This summer, I joined the writing group at St. Paul’s Hospital. The group is made up of a number of staff who enjoy various forms of writing styles. Since I usually tend to write non-fiction and nerdy theological tomes, I decided to do “lighter” writing and came up with this fun story about my life as a bee. I hope you enjoy it and see the humour and playfulness in it:
Hello, excuse me. I don’t think we’ve ever formally met. My name is Bertha Bee and I was born in Wisconsin but have since made my way into Saskatoon. I know this sounds ambitious, but we bees are actually very strong when it comes to flying. I took the journey in chunks. A little bit every day as the wind blew me closer and closer to my destination. I eventually landed here after 61 days of gruelling flight, and made myself a little home near a treehouse I found in a little boy’s backyard. At first the boy’s father was very upset. He was trying to hit my little hive with a huge stick so that I would leave. Eventually, though, he realized I was not there to hurt anyone. I am not like my first cousin the wasp who is just there to be a nuisance. The boy’s mother urged her husband to stop striking me because she said I would be there to tend and care for the flowers. The boy’s family actually does have quite the nice garden. They have petunias, orchids, lilies, and lilacs, but my favourite is the rose. They also have some peonies, but the ants always seem to be drawn to those, and I am not really friends with ants especially after a bad experience I had just a few years back. Ever since then, the family has left me alone, and I am happy with that because I am rather introverted.
When I first arrived in Saskatoon, I took some time to get my bearings. I discovered all the best paths and walkways, and I learned the places to avoid because the people and animals weren’t very friendly. Like I said, I’m an introvert, happy in my own company, but it didn’t take long before the boy bees in the town started trying to get my attention. I had only been here about a week when I met a bee I hope will be my life mate. His name is Bernie. He’s a bit older than me, but age is just a number, right? Bernie sadly became a widower not too long ago when his wife hit a car’s windshield as it sped down the highway. Poor Bernie never got a chance to say goodbye. He still misses his wife a lot and they had some larvae so Bernie has always been sad that his little ones will grow up without a mom. Despite all that, he is truly a gentleman. He opens and closes the hive door when I come in and when I leave, and after a long day of work, he always let me put my feet up and relax, and so after just a few minutes of knowing each other we moved in together. I know this all might sound rather fast, but we bees don’t like to waste much time. Our lives are short enough as they are, and so when the opportunity comes up, we always take it. It has been difficult becoming a mother right away without any preparation but I do love it. I love looking after my step children: Bonnie, Brenda, Beatrice, and Benjamin and I treat them like my own. Bernie calls me his little Queen because he says I am a natural at mothering. Bernie keeps pestering me about having some children of our own, but I have no interest in that. I have never wanted to lay eggs, I’m just not maternal in that way, but I am happy to care for the little ones that are already here. I find they grow up so fast and soon they will be flying out of the hive in no time.
When I left Wisconsin, I left behind my family. Sadly both my parents had already passed away. Like I said, we bees don’t get to live very long. I have a sister, Brianna, who is still alive and raising a family with her husband Bob, and I have a brother Bert who passed away just last summer in a tragic accident. What happened was that Bert was minding his own business flying through a couple’s backyard one hot summer in July. Bert didn’t mean any harm, but he was hungry, and sometimes Bert thinks with his stomach. When he noticed there was a BBQ happening he decided to have a taste. Unfortunately, the family was not very happy with that and started trying to swat Bert. Bert would never harm anyone and he got very scared so he landed on the little boy’s lawn chair, but the boy began screaming and that made Bert very angry. Bert was MAD because he thought “I know I am unwanted here, but there’s no reason people can’t just see me out politely.” Bert has always had trouble being accepted. He was born orange instead of the usual yellow and that meant kids made fun of him growing up. He was called all sorts of names that he didn’t like and he hardly had any friends. It was truly sad because Bert actually has lots of good characteristics. He is witty and has a good sense of humour. He is also very kind hearted. Unfortunately, the scars we develop as children rarely leave us and stay with us on into adulthood. So when Bert saw this scene playing out he overreacted. His emotions got the better of him and because he was angry, he decided to sting the little boy and then he fell over dead.
I remember getting the call from my sister, Brianna. I could hardly believe it when I picked up the phone. “Bert dead? Are you sure?” I asked in disbelief. “Sure” Brianna said sullen. I demanded to go over right away to see where the scene had happened, but by that point the family had packed up their Barbeque and had gone inside. I saw my brother lying there in the grass. I thought for a moment that I saw his wings twitching, but they were lying still. I cried and sobbed. Suddenly my world had lost its colour and turned an awful shade of grey. I made Bert a coffin out of leaves and buried him in the ground. I shed a few tears and then flew off. After that, I vowed that no matter what happened I would never sting even if my life depended on it.
I did feel badly leaving Brianna to come to Saskatoon, but I needed a change of scenery after that happened because Bert was my best friend. Throughout my life he was always the one I knew would be there for me. With Bert’s death, life ceased making sense. I still call Brianna almost every day and I know she also has her husband, Bob, looking after her so I feel a little less guilty about it now. Sometimes I feel a bit torn doing my own thing when my family needs me, but I have a new family now and I need to blaze my own path. I wish I could say more, but I hear Bernie calling me to go back supper. I’m going to make some Bannock dipped in honey. I hope you’ll stay, we’d welcome the company.