by Alexa Salvato
“Emma!” Margaret squeals from across the 7-Eleven parking lot. “Emma! Emma! Oh my god, get the fuck over here! I’ve been waiting forever!”
I roll my eyes and smile despite the annoyingness of Margaret’s tinny, familiar voice. “One sec, Margaret. There was no need for you to get here so early. And besides, I have to get Heart’s shit together.” I unbuckle the cage from the back seat and cross the parking lot with it, gingerly looking both ways. When I get to Margaret’s station wagon, I place the cage on the hood.
“Margaret, meet Heart.”
“Oh. My. Fucking. God!” She looks from me to the bunny to me again. “We have a bunny. We, Emma and Margaret, have a goddamn bunny. It’s ours! She’s our traveling pants! She’s our traveling pants!” She looks Heart straight in the eyes, completely unbothered by the rabbit’s lack of reciprocation. “Emma, can I hug you?” she says quietly.
“Of course, Mag.” She grabs me in a rib-crushing embrace.
“Do I really get to keep her?”
“This is the best idea I’ve — we’ve ever had,” she corrects, carefully, looking at me desperately to make sure she didn’t fuck up beyond repair. But we each already have too many times to count. For Mag and I, I don’t even know what that means anymore.
Mag and I have been friends since we were sixteen, sophomore year, and we’d thought nothing could break it. We loved each other. We loved each other. But then we, well, thought we loved each other differently. Like, love-loved. That’s the only
thing that could have destroyed us forever.
I brought it up first, but Margaret let it linger for a whole year, expecting me to wait for an answer.
No, fuck that. Not her.
I look at her glistening pink lipstick, her clumsily-barretted curly brown hair as she gently extracts Heart from her home, holding her tight to her chest, right between her tiny breasts.
Mag and I have always had trouble caring for each of ourselves. When we couldn’t care about each other without it hurting, we had nothing in common.
It was my idea to find something we could love together, despite our three-hour driving distance. Not to mention our emotional distance.
In came Heart. Mag named her.
I let her.