I’m guilty of homicide. Or maybe manslaughter, as it didn’t happen on purpose. I wouldn’t harm a fly…wait…I would. I would crush those annoying flying vermin in a heartbeat. But I never meant to hurt the bee. It’s not my fault I stepped on an insect with suicidal tendencies. Besides he might be dead, but I was stuck with the discomfort of a swollen foot and rigid toe, that became an exact replica of a thick vienna.
Like most tragedies, it happened unexpectedly. A perfect summer’s day. The sky was cobalt blue, and the sun was playing hide and seek behind puffs of cotton ball clouds scattered across the sky. The butterflies were dancing amongst the flowers and even the ants stopped working to bask in the smiling sun. I know, for I was playing outside with the kids, passing a rugby ball.
Son decided to show us some “trick passes”, which just became ingenious ways of throwing the ball on the ground. It spend significantly more time there than in the hands of the three people, supposedly playing. In one moment Princess, intercepted one of the trick passes and thus changed the rules of the game. Son gave chase and Princess passed the ball to me, about five metres too high, and it landed on the edge of the garden. It was on. It has to be said that I need distance to gain speed and needless to say Son got to the ball first. Remember before you judge, he is 12 and I’m 40. Anyhow once you have speed and momentum, stopping is a little more complicated. Unless you fall. Which I did. Spectacularly. And once on the ground I grabbed my foot, thinking it to be broken, as a dull pain shot up my calf.
“What’s wrong”, Princess asked genuinely concerned.
“I don’t know, I think I might have torn a ligament in my toe.” I said without any medical training whatsoever.
“How?” Son asked. The hysterics was bubbling violently beneath the concern.
“I don’t know,” was my honest answer, as thoughts of a fragile, geriatric man flashed through my mind.
I got up again, not seeing anything suspicious, but the dull pain was still apparent. So I did what any grown man would do in that situation, I called for my wife. No I didn’t. I wanted to, but I didn’t, for I. Am. Man.
I slopped back onto the grass and commenced a thorough search and rescue of my foot region. Two keen wide-eyed kids loomed over my shoulder. Then I saw it, stuck between the big-toe and the one next to it (what’s it called?), the entrails of my victim. The last weapon he will ever hope to use.
I pulled it and examined the small stinger with disgust. I exclaimed loudly:
“I was stung by a bee. Shit!”
(Murphy, my best friend, will allow me to step on the only known bee who’s afraid of heights and can’t fly!)
Then the laughter commenced. Falling down, exploding with hysterics, my kids were rolling on the grass. It was the most beautiful sound in the world. (And is more proof that humans are programmed to laugh at one another expense. As was this story). I joined in the laughter, and my toe forgotten, ended up in a tickle/wrestling/climbing extravaganza.
What I didn’t know was that the venom of the suicidal bee was spreading and slowly making its way from my toe to the rest of my foot. After an hour my foot resembled the shoe of Ronald McDonald. I had a slight discomfort when walking, but this was greatly enhanced by awesome acting. Resulting in the kids laughing all over again.
That evening, tucking in Princess, she said: “Today was a great day, dad, sorry about the bee-sting.”
I smiled, kissed her forehead and said, “Don’t worry, it was worth it.’
Bedtime came and the wife gave me sympathy, tea and a tablet for allergies. I got up the next morning, looking down at my brightly red, excessively swollen toe and smiled, realising that spending time with your kids are the greatest investment one can make in life. It’s absolutely priceless.
My toe returned to its normal size after two days, but I’m glad to report the memory will lasts forever.