Raindrop: Pagan Poetry

Spiderlings

by on maio.28, 2019, under Textos

He didn’t really remember when he first noticed it, but he clearly remembered how it was: he looked up, water dripping from his hair while he took an evening shower before going to bed, and he noticed the ever so tiny brownish speckle on a corner of his ceiling. He didn’t think much of it – why should he – but he definitely thought it was odd. He made a mental note to check that on the next day, as he planned to sleep early in order to wake up for a meeting on the following morning.

Needless to say, he didn’t check that again on the next day. Or the next. Or the next. It was probably a week or two when he happened to glance at that particular corner again, and he could clearly see that the speckle had legs. Thin, long, frail-looking legs supporting a small brown-or-yellow-ish body. It was just standing there, the spider.

“What a weird choice of place” was all he could think at the time. There were so many better places for a spider to decide to settle: branches, leaves, window corners, long hallways – just about anywhere else, and yet it had chosen to stick around his bathroom. “It’ll probably go away” he thought at the same time he decided he had no reason to kill it.

He liked spiders. They usually caught mosquitoes on their webs. He hated mosquitoes.

And so over the course of the next few weeks he’d occasionally glance up and see the spider there, apparently completely still, doing the same thing every day: absolutely nothing. But he felt something he could not really describe about the spider. He thought he didn’t feel lonely, as stupid as that might have sounded to anyone else. He thought it wasn’t bothered by him, despite having to endure hot steam coming out of his shower every day. “Maybe it even likes it. Maybe it sticks around because of that: hot steam showers. Nice and warm and cozy”

He started to worry: what was the spider eating? He never saw it move away from that corner, and the tiny web surely wasn’t in a good position to catch any mosquitoes. But it had been growing and looking healthy – at least as healthy as he thought spiders could be, with its eight limbs in the correct places and all. And not missing any pieces, which was probably more than he could say for most spiders he had seen around.

He realized that if the spider was staying, it needed a name. A cool name. Something worthy of introducing to his friends – that is, if any ever came to his bathroom. “What would you like to be called, little fella?”. The spider didn’t reply. It did seem to move around a bit in its web, which greatly pleased him though. So online he went, googling for “cool spider names”, and after wasting more time than he’d ever admit to anyone, he settled on “Legs”.

One day, while drying himself, he looked at the opposite corner of the ceiling and noticed a mosquito, dead, hanging from the ceiling. Puzzled, he looked closely, and sure enough it was a spider web. He looked back, and saw that Legs was still there, unflinching in its miniature domain. It was when he noticed that there was actually an almost invisible network of webs around the ceiling of his bathroom, which all led to Leg’s lair. He felt relieved: maybe its location wasn’t the worst possible, just a kinda crappy one.

And it was doing its job at killing mosquitoes. Good.

“Is Legs male or female?”. The thought occurred to him during one of his showers while he was talking about the daily events to the spider.

“If its male will it leave its web one day to mate and end up devoured by its companion?”. The thought filled him with horror: he didn’t want that to happen. He had the impulse to close the bathroom’s window, but that would just starve Legs to death. Stupid.

“But maybe its female”, he considered, “and if that’s so how can a male spider ever find it? Is it going to be devoured by its offspring?”. He didn’t want to think about that anymore, even though he thought he could use some of the spiderlings in his kitchen to catch fruit flies.

He made a song for Legs, and secretly sang it during shower almost every day. Each time he’d add a little bit, improving it in hopes it would please her (at this point he had arbitrarily decided that Legs was a her). It all started with a couple of words arranged in a childish verse, but eventually it had grown into a full song.

A full song that no one would ever listen to. Not even Legs, as he made sure he’d always have the shower running so she’d not listen. After all, who made songs for spiders anyway? She’d think he was crazy.

He’d take some of her spiderlings to the kitchen, and some to the balcony, he thought. He wasn’t sure he’d like any of them in his room, though: the thought of them walking over his face while he slept was horrifying and he’d probably end up smashing them on reflex.

When winter came he was worried that there was too much wind coming into his bathroom, and he’d leave the window half-closed. He didn’t want the mosquitoes not to be able to enter and be ensnared, but he also didn’t want the wind to blow the webbing away. Sure, his room felt cold, but he could deal with it.

Legs kept growing, and so did his weird affection to it. At first he was sure she’d just leave after a couple of weeks, and now he’d talk to her every day. He didn’t care he was letting madness take over him. He’d glace up during shower just to make sure she was there.

He’d quietly sing Leg’s song. It filled him with joy.

If anyone ever went through his google’s browser history, they’d be amazed to find queries such as “what is a spider’s lifespan” and “how do spiders drink water” and “how to make sure a spider is comfortable”. Maybe “amazed” isn’t the right reaction, but he sure preferred to think that’s what their reaction would be. Amazed at his devotion to the little arachnid in his bathroom.

One day he was showering and talking to Legs, as he usually did, when he realized something was off. Legs wasn’t there. He wasn’t sure how he didn’t notice it before and he hurriedly turned off the shower and began looking for the spider. He looked around the whole ceiling, hoping it would be collecting prey from its web.

Legs was gone.

He looked around the house, under all pieces of furniture, inside closets, pans.

Legs was gone.

The mess around his place suddenly made him nervous and he started to clean the whole house. He couldn’t find it anywhere.

Legs was gone.

He opened all his drawers, took out all his clothes, went through all the trash.

Legs was gone.

He had opened all boxes, turned every piece of clothing inside out.

Legs was gone.

It took a while for it to sink, and when it did a single tear came down his cheeks. Then another. And another. Suddenly he was sobbing and enraged. Was it the hot showers? Was it his singing? Was it his inability to keep the bathroom at a nice warm temperature? Was it that he closed the window and there were less mosquitoes?

Legs was gone. It didn’t really matter why.

It was gone, and he’d never take the spiderlings to his kitchen. He wished it was alive and happy – as happy as spiders can be.

The fruit flies were.

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