Siana had been naïve then, and unaware. “Hold on,” she asked Yulia, “We weren’t talking about sex? Then what’s all that about rabbits and shrimps?”
“Oh, well,” sighed Yulia, “this would be your first time hearing about these kind of comparisons.”
Yulia prepared herself and began to explain. “Rabbits are an analogy for premature ejaculation. Someone referred as ‘rabbit’ lasts only three seconds. At least that’s what the other wives tell me. And when it’s small, you call it a ‘shrimp dick’ because shrimp are generally tiny.”
“Do you really have to use such metaphors?” asked Siana, “Can’t you just be straightforward with it?”
“Well,” said Yulia, “It’s uncomfortable, so these metaphors make it easier to use.”
“Anyway,” said Yulia, snickering, “here’s the thing. A man can have the world at his feet. He can keep up his appearance, have financial and social power, but how he is in the bedroom is equally important. Remember the rabbit and the shrimp, Sia.”
Siana’s thoughts were so unwillingly invaded by these things as she lay in her bed thinking about her situation. She wondered if she can use these analogies to disappoint Alan so he would just drop his proposals. Men didn’t seem to understand a clear ‘no’, in any case. Siana decided she would use these analogies on Alan when he came back to meet her tomorrow.
Siana sat down and penned a letter to her friend Yulia addressed to Earl Lennon. She didn’t know if she would be able to write to her tomorrow. At this point, her life was taking so many crooked turns that kept her reeling. She went out to mail the letter and came back exhausted and fell asleep.
Alan arrived at Siana’s house on time the next day. He was very punctual. He came with the same group of men from the day before. There was only one thing different. He wore a white uniform instead of his black one.
Siana saw him through the window and swallowed. She felt very anxious. His blond hair shone in the sun. He looked fresh and comfortable in his white uniform; it was hard to believe he had just returned from the war.
Alan knew this. He never preferred white uniforms because it wasn’t feasible in war. It signalled you out and made you an easy target for the enemy. But he knew he looked good in it, and he wanted to meet Siana in his best form today. He had even gone to the city and got a haircut. Alan was very insecure regarding his appearance. His colleagues in the military spared no moment to make fun of him, always saying that he looked like a ‘little bitch’. So he was usually hesitant and insecure regarding his appearance.
Siana seemed unfocused. He thought maybe she was flustered on seeing him as though she didn’t have enough troubles going on in her life to put enough stress on her. I will make you accept my proposal, thought Alan.
“So, have you thought about it?” asked Alan, entering her house.
His voice crashed into her and brought her back to the present from the thoughts that were raging in her mind. Siana was unable to respond because she was still lost in figuring out a solution for her problems.
“Sia,” called Alan.
“Sorry,” she stammered, “What were you saying?”
“Have you thought further regarding my proposal?” he asked.
‘Focus,’ she said to herself, ‘this will be over soon.’ She straightened her dress and maintained her composure. “I can’t marry you, Alan,” she said, wearily, “I thought about it the whole day and I can’t.”
“Can I ask why?” he asked.
Siana took a deep breath. “Is it going to matter?” she retorted, “I have told you a million times, but you have no respect for my wishes.” She didn’t want to be harsh. She had prepared her answer and was so confident until up to the time she met him now. He still looked at her expectantly.
She wanted to stop wasting her time, grab the money she had left and go seek asylum in another country. And Alan stood there like a hurdle in her path. She had no other way than to reject him so brutally that he would not seek her again. Why are men so difficult?
“I…,” she began. She balled her fists and steeled herself. This was going to be her last attempt. Hopefully, he will get it and leave.
“I hate rabbits,” she blurted out.
“What?” asked Alan, bewildered, “Rabbits?”
Siana felt embarrassed. She felt her face burning. She was trying to avoid this situation as much as she could, but there just seemed to be no way out. She avoided his eyes.
“Yes, I hate rabbits,” she said, firmly.
Repeating it felt less embarrassing. Hopefully, he understood what she meant. Maybe he would turn around and head out, finally, and leave her alone. Siana hoped he found her too brazen to marry. She prayed to a god she didn’t believe in.
“I didn’t know you hated rabbits,” he said, confused, “But if you really hate them that much, I won’t be keeping them as pets. Don’t worry.”
Siana cursed inwardly. ‘Idiot,’ she thought. She realized that analogy and euphemism was only going to get her so far. She needed to be straightforward and firm.
“Is there anything else you don’t like?” he asked, “It would be good to know each other before we got married, don’t you think?”
Siana wished the floor could swallow her whole. “No, Alan,” she said, wearily, “That is not what I meant.”
He looked at her, confused. “Then what do you mean?” he asked politely.
Siana hunted for words to make him understand. She had come this far; she needed to make him understand. There was no going back. She had no courage to explain the ‘rabbit’ to him. She was embarrassed enough as it is. But sadder was the fact that her life had come to these choices: Marry Alan; marry the vile viscount; or, run away in exile.
She decided to just blurt it out. Being unmarried wasn’t a sin. Why did society interfere with how she wanted to live her life? Besides, even if it seemed brazen, she would never have to see Alan again. She would be much too far away to care.
“Rabbit is a slang,” she explained, “For men who don’t last long in bed. A rabbit cums in three seconds.”