She had the looks of a ballerina, with a bit more nervous energy than you would have expected. She was graced with a long fine aristocratic nose, princely demeanour, never-ending limbs with delicate tendrils, liquidy doe eyes to melt the stoniest of hearts.
Her silky grey coat was too scant for our harsh winters. You could practically hear her rib cage clatter as she shivered forcefully. She had the prized anorectic figure, well-defined skeleton under her light skin, a lithe body made for aerial acrobatics. Only her own could compete with her speed. She breathed competition and grew focused and intent straining to catch the white bag, a poor surrogate for a rabbit.
She missed the racing bib, the rush of the start, the pure joy of running full-tilt under the acclamations of the many, the barely contained cries of excitement of her competitors, the clack as the doors opened, the thrill of the chase!
She relived those days of old in her dreams, a series of white flashes that rippled through her body. She was wracked with arthritis now, an irony that was not lost on her, her painful body regaining its fluidity long after waking on humid days. And yet the grand dame still held her head high, her eyes foggy from the painkillers, her racing days a thirst she could not quench. In the fall, her legs twitched anew, adrenaline coursing through her body as discarded plastic bags ran under strong winds and flew through the air, awakening her chase instinct.
Her current humans were nice, a pair of gentle giants who took care of her, their long legs a match for hers as they strolled the neighborhood on warm days. It grew cold outside. Though she craved fresh air, she resented the extra coat and booties required for the deed. These days, more often than not, she retreated to her bed, minimally interested in the outdoors.
She was treated like royalty, admired like a piece of living art. She required cautious handling, commanded a delicate touch lest she shatter. She welcomed the muted adulation, the distant applause as she glided about. Her mere presence elevated people’s souls to rarefied spheres. She understood that to be her new life’s purpose. She had come to terms with her new state. In her presence, habitual coarseness was stripped off mortal beings, the rough edges sanded down, a more polished exterior attained. Her zen-like disposition created a calm, meditative environment.
Once in a while, humans took her and a few colleagues out of retirement. They attended yoga classes where they patrolled row after row of fawning humans, and posed for the gallery. She was the dean at those gatherings and given all the space that befitted her status. Again, she welcomed the attention but found the instructor’s voice tiresome.
On regular days, people stopped her handler and took pictures. The paparazzi never let up. That, she had had to endure ever since she was a gangly teenager She had hated the attention then, most pictures only showing a blur as she turned or skittered away. She was too beautiful to be reprimanded. Who would think of scolding a doe for her skittishness? No, she was accepted and praised for who she was: Misty, Queen of Air and Land.
She fell once, then again, and more often, her legs stiffening and jerking her to the ground in an undignified heap of incoordination. Her thoughts became muddled and fractured. Longer and longer naps were required to right things.
The day finally came when she only brought sadness to her humans. She knew she had to leave. They had one last walk, one last lick, one last nap. She kissed the good doctor on his ear, tickling him softly. She felt a gentle prick as the tightness and pain receded. Her surprised look mirrored her human’s gaze. Her features relaxed into a slow smile as she finally caught the elusive rabbit.