For three years during my twenties, I lived in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Over the time I was there, I worked at four different jobs, all with their special challenges. I lived in five different apartments, each with their own quirks. It was a funny time that I look back on with a lot of fond memories. Some of the memories are also a bit surreal and when I think of them, I struggle to reconcile them with reality as I now understand it, but the events made their own kind of sense at the time.
One of the apartments we lived in didn’t really have walls.
It was in the old part of town, the “Romantic Zone,” which was a charming neighbourhood, if slightly seedy. (Not the dangerous kind of seedy, just a little run down.) It was the top floor apartment in a building that had a ceramic tile shop on the ground floor and then the landlord’s family on the floor above that, and then us. Instead of walls, it had posts and a noisy tin roof and blinds that you could pull down for privacy. If it rained, things got wet. That’s just how it was.
The buildings on either side of us were only two storeys, so if you went onto our balcony and looked left or right, you were looking at the tar and gravel roof of the building next door.
One night I woke up for whatever reason, sometime in the middle of the night, and on the floor at the foot of our bed was a huge white rabbit. My semi-sleeping brain was having trouble with this concept, but after the rabbit and I had stared each other down for a while, I was convinced it was really there.
So I woke up my boyfriend. (Same fella I’m with now, but he was only my boyfriend then.)
ME: Boyfriend! Boyfriend! Wake up!
HIM: What? No! Go to sleep.
ME: But there’s a white rabbit at the foot of the bed.
HIM: No there isn’t. Go back to sleep.
ME: There is so! Look!
HIM: [Actually waking up at this point. Looks.] There’s no rabbit. You’re dreaming. Why would there be a rabbit? We live in the city. On the third floor. How could there even be a rabbit?
ME: I don’t know but it’s there. Oh wait, where did it go? [Rabbit has magically disappeared.]
HIM: There is no rabbit. Seriously. You were having one of your dreams. It’s ok. Go to sleep.
ME: [Totally confused.] I could have sworn there was a rabbit.
[Both go back to sleep.]
* * * * * * * * * *
[Indeterminate amount of time passes, but it is still night. I am sleeping. Boyfriend has got up to go to the washroom or get some water or something.]
HIM: HOLY SHIT! THERE’S A GIGANTIC WHITE RABBIT IN HERE!
ME: [Instantly awake and thrilled at being validated.] HA!
[Both go back to sleep.]
It later turned out this rabbit did exist. It belonged to some kids a few buildings down and had escaped them and come across a few roofs and come into our apartment. I guess everything does have a reasonable explanation. I know though, that I accepted the idea of the rabbit quite quickly within that setting. Even though it didn’t make any sense, it seemed like something that could happen. Because it was just the sort of thing that happened when we were in Mexico.
If I saw a rabbit now, in the middle of the floor, I wouldn’t even bother to poke my husband. I’d just assume it was in my head.
Context is everything.