Since I was a boy, I’ve always been afraid of spiders. I freaked and screamed until Mom came in and carried them into the garden. She always had a respect for spiders that I never understood. Many years later when I moved to my own home, Mom passed away and I was almost comatose.
Being self-employed, I was able to take as much time as I needed to grieve. I sunk into a dark abyss and worried that I would never climb out. One night I woke up and had the creepy sensation that I was being watched. For a moment I wondered if I was being visited by my mother’s ghost.
Imagine my horror when I switched the bedside lamp on and saw a huge wolfspider on the table looking right at me. I leaped out of bed, screaming in terror. I threw my shoe at it but it didn’t budge. Hyperventilating, I raced into the kitchen – wondering what to do.
My blood froze when I saw many different types of spiders all over the counter. I was sure it was an unholy nightmare. I ran out the back door and tried to calm down enough to come up with a solution. While I stood on the patio I heard my next door neighbors having another drunken domestic argument.
They were throwing bottles and screaming on the top of their lungs, but I had to stay focused because I had a bigger problem in my own house. Maybe it was the mixture of the grief and panic, but I grabbed a can of fly spray and a lighter. I thought – I can blow torch those arachnids into oblivion.
When I slowly stalked back into the house I noticed a hushed murmuring and for a moment I thought I was finally losing it. I readied the fly spray and the lighter as I crept into the kitchen but I wasn’t prepared for what happened next.
The spiders were now on the kitchen table – grouped together like an army – with the wolfspider standing alone in the front. I dropped my weapons and screamed – watching in horror as the wolfspider reared up and waved its front legs at me. It was like it was beckoning for me to come forward.
The others stayed in formation behind it as it continued to wave its legs at me. Then I remembered my Mom and how she’d always shown respect for the world of spiders. An odd feeling came over me.
Realizing for the first time that the spiders meant me no harm, I slowly made my way closer to the table, knowing that this was a special event. The spiders stood their ground while the wolfspider continued waving its legs. Once I was about one foot away it stopped.
Trembling and feeling like a fool, I addressed this creepy assembly by telling them that I wouldn’t hurt them if they left the house and stayed out of my way. Imagine my surprise when they all started following the wolfspider down the leg of the table and made their way to a crack in the far wall.
Over the next few days I got back to work, even though the rowdy neighbors continued their brawling. One night was particularly bad, with the cops being called. Only an hour after the cops left, the fighting started up again. The next week had more of the same, but louder and more violent.
It seemed that the cops didn’t want to deal with them. I was sick of the screaming, thumping and glass smashing. It was affecting my work and there was no way I could sleep through it. Finally I broke down and cried like a baby, still affected by the grief on top of my frustration.
The last straw was when I lost a contract due to not meeting a deadline. I collapsed on my bed and started thinking terrible thoughts about firebombing their house. That’s when I saw the wolfspider on my bedside table again.
The initial fear made me sit up but I calmed down when it waved its front legs, which was becoming endearing to me. I was on the verge of going insane anyway so it wasn’t strange to hear myself asking the spider to help, although I had no idea how a spider could sort my problems out.
When it scrambled down the other side of the table I shrugged and decided to collapse into a bottomless sleep. It wasn’t until later the next day when a loud knock on my door woke me up. I was surprised to see two cops on my front porch and an ambulance next door.
One of them asked if I heard or saw anything or anyone through the night visiting the neighbors. When I asked why, he advised that they had dialed 911 – screaming that their house was filled with spiders. When the cops finally turned up – the neighbors were dead.
It was so surreal that it took a long time to sink in. I was amazed when I later discovered that the cause of death was multiple spider bites. That night, I was sitting at my desk, secretly pleased that I didn’t have to deal with the noise from my neighbors anymore.
Then I saw the wolfspider on my desktop speaker. I couldn’t help asking if she had something to do with the neighbors. She reared up and waved her legs at me. I knew at that moment that a beautiful friendship had begun. How did I know she was female?
Mom always told me that if reincarnation was real, she would come back as a spider.