The spider has vanished, leaving behind a tattered web like lace torn in a zipper. She was so small I didn’t notice her working behind the peace lily on a corner stand in my dining room. The web must have served her purposes, fed her belly or didn’t.
Either way, she’s gone. Last year, grass spiders the size of quarters invaded my apartment. They lurked behind shower curtains, on ceilings, in drawers, in the washing machine. Four monstrosities perished mid journey crossing the sticky mousetrap behind the dryer, their exoskeletons splayed on the adhesive like skeletons in a miniature desert.
But this year, the apartment managers insist they’ve sprayed for pests. And so far only she remains. As I clean her ragged handiwork now thick with dust, I wonder where she went. Perhaps she scurried across the room to the bookshelf, finding retreat among stories about her kind—the spider who frightened Miss Muffet, Shelob in Middle-earth, Aragog at Hogwarts. But she is not like them.
I don’t fear sharing my space with her. I’m not compelled to hunt her down as I did in my terror of the others last year, searching with flashlight and zapper to crisp her legs and smell her sizzling body.
We’re much alike, she and I—artists weaving in corners, though we know today’s silk might become tomorrow’s cobweb. Feeling our time—this messy life, as Charlotte called it—is short, we spin to live, persistent as the itsy bitsy spider on his waterspout. Noiseless and patient, as Whitman observed, we isolate ourselves on a promontory in measureless oceans of space, forming bridges, reaching out to the world around us.
If I find her someday, I can’t help but think she will turn out to be a true friend.