by Abby Gray ’18
I was driving home from volunteering of all places. I had just gone to the Sawmill Chick Fil A and picked up a vanilla milkshake on my way home. It was dark and my high beams were on because I was driving down an empty residential street. I don’t remember listening to any music, just sitting with my thoughts and my milkshake as I cruised towards Riverside Drive. Little did I know my life was about to change forever.
On the edge of street appeared a small brown puff of fur, it was running. I don’t speak bunny rabbit, and no amount of volume or magnitude coming from my screaming mouth could have stopped that bunny, but I yelled anyways, very, very loudly. I hit my breaks as hard as I could, but it was not enough. As my tires bumped over the tiny bunny I immediately burst out in tears. I did not stop or even look back at the murder scene because I knew I would not be emotionally able to handle seeing the atrocity I had just committed laying in the street.
I do not exaggerate when I say that I cried for two hours. Each time I calmed myself down, I thought of the baby bunnies that had just lost a parent, an entire life I had just taken, and began sobbing again. Of course it had to be a bunny. If I had killed a possum I would not have been so traumatized, but a fluffy little bunny? It was scarring.
In most books we read in school, the characters have a coming of age moment. It’s usually not too drawn out, like Holden watching Phoebe go around the carousel or Jem having his arm broken by Bob Ewell or when Harry Potter realizes his prophesy with Voldemort must come true. They’re more like bookmarks. It’s a short indicator that the last chapter of life has been completed and the next is yet to come.
I decided driving home in tears that hitting the bunny would be my bookmark. I had just commited a serious crime against humanity, I mean bunny-ity, and even though I had turned 18 months ago, I strangely felt a little more adult. I had hit a bunny and now I was ready to take on college and other real life hardships, ones even worse than accidentally murdering a little fluff ball. The bunny-incident itself was not what matured me into being ready for adult life, but it was my bookmark of maturity, of readiness.
Bookmarks don’t have to be perfect- ripped pieces of notebook paper, old post it notes, a pencil from your bedside table will do. No need to go out and buy one, just choose one from the collection of things around you. Some memories won’t be significant unless you choose to make them so, unless you stick them in between the pages of what you choose to include in the story of your life and say “here, this is where this chapter closes and this one starts, and this is what I learned in the process.”
I encourage you to pick some bookmarks. Write them in a journal or type them out, so you can look back see a beautiful display of the changes of your life, both in situation and personality, displayed in words. I know years from now the story of me hitting a bunny won’t be so hard to recall, and it might even eventually become funny. I have chosen to include it in my book, expectant to see the future bookmarks of life that I find along the way, and all the stories in between.