“Oh,” she breathed, “you’re a stunner.”
The spider had moved in sometime between brushing teeth last night, about 9pm or so, and brushing teeth this morning, also about 9am or so. So somewhere in the last twelve hours the spider had woven a very small and intricate web, that looked enormous and slightly terrifying in her bathroom sink.
At first she’d thought it was her hair, pieces of her hair that had fallen out and laid haphazardly, or perhaps not so, across the sink. The web glistened under the sixty watts shining down upon it and before she’d realized what it was she’d started to turn on the faucet, a few drops running out before she’d woken enough to realize what she was seeing and abruptly turned the water off. With a few drops of water in it the web was somehow even more alluring, enticing, and she could see how an insect may see it and still land in it distracted by its charm.
She decided she could just as easily use the other sink as this one, let the spider be, see what sorts of critters it caught. They could be roommates as long as the spider paid rent via taking out the creatures that routinely buzzed around her kitchen, dining room, and bedroom every night driving her to distraction. She completed her morning ritual using the other sink, said goodbye and good luck to the spider, and went out.
Her work day proceeded like any other with the exception that on this day she used her breaks to google spiders rather than text her friends and spiral into fantasy on Pinterest. It turned out the spider was nothing more than a common American house spider. Although she wondered why anyone would call it common. The spider could eat flies and mosquitoes, even cockroaches and skinks! Not that she had any cockroaches or skinks around, still pretty amazing for a critter not much bigger than a quarter. The idea of the spider eating all the flies and mosquitoes that buzzed and hummed and drove her nuts every evening was more than enough incentive for her to let it be. She wasn’t much squeamish about bugs in general although she usually did everything she could to collect them and put them outside, this one she’d allow to stay.
When she got home that night she made a beeline to the bathroom to see how her new roommate was settling in. To her surprise there was already a small webby mass in one corner of the web, her roommate had gotten lucky while she was out.
“Cheers,” she smiled, turned off the light, and went back to the kitchen to figure out her own dinner.
Weeks went by with the new ritual a good morning and goodnight to the spider each day, a check in on the progress of the spiders web and captives each evening. She found she was sleeping better at night and waving her arms less frantically each time she ate dinner. She began thanking the spider each day for coming to live with her.
After several months she noticed there were two spiders in the web one evening.
“What’s this?” She asked, “friend or foe?”
She watched for awhile but her spider didn’t seem scared, although how would she possibly know. It looked to be the same kind of spider to her untrained eye although this one was slightly larger with less brown and more of a spotty look. She assumed this meant one was a male and one a female, but again she was no entomologist. She hoped she was right. She briefly considered removing the other spider in case she was wrong, but talked herself out of it: Darwin would never forgive her for interfering.
She went about her business and continued to check on her roommate over the following days. By the third day, she noticed there was now only one spider again. And a few days later there was a rather large mass in a corner of the web. She began to wonder if perhaps she didn’t have cockroaches after all, and her new roommate had taken care of the problem for her, but as the weeks went by she began to see that the new large web wrapped thing had a sort of life to it. And sure enough she began to see little black spots moving about within it.
One evening as she came in to say goodnight, she saw the sac was no longer closed. There were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of baby spiders all over her bathroom. She stifled a scream and ran out.
“Not cool, roomie,” she said under breath that night as she crawled into bed, without brushing her teeth.
The next morning she very tentatively turned on the bathroom light, keeping her feet and the majority of her body out of the room itself. With the light on she looked all about the room and couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. She slowly began walking into the room, keeping an eye especially on the floor, the idea of stepping on a baby spider was more than a little revolting. But the floor was clear. She did, however, see two minuscule new webs in the upper left hand corner of the bathroom, near the top of the mirror, with two itty bitty spiders inside.
“Welcome,” she whispered, “I hope you all find enough to eat in here.”
She swept the rest of the room with her eyes several times before deciding the others had all went in search of greener pastures and then she shimmied up to the spider sink to say good morning and congratulations to her roommate. Sadly, her roommate was belly up in the bottom of the sink, legs akimbo.
“I’m so sorry,” she said, noticing tears in her eyes, “I’m so very sorry.”
She debated what to do next. The easiest thing would be to rinse the spider, her web, and the now empty sac away, and then scrub the sink, as it was terribly dusty after having been ignored for roughly a year. Would that be too harsh on the wee cherubs living above? Would they even notice? Would they absolutely notice and bail, assuming her to be some sort of spider killer? A quick glance at her watch told her she didn’t have time for a ceremony.
She turned on the tap and watched as first a wee bit of brownish water came out followed by a flush of clear. She placed her hand under the spigot and rotated it this way and that, letting the flow get to the outer edges of the sink. She reached under the sink to grab the cleanser and a sponge, turning off the tap as she rose up with both in hand. She cleaned the sink quickly and efficiently, as though it hadn’t housed a friend for a year. When she was finished she returned the cleaning equipment to it’s place below and moved to the other sink to get ready for the day.
She said goodbye to her new roommates on her way out of the bathroom, sweeping her eyes about the place as she went about her routine, ensuring none of the other spiders had taken up camp anywhere else. She wondered briefly where they’d all gone, and how they’d gotten there, before heading out herself.
She stopped for coffee on her way to work, the sink cleaning had taken the time she normally would have used to make her own. She placed her order and went to stand around waiting for it with the other addicts, and it was only then, as she took a deep breath, inhaling the wonderful aromas of fresh baked goods and fresh ground coffee, that she began to cry. She was startled, whatever in the world had she to cry about?
A kind woman who’d ordered ahead of her glanced over and saw her tears, made a small motion with her hand as though to touch her arm but stopping just above, “are you okay, honey?” she asked in the sweetest of southern drawls.
“Yes,” sniff, “Oh, yes, it’s just…I lost a friend and I guess I’m still…” sniff, “processing,” she stammered.
“Well, if they meant this much to you, honey, I’m sure they’re in a better place, and if they aren’t, well, the rest of us don’t stand a chance,” she patted her arm and looked up as her name was called. “You take care now.” She went up to collect her coffee and breezed out.
Sniffing and grabbing a couple extra napkins out of the dispenser, she stopped to consider what she’d just been told. “I literally have no idea what just happened,” she heard herself say as she went up to collect her own coffee.
~~~That’s one hour~~~