When I was a grad student, busy learning the intricacies of the English language at a prestigious Montana university, which will go unnamed for their sake (given that all those years of instruction and intracacing resulted in such profound literary contributions such as The Ball Washer (and words like intracacing)(and using parentheses inside of parentheses)), I rarely lived alone. Over that two year span I had three girls live with me for various lengths of time and with varying degrees of success.
The one constant during that time were my two pets; a rabbit name Annabel and a dog named Lee. Annabel and Lee did not get along. At all. Any interaction between the two typically ended with growling, hissing and/or nasty sideways looks. The unique thing about both of them is that they moved a lot when they slept. They were big dreamers. Every night either one or the other would be laying there with their legs twitching or their eyes rolling around in their head.
My first girlfriend, in Montana getting her Master of Science in Animal Behavior, would watch them intently and then tell me that they were either having one of two dreams every night; they were either chasing or being chased. Simple as that. She was also convinced that they dreamt about each other almost exclusively and so when I watched them trembling away I could almost see Lee chasing Annabel or vice versa. I’m sure I envisioned it more whimsical than it actually was but it did have a certain Norman Rockwellesque charm to it.
My next roommate was there getting her Master of Arts in Psychology. She would see the two animals shuddering and convulsing and be completely certain that they were having one of two dreams; they were either fucking or being fucked. Simple as that. She too was convinced that they dreamt about each other almost exclusively and so when I watched them spasming away I winced and tried hard not to imagine either scenario. The image of my male dog Lee getting fucked by a female rabbit particularly disturbed me. I think it was the idea that Annabel would have been required to wear a strap-on.
“Where would a rabbit even get a strap-on?” I asked my Psychology girlfriend out of the blue one day and she only looked at me and began taking copious mental notes. “Do you think they sell them? I bet we can find them on the internet somewhere.” My voice trailed off as she obviously wasn’t listening anymore.
My final grad school girlfriend was getting her Master of Fine Arts in Poetry. I liked her best. She offered no insights whatsoever into my dreaming pets but instead focused on why I had named them Annabel and Lee.
… at this point I must confess that this story is not true but it does make me wonder what my first girlfriend would have to say about why I wrote it.
What need did this fill… other than filling up a page? She would understand the dog but why not the archetypal cat as the antagonist?
I’m sure my second girlfriend would be fairly certain that I just wanted an excuse to write about a rabbit with a strap-on fucking a dog.
Hard to argue with that. There is plenty of evidence to support this theory.
Of course, the last fictitious girlfriend wouldn’t really care as long as I included a snippet of the famous Edgar Allan Poe poem.
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:
That’s why I hypothetically like her best. She wouldn’t feel compelled to mention alliteration, assonance or even enjambment. She would just appreciate how I named my non-existent pets after a poem about love and loss. She would understand. Missing someone after they’re gone… even if she was, in my case, never really there.
For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;