The One Who is Two - Book 1 of White Rabbit
'Loofah? You mean, like a bath sponge?'
'Exactly. Like a bath sponge.'
'I don't get it.'
'She had a bath sponge in the shape of a rabbit. A pink one. You bought it for her, two
Christmases ago.' More reproach, implicit in her tone, for not remembering the pink sponge.
'She called that "Loofah" too, if you remember – and now she's got a live version.'
'It's a silly name,' he said, defensively, 'Why couldn't she call it something normal – like
Flopsy or Thumper?'
'It's Laura's rabbit and she can call it what she wants. Anyway, I happen to think that Loofah
is a very imaginative name.'
'Well, whatever. But I don't think you should have it running round the house. It's not
'What are you talking about? The rabbit's in the garden. It never comes into the house.'
'Stephanie, it was right there, in the living room. I saw it myself.'
'Then what's that?' she said, looking out of the back window.
He moved back into the room and followed her gaze. The rabbit, dazzling in the grey light of
the autumn afternoon, was sitting in the middle of the lawn, looking straight at him with solid
'Laura,' his wife called through to the living room, 'It's time to put Loofah back in his hutch.
He's been out long enough.'
'I'm telling you the rabbit was in the house, sitting right there – I saw it when you went to get
'Then he must have a key for the patio doors,' she said, humourlessly, 'Now, Simon, will you
please go. If you won't stick to our agreement, I'll have to get the solicitors involved – and
neither of us want that, do we?'
Cadwallader unlocked the driver's door and then turned back to look at the house.
In the great scheme of things it wasn't much – a three bedroom detached house in a modern
estate on the edge of Rickmansworth – but it had been the centre of his life for five years. He had
decorated it himself, he had fitted out the bathroom and installed the new kitchen units. The
flower beds he had laid out were flourishing and the Norwegian maple he had planted in the front
lawn, and had watered lovingly through two summers of drought, was beginning to look like a
real tree, standing clear of its now redundant stake, its trunk thickening and its branches
And now what was it, this house that had once been his? Home to a woman who held him in
contempt and to two children who were quickly forgetting who he was.
He scanned the little close of neat suburban homes, each surrounded by a pocket-handkerchief
of carefully tended garden, each struggling in vain to proclaim individuality: the grand front
doors with brass fittings, the carriage-style porch lights, the mock-Jacobean leaded windows. He
remembered how he had come to despise these facile pretensions, how he had felt suffocated by
the primness and by the essential vacuity of the place, and how he had wanted to escape from it
all, to get away. Anyhow, anywhere, just away.
And so he had gone. Leaving haus frau Stephanie for the arms an exciting new partner,
escaping the suffocating prison of suburban pettiness for the thrilling promise of limitless
freedom, he had turned his back on this cosy little world, and at the time that had felt so
completely right, his path having the sharp clarity of a spiritual epiphany. Now, however,