after work on his special project, a home for Bibi as he was now called.
One day father sat on the bed watching the child, eyes now clearer, sitting unsupported, rabbit in arms.
“He needs to move out to the shed,” he explained. “It’s too much work for your mother with all this mess he makes. I made him a nice hutch. When you’re well enough I’ll carry you down and you can go see him.”
Recovery went fast after that and soon she was rewarded. Carrot in hand, dressed in her dressing gown and smothered with a blanket, she went to look over her friend’s domain. All was perfect, a “bedroom” he could snuggle away in, a meshed area she could see him through and lots of fresh straw. Snuggling in her father’s arms she thrust the carrot through the mesh delighted as sharp, white teeth munched away.
Soon they were playing together in the garden, the old dog who’d played nursemaid in her infancy strangely accepting Bibi’s coming, as if also thankful for the service the little rabbit had performed. Later a cat was added again, the three often to be found snuggled together enjoying the sun.
And the child? She lived of course.
How do I know this is true? The child was me.