I have been, and still am, ridiculously and inexplicably afraid of all bee-type insects for as long as I can remember. It was not, and still is not, unusual to find me screaming and flailing my arms in attempts to thwart attack.
On this particular day, many moons ago, the little bee was following me, threatening my very existence. I ran away, disrupting the game and annoying everyone who was trying to play. One of the boys swatted the bee, knocking it to the ground. The bee was frying on the asphalt, but that wasn't good enough for me. I could see its legs moving, so there was still a chance it could get me.
As we stood around the bee, older kids complaining that this distraction was taking up too much time, someone decided to step in and put an end to it. One large, beat up high-top sneaker came crashing down, squishing the bee to oblivion. He lifted his shoe and to our collective surprise, the bee was no longer on the ground. A chorus of "Where did it go?" could be heard out of nearly everyone.
"Michelle probably ate it," one of them said.
"Yeah, it's in her gut!" said another.
"I did not eat it!! It's probably stuck to your shoe! Look at your shoe!" I was furious at the accusation and the sheer stupidity of it.
"Shut up, Bee-Gut," my brother said.
They kept looking at the ground and refusing to look at the bottom of the sneaker. I knew they'd find the bee if they looked in the right spot. I hysterically urged for some common sense and was met only with more laughter and name calling. In a last ditch effort to win this one, I called them all idiots.
"At least I'm not a Bee-Gut," my brother provided as his final, calm retort.
One by one, each kid laughed and began sing-song chanting:
I ran home crying, but I could still hear them.
I stomped in the back door of my house. My mother was engrossed in All My Children, so her actual child's problem was on the back burner. During the next commercial break, she finally asked me what was wrong. I spilled the whole story and pleaded with her to punish her son.
"Well," she said after some consideration, "did you?"
"Did I what?"
"Did you eat the bee?" and then she started laughing at me, too.
Her show came back on and I was sent back outside.
They called me Bee-Gut for the rest of the summer, and it's been brought up every summer since.
I was outside this weekend with my husband and son, trimming our rhododendron. A bee flew in and Kris warned Nathan to stay back.
"Hey, hon?" he said casually to me.