Harriett was the youngest of her warren (or perhaps I should say fluffle, for such is called a group of bunnies in her neck of the woods).
As a member of such a prolific species Harriett was aware at a very early age that she was going to have to hop to it if she was going make something of herself in life.
The crème de la crème of all Rabbitdom, was, of course, the great and powerful Easter Bunny Himself. It was common knowledge He had it in for the saintly Santa Claus. The word "coup" was never mentioned in polite circles. But everyone knew He had His eyes on the Top Spot as the Greatest Gift Giver of all. Sure, Santa had a sleigh and reindeer and a fine Ho Ho Ho!
But the Easter Bunny had CHOCOLATE.
Competition to make it into the elect circle of intrepid leverets (adolescent hares) supplying the Best Most Beautifully Decorated Easter Eggs for the Easter Bunny to deliver in baskets to children around the world every year was fierce. But Harriett was a fine artist with an eye for color and detail.
Quickly she made it up the ranks at Easter Egg Production, Inc. until she was working as Junior Art Director for the main Distributor of Designs creating beautiful motifs that could be stamped on colored eggs in the production lines and shipped to World Warren Headquarters. From there the Easter Bunny did His magical Global Delivery Trick. Exactly how he got all those million of eggs into baskets stuffed with bright tinfoil-wrapped chocolate and delivered to the children, no one knew.
But that wasn't really the point.
The point was to Get Ahead in the Egg Race.
Sure, the Top Spot was taken. But there were more than enough Executive Positions to vie for and perks to enjoy. As Junior Art Director Harriett had some pull. She even had her own office and got a bonus every year.
But it wasn't enough.
Harriett was still just one more leveret in a furry sea of hares.
She had to be special! She had to Stand Out. She had to draw THE ONE DESIGN that would bring her fame and fortune and a permanent seat on the most elect council of the land: the Easter Egg Board of Examiners.
Day in, day out, most nights too, she labored over her designs until they squiggled and danced beneath her tired eyes as she leaned over her drafting board. Leaning itself, it was said, was a Secret Ingredient for getting ahead. And Harriett was grateful to know this. If leaning on one's desk -- for that was about all her exhaustion permitted -- was a sign of immanent success, Harriett had it made!
As Easter approached, she drew and drew.
Each time she was sure her drawing was THE ONE ... that the Lily of the Valley design would make the most exquisite Easter Egg Ever! Or the yellow crocuses under the weeping willow tree ... or the little green frog eating chocolate by the pond ...
Every day she handed her precious designs to the Art Director and every day he simply grunted, stamped them APPROVED and shoved them in his ever-growing OUT tray.
Wearily she leaned against the counter in the little Does Room, staring at herself in the mirror. Who was she? Where had the happy little cottontail nibbling slips of fern, hopping gaily through the dewy grasses gone?
Bunnies were supposed to have pink eyes. But hers were positively RED. Her back ached. Her fur was matted. And just look at her nails! And when had she last changed her apron?
She peered into one of the deep pockets and started pulling out stubs of pencil, nubs of charcoal and crinkly pieces of paper, dumping it all on the counter. Nothing worth saving ... she swept the mess into the trash.
But one piece of paper floated gently to the floor.
Groaning, she reached down to pick it up.
It was a brief sketch -- a doodle really -- of a beautiful young rabbit smiling admiringly at herself in a gilt-framed mirror. Right, Harriett sighed, comparing her own haggard image in the harshly lit Does Room mirror. Dream on ... she held the paper over the trash.
"Wait!" came a tiny voice. ""Don't throw me away! I have something to tell you!"
Shocked, Harriett almost dropped the paper anyway. Whoa ... so this is what happens when you burn too much midnight oil ...
"You're not hallucinating! Really! I have something to say!"
Cautiously Harriett smoothed the drawing out on the counter, glanced around the room, bent over and tremulously whispered, "What?"
There was no reply.
But something about the drawing pulled her in.
With a gentle WHOOSH and a faint POP! Harriett suddenly was the beautiful doe in her sketch. The bathroom stalls faded away into a kind of golden fog and Harriett found herself staring into a very different mirror ... and she ... she really was beautiful! And ... and happy!
How could this possibly be?
Intently she peered at her image in the clear glass. And the image in the mirror spoke. "You know you really need chase nothing ... let alone me."
"Wha ... what?" Harriett gasped, shocked.
"You are the creator. Don't you see? You made me. You drew this. You've created yourself in the Outside World to match how you believe you need to be. As creator you can change yourself to be anything you desire. But ..."
"But?" Harriett whispered, captivated, entranced and slightly frightened.
"You don't have to change anything. You already are perfect. Ink-stained paws and all."
"B-but my drawings. N-nobody sees them. Not really," Harriett sniffed, tears welling in her beautiful, pink-rimmed eyes.
"Do you really see your own creations?"
"W-well, I ..."
"If you did really see them you wouldn't be in the pickle you're in," her image declared stoutly. "Exhausted, drained, constantly striving for something and someone outside you to make you feel better about yourself. Humpf!" Paws on furry hips, her image glared at her. "When are you going to get it?
"My dear," her image softened and the voice gentled, "You are THE ONE. Tsk task." Her image rummaged in a lace-trimmed purse and pulled out a lipstick, applying the rosy-red color to her tiny mouth, careful not to stain her glossy white whiskers.
"Go back and look. Really look at what you create and find joy in it, because what you're creating is you. And if you don't find joy in it ... do something different."
And with a WHOOSH! and a tiny POP! Harriett found herself standing back in the Does Room, a little dizzy and definitely disoriented, staring down at the little pencil sketch on the counter.
It really was beautiful. Delicate yet determined. Grand yet sweet. Gentle yet powerful. It was all there, apparent in just one little doodle ... huh ...
Tenderly Harriett picked up the drawing and tucked it back into her pocket. Then, with a shy loving glance at herself in the mirror, she smoothed her apron and went back out the Does Room door to face the day.