…a story for Blythe.
Can there be any light on the very darkest of days? Is this a possibility? The sun is shining and yet even its rays leave a cold shiver of realisation. In bed during the shade of night one can pretend, at least for fleeting moments, that it isn’t true, it cannot possibly be true; this thing that has pierced your heart and left a chasm so wide no one can see across it. Is there another side?
The bee knew it; knew it was possible. Possible that there could be light, even on this darkest of days.
It sat on the pillow next to my face. How it got there I cannot tell, I had made sure the windows were shut from the first chill winds of autumn. I could see the condensation, born of cold, dribbling down the glass. Rivulets of my own breath turned magically into liquid form, describing floods and estuaries of some chilly vertical land on the surface of glass.
I looked at the bee, the cloud of my breathing slowly fluttering its impossibly finespun wings. A bee; such a delicate little thing. Such fragility despite the barbs of its sting. How could such a thing ever possibly fly?
I could see the tiniest of beads of my breath clinging as bubbles between the striped hairs on its torso. Was my face reflected in the surface-tension curve of those droplets?
The bee could barely move because of the cold. Antenna twitching and now and then it tried to take a step, legs wobbling like a minuscule twigs sliding on ice. Trying to gain purchase that wasn’t there, just like me. It couldn’t possibly fly. The summer of the bee was over.
The bee was looking at me. And I was looking at it.
“You look sad,” said the bee,
“Yes,” I said, not wanting to reveal the chasm within me,
“Don’t be sad,” said the bee,
“Aren’t you sad?” I said, “Your summer is over,”
“How could I be sad?” said the bee, “It was such a very wonderful summer,”
“But you must be in pain?”
“Oh, the pain is nothing. It is fleeting compared to the long warm summer I had. All those flowers I touched! Hundreds and hundreds of them, spread across the world. You should have seen the colours, so many colours and so bright; all the colours of the rainbow and more. So many more colours than we have names for; colours dancing in the warm air all around me everyday. The scent of all those blossoms; so heady that when I flew between them it made me dizzy with wonder. I spread their sweet pollen so very far and wide. So many good flowers; so many flowers that can bloom and spread and brighten the world because of me. And, oh my goodness, the honey we made! So sweet and nourishing, such a taste you wouldn’t believe!”
“But…but now it’s over,” I said,
“Why are you so sad?” said the bee,
“There is a chasm…in my heart…I’m frightened I will never be able to cross it,” I said,
“Oh,” said the bee, “I have seen that chasm; I knew it was coming when I saw the first brown leaf fall. It scared me too but now I can see the other side,”
“What is there?”
“More flowers, more honey,” said the bee,
“But your summer is over?” I said,
“There will always be more summers, beautiful warm summers, however dark the days may seem,” said the bee, “just think, more blooms to pollinate, more colours to see, more scents, more honey to taste. Look. Look at the rays of the sun,”
I turned my head on the pillow and sure enough the sunlight sparkled diamonds through every drop of condensation on the glass.
The bee was gone. But now I knew there would be more summers out there, somewhere across the chasm…
© 2014 Simon Poore