I have a complex relationship with spiders.
On the one hand, they’re kind of creepy. They have eight legs, some of them are poisonous, and even those that aren’t can bite the fool out of you in your sleep. On the other, they’re also incredibly cool. They eat other bugs, spin amazing webs, and Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web is a kick-ass role model. So, my bottom line is, I don’t want them crawling on me, but if they keep their distance, I’ll keep mine.
Accordingly, on that fateful day in high school, when I discovered a little brown spider living in my sink at Mom’s house, I didn’t scream and smash her. I just shrugged and used Shawn’s sink instead. Most spiders come and go, and I didn’t mind a temporary inconvenience if it meant our house could hang onto another noble gnat-fighter.
This spider, however, seemed to prefer a quiet, domestic life. As days went by, it was clear that she had found a home for herself, nestling in and around my toiletries. As long as she kept her little spider feet off of my toothbrush, this was fine by me. I adopted her as my newest pet and fondly named her Susan.
A week went by. Each morning and night, I’d bid Susan a cheerful greeting and go about my washing and brushing.
The following Monday started off much the same. I woke up, went to the bathroom to brush my teeth, and chirped out a cheerful, “Hello, Susan!” to the spider on the edge of the sink.
Then I went to the kitchen to fix myself breakfast, and lo and behold, there was Susan again, hanging in the doorway. “Oh, hello Susan!” I said again. “How’d you get out here so fast?”
I went to the toaster to make myself a bagel and there she was again, on the counter. “Why, hello again… Susan…” I said, my brain only now beginning to catch up to the situation at hand. With a growing sense of horror, I looked around at the kitchen around me.
Susan was also on the fridge. She was also in the kitchen sink. And on the kitchen window. And there were two of her sitting beside each other on the ceiling.
I was surrounded by Susans. Though, upon closer inspection, all of the kitchen Susans appeared to be slightly smaller than my bathroom Susan. They were mini-Susans.
As it turned out, my Susan was a proficient spider-mommy of a billion little spider-broodlings. And: They. Were. EVERYWHERE. Our house was literally swarming with Susans.
Needless to say, shit got real.
Oh, Susan, my sweet Susan, in hindsight, maybe I should have killed you when I had the chance. Because, instead, I took you in as family, and you repaid my kindness by breeding up a tiny army to attack me and my mother in our sleep.
For two whole weeks, we lived and breathed spiders. And through this nightmare, the halls of our home rang out frequently with my mother’s tortured cry of, “AAAAAHHH, SPIDERSSSSS!!!! WHERE DID THEY ALL COME FROM???!!”
I never spoke of it aloud, but I knew the truth. I knew exactly who had betrayed us.
Susan, Mom. They all came from Susan.