My wife Jody has been sick for many months and only recently have we been getting out into the community. Today there was an extra special reason to go – our 26th anniversary. Neither of us had got a card for our loved one, so a trip to Shoppers Drug Mart was in order. Linda, Jody’s personal support worker, and I assisted her from her wheelchair into Hugo, our Honda CRV. And then back into the wheelchair a few minutes later for a stroll down the card aisle, not to mention the glory of cosmetics. Linda put her body between Jody and me to block any chance of me seeing the choice of card. Then, after a half hour of girl time, we were off – to wonder at hundreds of swallows zooming around Hugo on Dexter Line, right beside Lake Erie. Finally a stop at Shaw’s, our local ice cream emporium, for the decadence of a chocolate brownie cone. And then home.
Linda and I assisted Jody into a lounge chair on our patio. Jody asked for pen and paper. I was sitting right close, but she asked me to back my chair up for the privacy of inscription. As I moved the little red chair, I looked down and saw a bee sitting on the stone and squirming some. Maybe I had knocked it with the chair.
And there we were, pens in hands, minds creating words of love, two silences ten feet apart. I started … but couldn’t help gazing at the bee. It was pushing the air madly with its wings, but staying on the ground. It sort of waddled a few inches, wings still a blur. Guilt swept over me. When a person is hurting, you can see the pain on their face. But I couldn’t see the anguish on that tiny bee. I tried to feel its hurt, and I couldn’t. An ant came over to the bee and seemed to bite it. A flurry of wing, then stillness. The ant left and the bee stillness remained.
I looked over at Jody and her pen was moving, her face a study in concentration. Back to the bee – still no movement. Then to my writing. Back to Jody. Back to the bee. After maybe three minutes, still a tiny motionless speck on the stone. “Please don’t be dead.”
A glance over to Jody, and she was beckoning me over. I moved my chair close and opened the envelope. Precious words of wifely endearment rolled over me. I kissed Jody and tasted her tears.
Jody: “You are the most wonderful man.”
Bruce: “You have loved me for so long and have always thought of me first.”
Our eyes met and met and met again. Happy anniversary.
And the bee had flown.