We forgot the umbrella just outside the front door. It was a practicality as it dried, but I found it poetic and left it there which was not very practical at all. Except for the spider, who deemed it a buttress for the curved extrados of his home. He rests saintly still upon his lattice cathedral, so still that I assume him dead until I accidentally shatter the intricate webbing with my hips. He scurries across the concrete and off into the loam.
I sit and let the pools of sunlight collected in the concrete warm my bare soles, thinking of all the houses I have inadvertently and advertently destroyed in fear. I savor and swish my thoughts in my dry mouth, not noticing at first when the spider returns. He toils hurriedly, mending the gaping rind between threads.
I watch. I want to tell him this is the first time I’ve shared sacred space with a spider and not lost my shit. That therapy is working and I’m talking to my mother again and my anxiety is cured. That I tried really, really hard to stop wrecking things because I hated what this inherited fear made me become. I want him to know that his workmanship is flawless, and were I to take a picture, he would go absolutely viral.
I do not tell him any of this. The spider has no time to muse, his front legs clasping and unclasping as if in prayer, and I’m too busy Googling to see if he’s poisonous and worrying what I’ll do next time it rains and if I’ll have another anxiety attack when my mother finally calls. Besides, spiders don’t have social media (insert joke about the web here) or therapists or the obligation to forgive. This one does have an umbrella, but only until the next storm. He bounces on, stoic as he repairs, and I think we eye each other with furtive glances. The sun shifts, and as it glints off the gossamer mooring, I realize that in actuality he pays me no mind at all.
Amber Wozniak is, above all things, an eldest child. Her other works have appeared on The Keeping Room and Litro, as well as in The Raw Art Review and Passengers Journal. Amber can be found at www.amberwozniak.com or @AmberLWozniak on Instagram.