Note: I do own The Secret Life or Bees.
I woke to the sound of bees, busily collecting nectar from the luscious rose bushes to make their sweet honey. Glancing at my watch that lay on my bedside table, I noticed was a quarter past eight, which meant I was late for work. Although it was a beautiful morning, I wasn't in the mood to tend to the bees, and I certainly didn't want to leave my comfortable, warm bed. I slowly rose, before I trudged to the wardrobe and slipped on a sweater.
When I walked into the kitchen, I expected an enormous scolding for bad punctuality from August, who had since become a very motherly figure in my eyes. So it was a tremendous shock when I saw that no one was actually in the kitchen, which meant no lecture from August. It was odd to find an empty kitchen at the Boatwright residence. Every single morning, Rosaleen would be found making tantalising blueberry pancakes, and August would be singing to the Black Mary in her loudest voice. Occasionally, June and Neil, her new husband, would stop by for a visit, and would play a sweet, yet sorrowful tune on her cello. Zach would always enter the room with a new plan to invade Rosaleen's pancakes, but somehow, she always knew his plans, and usually had some of her own to protect her babies, as she liked to call them.
Bored and lonely, I left the kitchen and decided to search for any sign of civilisation elsewhere. Since arriving at Tiburon, I had never felt any sense of loneliness or isolation, so what I was feeling was of loneliness and isolation, and it irritated me greatly. I suddenly remembered that the mother Mary was in my heart and soul, which meant I was never alone, but without any nearby physical presence, it was difficult not to feel so. I felt as if I had been abandoned.
As I walked up the old wooden staircase, it made an eerie creak. Besides the vigorous buzzing of the bees, the creak of the stairs was the first sound of acknowledgment of my presence. As queer as this may sound, I felt a strong urge to talk back to the stairs, as they were the only thing that responded to me.
"And hello to you too, dear friend," I said to the stairs, before adding, "By the way, you are in marvellous shape."
I was starting to enjoy my conversation with the staircase, before I realised that talking to things that aren't alive was one of the first signs of insanity. Instantly, I knew that my foolishness had been seen, or at least heard, as I could distantly hear a laugh I could never forget. I stormed into the sitting room, prepared to pummel Zach with my own bare hands for not only laughing at me but for literally deserting me, when I received the fright of my life.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" yelled everyone in the sitting room. August and Rosaleen were sitting on the plush pink sofa, bunches of multi- coloured balloons in hand, June and Neil were standing next to the cream coloured wooden cabinet and Zach stood by the door with a wide grin painted onto his constantly cheerful face. I stood in the doorway in utter disbelief. My jaw fell slack, my eyes popped out of their sockets and I felt the unmistakable sensation of blush creep onto my cheeks. It was my birthday, which everybody had been preparing for, and here I was, thinking I had been abandoned, and had actually forgotten my own birthday.
Zach cautiously walked towards me, his eyes staring intently at my face.
"Uh, Lily, are you okay? You look kinda…shocked." Shocked was a complete understatement. The word mortified would have been a better choice of word.
"Yeah Lily," added Rosaleen. "You look like you're in a daze." My unwavering gaze scanned every face in the room, before I burst into tears.
"Oh Susanna!" cried August. "Whatever is the matter, child?"
I told everybody about my forgetfulness and foolishness and by the time I had finished my long and turbulent tale, everyone was crying with laughter.
"Oh honey," laughed June. "We would never, ever abandon you…well, not on purpose anyway!"
With that, everyone burst out laughing again.
"And Lily dear," cooed August. "How could you forget your own birthday?"
I smiled when she said that. How could I forget my own birthday? Fifteen years old is an important milestone. I wasn't a little girl anymore.
For the remainder of that eventful day, my birthday was celebrated with the upmost of happiness. I was given presents I could never have dreamed of, including a stunning gold dogtag from Zach. Whilst the celebrations continued, I retreated to my bedroom for some peace and quiet. I couldn't help but wonder if had remembered my birthday. If I had been living with him, would he have remembered my birthday? I never answered that question, nor did I want to.
After bidding everyone goodnight, I searched through my mother's hatbox, only briefly, to find her picture. I usually slept with the picture, cradling it gently within the security of my arms, as it was the only good memory of my past. With the picture still enclosed in my firm grasp, I slowly shut my eyes. Consciousness escaped me and promptly, after a long a satisfyingly long day, I fell asleep.
I woke to the sounds of bees, busily collecting nectar from the luscious rose bushes to make their sweet honey. I sighed gleefully. It was a new day.