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Sting Like A Bee

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Summer classes, Patty has decided, have the power to be the absolute worst if you let them. But, studying out in the sunshine under a tree can bring some joy to it. Her English lit class is probably the worst, she has writing assignments but she can’t always force herself to write on the deadlines, but hopefully the dandelions and wind flowing through her frizzy hair will help keep her ideas going and make typing easier. Other students don’t seem to have the same idea yet, which keeps the area quiet. She gets looped into her essay analyzing Holden Caulfield, it feels more like a middle school english assignment than one that she’s paying thousands of dollars to complete. Word after word and she checks the count of the numbers she’s typed and it’s still under the limit. She scoffs in frustration, she doesn’t even like the novel, the main character is confusing and rambly, she almost even misses To Kill A Mockingbird, the assignments let her be more politically charged. She just needs to find an angle of the story that she cares about the most to lengthen the work. She thinks she knows why she doesn’t like it. She doesn’t find joy in hearing about endless misfortune, and the end didn’t give her the positive closure she had hoped the story would build up to.

Her parents don’t expect her to be successful, that just makes it all the more important that she is. She finally finds her next topic, thank god for the stress of leaving assignments to the last day, they do say that pressure creates diamonds. She gets so deeply into her own little world that she doesn’t feel the feeling of a stinger pricking her shoulder, but another distracted student does notice, probably only due to the fact that there’s not too much human traffic in the park today. “Hey,” the voice says, “Are you alright? I don’t know if that was a bee or wasp but the mark looks like it hurts,” the voice comes from a tall, lanky young man with dark hair and entrancing eyes of some shade similar to emerald. He looks worried, but if she’d known him better she would know that he always looks that way.

Patricia’s eyes jump up to look in his, “A bee?” she asks, almost hoping that she was just lost enough to have heard that wrong. She’s allergic to bees, she has been since she was a kid and she found out on a trip to a public pool. It was quite traumatic really, the lifeguard heard her wheezing and knew her throat was closing up and had to call the ambulance, and everyone had to get out of the swimming pool. She just tries to avoid the small yellow bug, turning up her nose when people are promoting the “save the bees” stuff. She doesn’t hate them, but doesn’t feel safe having them around her at any given time. She reaches over to her side for her purple backpack for her EpiPen, and then she realized. All she’s brought with her was her laptop bag.

As if he were reading her mind, he looks even more worried. “Are you allergic?” he asks in a hushed voice, “I’m Stan, by the way,” he shoves that information into the conversation quickly. “Do you have an EpiPen on you for it?” he asks, looking around the area to see if she has any other bags with her than the one she’s rifling through quickly. She shakes her head with panic in her eyes.

“Don’t call a fucking ambulance,” She hisses at him, which makes him look even more worried, but she refuses to have a repeat of the time she was a kid at the swimming pool. It was embarrassing and she’ll never forget it, and she won’t have another thing like that to go over in her head at night and keeps her from sleeping. And she won’t have the hospital call her parents because she came alone and needs an emergency contact called. They already think down on her, she doesn’t need a stupid mistake to do this to her. She feels her throat tense up just as she knew was coming.

“Let me take you to the hospital, please?” Stan asks, crouching down on the ground next to her, trying to put away some of her stuff into her laptop bag. “You need medical attention, and sadly, I’m not any sort of science major so I think the hospital is your best bet,” he says, gathering everything up finally, or at least he thinks until a moment later when he finds her green mechanical pencil sitting in the dirt. He offers her a hand to help her up, and thankfully she takes it and they both rise from the ground. He looks her in the eyes and she nods at him, some unspoken way of saying it will be alright for him to drive her, she forgot how worrying this feeling is, the one of not being quite completely in control of her body. Stupid bees, she has classes over that she doesn’t want to miss.

He takes her hand to keep track of her, not thinking much else of it. He leads her to his car, hurrying while he carries her stuff for her and helps her into the passenger seat. She buckles in and Stan goes around the car to his seat quickly and starts up the car. They have a mostly silent ride, her not feeling up for talking and Stan too focussed on not getting caught running a few red lights out of worry, being pulled over would only make it take longer to get to the emergency room, which is already slow enough as it is.

He takes her in, partially keeping her up on the way to the doors. He takes her to the desk. “Uh her name is Patty something and she got stung by a bee, she’s allergic,” he says quickly. When she’s taken in to be looked at and he stays in the waiting room. He’s too invested to leave before he finds out if she’s alright. He has a class, but he emails in to say he might be late or not there at all. When she’s finally back she smiles at him slightly, she gets to go home that day and she had to beg them not to call her parents. She went out into the waiting room to text her friend for a ride back to their dorm, but instead was met with the same man, Stanley Uris, who probably has saved her life.