• Caren

forgive me

9/13/09

For the past month and a half, I've resided in fellowship with a tiny spider that lives on my windowsill. While I was in Chicago, she hung her web like a tarp from the corners of a matchbox, an eye pencil sharpener, and a little tin of tea I got as a bridal shower favor last year. The web is a few messy strands clinging together, at eye level with me when I sit at my desk and type on my computer. She curls her legs and hangs upside down. Not quite the puppy I wanted. I'm not complaining.

She never does anything, which makes me wonder if spiders ever contemplate themselves, and whether or not they can feel like failures in the spider sense. I have never seen this spider actually move, although sometimes when I come back to my desk I find that she has changed positions. I doubt her decision to place such a tiny web, less than two inches at its widest, in an indoor location right by the screen that is supposed to keep bugs out. But I am not a spider. And she appears to still be alive, despite not eating and not moving.

I shouldn't judge, because she has accomplished this great thing of building a web. How did she do it? Did she leap the canyon from pencil sharpener to tea tin, web spinning out behind her like a bungee cord? Did she take aim and shoot at the matchbox, like Spiderman? Did she attach one end of web to the matchbox and then feed out as she climbed down, crossed to the tea tin, climbed up, tightened the slack, and attach the other end? I wish she'd build while I'm watching, but she only ever hangs suspended like a levitator above my windowsill.

Yesterday, while trying to tidy up the mess on my desk, I accidentally put a bottle of allergy pills right on top of the web, between the tin and the pencil sharpener. When I realized what I'd done, I quickly removed the pills and glanced at her. She quivered a little in her position by the tea tin. Kept hanging there, upside down. Surely she knows. She felt it. Is she angry at me? I'm so, so sorry. I know, I'm clumsy. I wasn't thinking. I'm inconsiderate. She has every right to hate me. I've ruined her work of almost two months.

I wonder, now, if she's still alive. She does not appear to have moved, even though I crushed her web yesterday. I lean in close and blow gently. Delicately, she uncurls one tiny leg, like a finger uncrooking. Yes, she is alive. At this close angle, I notice that she has put up more threads, forking out from tea tin to matchbox and pencil sharpener, like a Y.

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