Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a rabbit who was made almost entirely of china. He had china arms and china legs, china paws and a china head, a china torso and a china nose. . . . His ears were made of real rabbit fur, and beneath the fur, there were strong, bendable wires, which allowed the ears to be arranged into poses that reflected the rabbit’s mood — jaunty, tired, full of ennui. His tail, too, was made of real rabbit fur and was fluffy and soft and well shaped. The rabbit’s name was Edward Tulane, and he was tall. He measured almost three feet from the tip of his ears to the tip of his feet; his eyes were painted a penetrating and intelligent blue. . . . Edward’s mistress was a ten-year-old, dark-haired girl named Abilene Tulane, who thought almost as highly of Edward as Edward thought of himself. Each morning after she dressed herself for school, Abilene dressed Edward. The china rabbit was in possession of an extraordinary wardrobe composed of handmade silk suits, custom shoes fashioned from the finest leather and designed specifically for his rabbit feet, and a wide array of hats equipped with holes so that they could easily fit over Edward’s large and expressive ears. Each pair of well-cut pants had a small pocket for Edward’s gold pocket watch. Abilene wound this watch for him each morning. “Now, Edward,” she said to him after she was done winding the watch, “when the big hand is on the twelve and the little hand is on the three, I will come home to you.” She placed Edward on a chair in the dining room and positioned the chair so that Edward was looking out the window and could see the path that led up to the Tulane front door. Abilene balanced the watch on his left leg. She kissed the tips of his ears, and then she left and Edward spent the day staring out at Egypt Street, listening to the tick of his watch and waiting.
There is something about this book that really strikes me deeply right now. When I read the first chapter I suddenly felt like the author was writing about me! Not as the little girl, but as Edward the rabbit. I know how he felt, sitting on that chair and watching through the window, with the clock ticking nearby. I feel the same helpless waiting feeling, that I'm just trying to pass the days until my joy returns. Three o'clock is when the Savior will come again, and my sweet baby will be restored to me.
The last two paragraphs from the chapter also resonate with me:
Edward said nothing. He said nothing because, of course, he could not speak. He lay in his small bed next to Abilene’s large one. He stared up at the ceiling and listened to the sound of her breath entering and leaving her body, knowing that soon she would be asleep. Because Edward’s eyes were painted on and he could not close them, he was always awake. Sometimes, if Abilene put him into his bed on his side instead of on his back, he could see through the cracks in the curtains and out into the dark night. On clear nights, the stars shone, and their pinprick light comforted Edward in a way that he could not quite understand. Often, he stared at the stars all night until the dark finally gave way to dawn.