“I’ll go into beekeeping if librarianship doesn’t work out,” said Marla. “Sweetness either way.”
“Dude, you’re totally bonkers,” scoffed Sam.
Staring at the cloudless sky, Marla lowered her head to meet Sam’s gaze, genuinely perplexed. “What are you talking about?” she asked rhetorically, “I put honey on everything I eat, plus I could watch bees for hours. They remind me of a sunrise, or magicians—maybe executive chefs.”
Sam gave her best wide-eyed stare and flicked her Pall Mall cigarette. “You’re not very persuasive.”
With a shriek, Marla contested, “Listen! All I know is that I want to do something meaningful, something like igniting sparks, greasing gears, that kind of thing.”
“Right. It all makes sense.”
“I want to offer, guide, subvert—am I dreaming too much?”
“If I understood your dreams, I could tell you. Maybe you should see one of those flea-market women with the crystal balls.”
“I don’t care. I’m holding onto my bees and books.”
Sam shrugged as they headed back towards the school. It was beginning to spit.
“I remember my first batch. I wrapped it in rich gold paper—maybe that was overdoing it, but I was so excited,” replied Marla. Simon and Garfunkel—her favorite—drifted merrily through the house, singing the kids to sleep, even though it was morning. The reporter’s coffee kept spilling every time he hurried to scribble in his notepad, leaving milky halos on the wooden table.
“I’m sure it must have been an especially rewarding moment. Did you know that you were onto something big?”
“Not really. I had no idea folks were going to love my honey so much, and that I would eventually combine it with terrible prose.” The reporter laughed loudly.
“You’ve managed to integrate art with agriculture,” he grinned, “Your work has not only bridged fields, it’s challenged boundaries.”
“I guess it has,” Marla chuckled, “I feel free when I can dip a spoon into a fresh jar of the creamed stuff, or somehow imitate my favorite authors by tackling word projects of my own.”
“Is this your latest project then? Writing through the perspective of bees?”
“Yep. Honey-makers are a generous muse.”
At the hospital, Wynne remembered her mother’s tranquility, yet the eagerness with which she kept writing. As usual, they brought candied honeycomb to curb her fatigue. She became electric those times, as if a thousand-bee choir were humming in her stomach.
“I think it’s time. I can feel it,” said Miles.
“She’s beautiful,” replied Wynne, “Yellow.”
Outside, dandelions rustled, filling the air with sugar.