by Tanuj Solanki
So I look at you bunny, you who never cry, and I've this urge to slap you tight on your plum-like cheek and watch you emit a sonata of baby duress.
"He never cries" your sonsy mother warned me in the morning, "Never. When he came out the doctors tried varieties of pinching. But nothing. They were quite worried"
"And when he's hungry?" I asked.
"I just know. Mothers know."
"How does Marl feel about it?"
I asked because your papa has a reputation. The neighbourhood can't stop talking about his rage when the gypsies settled on that knoll, other side of the village. He scared them away, single-handed, barbarian-like. He doesn't like weird stuff.
"He took a while" your mother replied. "But then he was ok. Said the baby was a symbol for our century, something like that"
Bah! I thought. Ideological inconsistency.
So, here we are bunny, you in that crummy cradle, staring at the ceiling, and me by your side, your caretaker for the day, full of dislike for your daddy and pondering the next steps with you. How tempted I'm to pinch you hard on your two inch feet, or to pull the few filmy hair on your spongy skull. I feel spoilt for options!
Would I want to hurt you if you were normal, a normal crying baby? Perhaps not. That would be no fun. Then you would be like my ten year old brother, Vij, who is so easy with tears. I boo Vij sometimes from behind half shut doors, for fun, and he cries so hard that there are wet spots on his knickers even. And then he gets stupidly belligerent, tries to box me with his soft fists. If I was forced to find a symbol for our century, Vij would be it. He is so frightened, so inane, so aggressive.
But such symbolism is futile, you will know. Once I told my boyfriend Jacques that he was the essence of all that had gone wrong with men. He only said "Bof". And I'm still with him. So.
Ah, you wiggle with limbs and bob your head. Your move as if you have imaginary cymbals tied to your hands and legs, as if you want to make a noise. You like that, eh? You like what I said. Or maybe you are just trying to con me into thinking of you as cute. Maybe you just want to be spared the trauma that is about to come your way. Sorry, you can't.
So, here we are bunny, you the cherub simulating a sweet move, me the imp bent on hurting. We both have to play our parts. You will play yours silently, without a sound, for you never cry. And I will play mine silently too, with a causeless malice. Should I just lift you holding your left hand, let a tranquil dislocation of shoulder happen to you. Or should I just tickle you, make you laugh till you almost cry?