Buying a new house is never an easy thing. You have to give a loan company your information, and let them delve deep into your paper trails, and pull out the insides. After all the back and forth, fees, phone calls, and aggravation, you are now tasked with packing up your belongings with the motivation of the worst hoarder alive.
You shove the bags, the boxes, the pets, the kids, and the appliances into every nook and cranny possible to transport from point A to point B. This outcome is absolutely satisfying once the clutter, cobwebs, and dust clears, and this was the exact impasse that I had arrived at when I discovered my own Charlotte’s web.
I had never been too fond of spiders. I was always the one screaming for the hills, or for my husband Jonathan, when one crossed my path. No matter how big or small they were, no matter how many lizards, frogs, roley-polies, or lightning bugs I caught as a child, I could never seem to shake my arachnophobia. Too many legs and fangs. It was just unnatural!
So, while standing right outside the front door, I turned my head to find the largest garden spider I had ever seen, hanging on a web a mere two feet from my already-haggard face. I quickly pulled back, but instead of kicking up dust as I usually did when encountering beings of the eight-legged kind, I stopped to stare at the intricate web she had built.
It stretched from the brick to the bushes, to the window, and up to the awning of the roof. It was covered in insect corpses, and Ms. Charlotte was munching on a dead wasp. I was glad to see it, because along with a spider, the wasp was another creature I particularly didn’t care for.
“Well, I’ll leave her alone for now. She’s doing me a favor,” I thought.
The next morning, Charlotte was there again, and she had done her housekeeping. The web was free from spider leftovers, and gleamed brightly with the sun reflecting through the dew drops. “That’s so pretty!” I exclaimed to her aloud. Look at me moving up in the world, and talking to my greatest foe. One should be so proud.
The days went on, and each day included a visit to Ms. Charlotte. I didn’t mind her so much anymore. I’m an avid flower gardener with a green thumb, and I thought having my own tiny personal exterminator was just fascinating, even if it was of the unconventional type.
Spring led into summer, and new growth made us decide to trim the hedges. They were overgrown, and hadn’t been seen to while the house had been on the market.
Charlotte was still on her web, but closer to the brick, which was strange since she always presented herself in that phenomenal web of hers. Upon further inspection, I noticed large pear-shaped objects hanging from the hedges.
“Stop!! Stop trimming the bushes!” I yelled to Jonathan at the top of my lungs. “Charlotte laid eggs! What do we do? Can we move them? Just don’t trim them near her web or her babies! Never mind! Just wait until the fall! Don’t touch the bushes!” Not one contradiction fell from his lips, but I’m willing to bet he got a good laugh at my expense.
The summer lingered a little longer, and finally the weather began cooling down. I had come to notice that Charlotte’s color was fading, and she was moving slower. She had laid her eggs, and the circle of life was almost complete. I’ll be danged if I didn’t sit on that front stoop, and blubber like a baby over that spider. She had become my friend, and brought me joy each day to see her.
Then the day came when I didn’t see her at all. I knew it was over, but still her babies remained. I worried over them through the cold months, and that loving man of mine always assured me the egg sacks were just fine.
I was standing on that stoop the other day, and felt something brushing against my scalp. At first, I thought it was just sweat because as everyone knows, middle aged women sweat worse as we get older. I pulled my hand away, and felt the sensation again. This time I reached up and plucked something out.
It was a tiny, yellow, little spider.
My Charlotte lives on,