Secret Life Of Bees: Chapter 1

By: Sue Monk Kid

Lying on her bed

Lily waits for the return of the bees that have begun to live in the walls of her bedroom. The year is 1964; Lily is about to turn fourteen. She lives alone with her father, Terrance Ray, and their black housekeeper and nanny, Rosaleen.

T. Ray

Lily cannot bring herself to call her cruel, aloof father “Daddy,” so she calls him T. Ray instead. Rosaleen warns her to watch out, because “bees swarm before death.” Lily insists on telling T. Ray about the bees, so she wakes him up, even though she suspects it will only anger him.

In the memory

Lily's mother begins to fight with T. Ray as she cleans out a closet. Lily distinctly remembers her mother’s smell and the overpowering feeling of wanting only to be with her. Her mother responds to T. Ray’s yelling by pulling out a gun. They tussle, and it falls to the floor. Lily remembers bending to pick up the gun and then hearing a loud noise.