We raced our bikes for hours. Two bad-ass little 9 year old girls still all long limbs and confidence. Nothing beat out of us yet, we were free from body hate and helicopter parenting wasn’t invented yet so our parents pushed out the door to exercise those long limbs in the sun as we screamed with laughter and our muscles felt joy at working and nothing else.
She lived on a double cul de sac. Two circles at either end, slightly elevated and the middle connecting section slightly lower. It was essentially the world’s best place to live if you liked to race figure eights for hours. We did. Race all morning, come in for lunch, race all afternoon. A little boy our age and grade also lived there and though his name was Brian we called him Booger. I’ve no recollection as to why, but I’m certain we owe him an apology. We had spent the early morning torturing Booger and not letting him play with us, so it was after lunch that as we raced our bikes in faster and faster figure eights we noticed a large rubber spider on the road, in our path.
Booger. We thought. It would be just like a boy to put a big rubber nasty spider in our way thinking it would scare us. Boys are so lame. But we were scared. Pick it up, my friend said, we will ring the doorbell and toss it at him. You pick it up, I shot back. I was never a big fan of things with many legs, especially ones the size of an avocado. This went on for a while as we stood there in the sun, staring down at the spider, straddling our bikes, contemplating.
It’s belly looks like it’s moving! She said. Must be melting, I responded. Then, for some reason I reached a toe, newly clad in grey Nike tennies with a pink swoosh, out toward the spider and gently touched it. It was instantaneous, it appeared as if the abdomen peeled and baby spiders were everywhere. It was a swarm. I mean within a split second they covered the street and were on our bikes and legs.
This was no rubber spider. Booger had been notoriously wronged. He was not the culprit. We dropped our bikes and ran screaming back to her house at the other end of the crazy 8 racetrack where her father, hearing our screams met us at the door, took one look at us teeming with baby spiders and immediately turned the hose on us. In the sunlight it appeared as if the road undulated with a million spiders moving and crawling over the entire section. Our bikes were covered. I’m certain this is an exaggeration of memory, but I am also certain If I were polygraphed on this, it would read true. Her father bravely rescued the bikes as her mother wrapped us in towels and ushered us into a nice warm shower and gave us clean clothes and then made popcorn. Our bikes met the same fate with the garden hose as we did and were none the worse for wear.
There is a Daddy Long Legs that took up residence in a high corner of my bathroom almost a year ago. She is small and barely moves, though I assume she is getting enough to eat. (I’ve assigned her sex as female as she is in my bathroom!) For some reason, I feel fondly towards this little spider, despite my abject fear. I check on her in the morning. There she is and oddly it makes me smile. She is alone, I guess spiders don’t have friends over much, and sometimes, despite myself- knowing it is insane- I say good morning little spider! I hope you had a good night and ate some yummy bugs! I’ve no explanation for feeling a connection to a Daddy Long Legs just kicking it in a ceiling corner, but she makes me happy. I know, crazy. She is part of my daily routine, and her presence is calming and happy.
She’s gone. She’s simply vanished, probably having reached the end of her natural life span though I’ve found no evidence of her demise. One day she just wasn’t there. Every morning I look for her and nothing. That corner seems so empty. My heart misses her. It’s silly and strange, but the world is so crazy right now I looked forward to that consistency I guess. That tiny little creature, just hanging out. Living. And if she could hear and understand she would probably say “Hey, crazy lady. You know you’re saying good morning to a spider, right?”
I miss a spider.
Life is weird.