I am limp in his arms as he rushes me inside. So many stingers the nurses lose count. I hear the sound of their rubber-soled shoes as they move across the linoleum. I am unable to open my eyes. Maybe they closed them the way I have seen in the movies. I want no one to see me, not even when I am dead.
He takes me from the emergency room to my parent's house. I bend over for the spare key my parents keep under the WELCOME mat and feel how swollen my face is. The Photographer waits on the front stoop while I go inside.
Flickering candles on the dining room table turn the seated guests into shadows that rise and fall across the raised velvet wallpaper. Mother sees me first and gasps.
Hornets, I say slowly. Maybe wasps. My mouth is swollen shut on the left side.
Where were you?
The Photographer, he knew what to do.
Father does not look up from his conversation with the woman to his left.
I was going to tell them he is no savior but the maids were serving dessert.
I'm ok, really, I am. On my way to the stairs I stop at the front door and waive the Photographer on his way.
Mother and Father didn't even know I was out. I hear the Photographer's car turn the corner and the last sound I am able to make out before I fall asleep is Mother's high-pitched giggle, the one she uses when she isn't amused, then, I hear everyone's laughter.
For the next year an allergist threads tiny needles beneath the skin on my inner wrist, injecting dozens of allergens. I ask if this is necessary, after all I know what caused it—wasps or hornets—I saw the hive.
Eventually the doctor says I am desensitized.