Daddy’s little busy bee

by You Have My Word

I must have been about four or five
when my parents were buying a new house so
we’d move out
but first we had to go scout
the new place out.
My dad took me, little busy bee, with him
to check out the new house.
I can’t remember if I was excited, although that’s not really important.
In all honesty, I don’t remember much from back then
at a tender age of less than half of ten.
But what I’m about to tell you will never leave the memory bank files of my cerebral cortex
even if my sanity comes undone
or if I live to be a thousand and one.

Upon arrival we were busy-busy back and forth
and looking about
and figuring out
whether it was worth our forking out
for this new house.
I was inclined to criticise
in my mind
although, of course dad was excited
and I didn’t want to sound like
an old cynic at almost five
so I became preoccupied
with what I knew best at that time:
the grass and stones,
and sticks and avoiding broken bones.
Because I quite liked where we were living now, and I didn’t see why
it was necessary for all of us five –
mom, dad, my brother, my sister and I –
to pack up and move less than two miles
to another life
when I quite liked mine.
But what did I know? I couldn’t have been more than four or five.

Neither of us – dad and I –
on that adventurous scouting trip,
noticed the beehive.

It’s all very blurry till about when we first heard it:
a drone so loud not even a thousand drills could drone above it.
Upon looking up, we saw a black cloud –
fortunately we were first alerted by the sound
so we had stopped what we were doing and looked up from the ground.
An astounding sight of angrier than angry bees,
without an exact warning and for no apparent reason that we could see.
So we turned quickly
to run from this black-stripe-yellow-black swarm
as fast as we could spin on one foot
and no turning back
we split from the front yard like a deer with a hunter on its back.

I could have scaled any wall that day.
In making an escape,
I ran as fast as my little busy bee legs could take.
It felt like they were going to come off, and leave my body to the mercy of busy, noisy, angry bees.
Fortunately they didn’t and I felt like an Olympic runner coming up for first place
and that’s when I realised…
“Where is daddy?” as I added dynamite to my pace –
faster than I’d ever run for any two-legged, sack-legged race.
Louder than the sound
of my heart resound-ing,
all I could hear were footsteps pounding.
Are they mine? They can’t be going that fast.
Are they daddy’s? I can’t see him
and this busy bee is running
but can’t see daddy runnin’
and I’m hoping
he’s not getting stinging
from the swarming
because they haven’t yet got me.

I have a moment to look to the side.
As we turn the corner of the house I’m wide-eyed
and terrified
and petrified
and trying not to cry –
there’s no time
for that when you’ve got to move your behind
faster than you’d ever think any airplane would have to fly
even with engines and boosters and wings
and mechanical things
that scientists probably spent a long time putting together…
But from the corner of my eye
I see dad.
And he’s just as wild-eyed
but more terrified
for his child
than for his own life.
And it’s in that moment –
that split second caught between sprinting and finding daddy –
that I realise he is running slower than me.
Not because he can’t overtake, but because he’s protecting me
from angry-swarming-black-yellow-angry-loud-crazy-nasty-busy bees.
His one stride
encompasses about five
of mine,
just like my whole hand with all five
fingers could fit into his at the same time.
And still he runs behind.
I want to stop and throw my arms around his neck because I see how very much he loves me.
Even thought I couldn’t see him as my feet were kicking dust up in my wake,
I knew daddy was there taking more than I could take.

We circled the house: steps, grass, sticks, bushes, corners, weeds.
Bees in tow
before we can find a way out – a place to go.
And slam! bam! “In you go qucikly because we’ve lost them for now.”
We have a bit of time so “Shut the door quick! And don’t you dare go out there till I say so. Do you understand me?”
We were standing, stunned, in the outside washroom of our new house –
a now haven from this monstrous inconvenient cloud of little bees that we’d apparently disturbed because they let us know we weren’t welcome.
We were standing and I can’t even remember if I’d been stung.
Again, that’s not important because I looked at daddy and not only had he been stung once…
He’d been stung
on what looked like every limb a bee could climb on.
Head to toe,
And face to torso.
And he smiled at me,
his little busy bee,
seeing if there were any stings he could see.

Today, my daddy is allergic to bees.
I’m pretty sure it can be traced back to that day
where we managed to infuriate a hive of bees
that neither of us managed to see
when we arrived at our new house to see what we could see.
And I’ll never forget that day
where I felt like I could scale any wall and my legs would come off and my lungs would give in,
because I couldn’t run faster than the speed I was running
and I couldn’t see daddy
and I was scared.
And I didn’t think anyone would believe this story
but there were stings to prove our testimony
and the day I wanted to throw my arms around my daddy’s neck.
I’ll never forget that beautiful, fateful day
when I was a year or two older than three.
I didn’t understand why we needed to leave where we’d been
but I’ll never forget that day –
the day daddy ran slower than his little busy bee.