One morning, as I brush my teeth, out from behind the mirror comes a little spider.
It sits there on the wall as if watching me.
I am not a spider fan, generally. But I don’t kill these little wanderers (sudden inspired quote: Not all those who wander are lost. Hmmm. Interesting point, Tolkien).
No, usually I capture the creatures and put them outside. If they’re small. I am getting someone else to deal with them if they’re large.
This spider is tiny.
And . . . I don’t know . . . friendly. I know exactly what my husband would say: What, you think it’s Charlotte, right?
I just don’t have the heart to bother it. It’s not bothering me, so I let it be. Right there on the wall by the mirror. I finish getting ready for work, turn the bathroom light off, and call, “Bye, Spider. Have a good day.”
I think no more of it until the next morning when I am brushing my teeth, and out from behind the mirror comes my new friend.
We begin meeting this way every morning.
“There you are!” I say as my spider emerges later than normal one day. “Sleeping in? Have a late night?”
I swear if I can find a cup tiny enough, my spider would have coffee with me. I imagine it holding a miniscule newspaper. What our conversations would be:
What are you going to do today?
Oh, just stalk some prey. The usual.
Great. Get the gnats, will you? They’re on my last nerve. I don’t know where those things come from.
Then comes the day the spider doesn’t show.
And the next.
And the one after that.
I begin to be sad. Seriously. Surely no one in my family has . . . no. I won’t think like that. I haven’t told any of them about my daily morning rendezvous. They can’t know, then, that I have a relationship with this spider, so. . . .
But no one has mentioned seeing a spider, so I don’t, either.
After another week, as I am dressing in the morning—lo and behold!—what should I see but my tiny friend there on the floor by the garden tub!
“Where have you BEEN?” I cry.
“What?” calls my husband from down the hall.
“Uh . . . never mind!” I call back.
I grab my phone and take a picture, because, well, that’s what you do with friends. You take pictures to remember them by.
I bend close. My spider comes nearer to me.
“Listen,” I say. “I missed you. I’m happy to see you’re well and all, but when I’m not here you really need to stay out of sight, okay? Other people just won’t understand.”
My spider takes this in. I can tell. I’ve looked him up and I know he’s a jumping spider and that they are very intelligent. They have cognitive abilities. They can be trained . . . after all, doesn’t he know where to find me each morning?
In other parts of the house, I hear my family bustling about, getting ready for school, for work.
“It’s not safe at the moment,” I tell my spider. “When everyone’s gone, you can come back out and do whatever it is you do during the day, but for now. . . .”
I slide a bit of paper towel under my spider.
He hangs on. Doesn’t protest.
I tuck him gently behind my fuzzy gray bedroom shoes.
“There,” I whisper. “That’ll do. Until later.”
I turn out the light.
“Bye, Spider. See you in the morning.”
I feel certain, from his sanctuary behind my bedroom shoe, that he’s waving a tiny leg.