It had been haunting me all week. It seemed that wherever I went there it was. It would torture me with its presence. It was always there just beyond my reach, watching me from a corner. It never did anything to me and yet it was constantly threatening me. And now it was dead and gone and its blood was on my hands.
The first time we crossed paths was in my room. It was evening and I sat in my bed reading. I was absorbed in my book. I felt a slight itch on my arm. Then I felt it more and more as it moved up my arm. Finally, it broke my concentration. I went to scratch my arm. As I turned our eyes met for just a moment and I jumped. My arms flung up and I yelped in panic. I swatted at it careful not to crush it on my arm. In the commotion I must have hit it. My arm was fine and it was nowhere to be seen. My heart was beating like crazy and I was breathing heavily. I had survived. I was exhausted by the encounter and fell asleep right away.
The next day I awoke with almost no memory of the incident. As I opened my eyes, I saw something on the ceiling. It had survived. Had it been watching me all night? Was it plotting my demise? What could I do? Killing it would require me to crush it and I would have to get a latter and a newspaper which was just too much. And there was no honor in just killing the spider. It would have been one thing if I would have killed it yesterday in battle but quite another for me to just go and crush it. Had we even battled last night? It was dark and it had just stepped on me. Perhaps it was a mere accident. No matter what it was I had to continue with my day. As I walked around my room, I kept a constant eye on it. It had invaded my home and I didn’t know when it could attack. It didn’t move the entire morning. It just sat there staring. When I finally left to go to work it was almost a relief that I would be getting away from the vile creature.
I get back home and I had forgotten about it. And then as I changed out of my clothes into something more comfortable, I remembered. I quickly turned to the corner and there was nothing there. Where can it be? It had 8 hours to plan. It could have mapped the entire house. It found the perfect hiding spot or maybe gathered supplies. I left it alone and it now had the element of surprise. It could strike from anywhere at any minute. I was regretting not having killed it when I had the chance and now, I was on defense.
I tried to relax. I sat down and turned on the television. I found myself constantly looking over my shoulder. I got up and went to eat dinner. As I walked to the fridge, I reached to open it and there it was. Sitting on the handle to open the door. That brilliant bastard. It knew that I had the size advantage and that if it got to close, I could crush it but that I was too scared to get close. So, it had intended to starve me out. It was a brilliant strategy. I had some bananas out and grabbed one. I also could have some cereal but without milk that was useless. I would have to go hungry for the night.
I got ready for bed. I made sure to do everything swiftly and to maintain focus. I could not give it an opening. I wrapped myself in my blankets head to toe so that it could not get in. I could barely breath under the covers but it was a sacrifice I had to make.
The next morning, I found that somehow in the middle of the night I had thrown my blankets off and was now exposed. I quickly looked around but I didn’t see it. I went through my morning routine and saw nothing. Had he run away or was he plotting his next move? I went to the kitchen and found the refrigerator unguarded. Perhaps it had also let its guard down. I took advantage of the situation and made myself a nice pancake breakfast with eggs and bacon. I sat and savored every bite. It was a nice reprieve from all the tension of the past few days. I finished my breakfast and finished getting ready for work. I left and had no contact.
I got home from work and still no sign of it. Had it given up? Had it decided that it had tortured me enough? A mosquito had gotten in my house. It kept flying around my head every chance it got. It would land on me trying to suck my blood. I was not paying attention when it stealthily landed on my hand and proceeded to suck my blood. It left a mark where it had drilled into my skin. It itches like hell and that damn mosquito kept trying to go in for more.
I got in bed and was going to read my book when I look up just to see it there in the corner out of reach. He had waited till I got sleepy to reveal himself. It was truly a brilliant strategist. And now I was dealing with a mosquito. Still my sleep got the best of me and I passed out.
When I awoke, I found in my corner that it had woven a beautiful yet deadly silk tapestry. Intricate and tightly made patterns were in the corner. The only blemish was the mosquito who had gotten caught in the trap. The mosquito struggled but there was no chance of escape. I took advantage of this distraction to get ready again and eat breakfast. I was thankful that it had managed to capture that mosquito. But I know after it was done with the mosquito it would go back to eyeing me and plotting my demise. Yet for a short moment the enemy of my enemy was my friend.
When I returned from work it remained in the corner of my room. From what I could tell it had wrapped the mosquito up and was perhaps saving it for leftovers. The itch on my hand had annoyed me all day but that mosquito wouldn’t have a chance to harm anyone again. I was glad that it had a home base now. I was able to move more freely and without fear. I knew where it was. When bedtime came, I was still not feeling too good about how close it was. But I figured that after a hearty meal it didn’t have the energy to attack. And perhaps this common foe had brought us closer together. I went to sleep with a little less fear that night.
I awoke to see that it had left. Its marvelous piece of architecture was still there with the leftovers from dinner. Was this part of its plan? Was today the day it made a move? I moved swiftly throughout the house. I as vigilant and kept my head on a swivel. It would not get a jump on me. I went through my usual routine and got out quickly. I was actually enjoying going to work as the distance provided some comfort.
But I couldn’t stay away long and eventually I had to return home. I walked in and rushed to my room. It still wasn’t there. I continued to keep my eyes open but no longer felt like I had to move quickly. I had no idea where it could be or what it was up to. I went about my business and didn’t run across him.
The next couple of days I didn’t see it. The once elegant web was still there. I realized that despite the tension and our cold war I almost missed it. After all it really hadn’t done anything to me. That damn mosquito had done more to me than that spider. And it was the spider that rid me of that burden. And yet it had invaded my territory. It wasn’t welcomed. It should have gone back to where it came from. Although I could appreciate its talents and intelligence the constant threat of attack was too much.
And then one day it happened. The decisive battle. It was late in the evening and I made my way through a hallway in my house. As I walked, I felt something on my face and saw white strands. It had laid a trap but it wasn’t strong enough to stop me. I was no mosquito. I quickly tried to get the web off when from the ceiling it dropped down right in front of me. Without thinking, I opened my hand and swung at it. I caught it in my hand and in just a split second it was over.
And now here we are. I open my hand and there was its crushed body. The legs stick out from the body. A strange mush sticks to my hand. It was instinct that drove me to react that way. Fight or flight. Kill or be killed. And yet it never really did anything to me. I realize now staring at it how I was the monster. Out of fear it kept its distance. That first encounter an accident. How can something so small be aware that it was walking on a living thing. And once it realized what it had done it saw my actions as a declaration of war. And it tried to make peace. It fought my real enemy. It decorated my home. And here it was working on its masterpiece which I clumsily destroyed. And now looking at the crumbled corpse of a small domestic house spider I realized who the monster really was.