wings and things

Chapter 46: The spider [1979]

on October 15, 2021

One afternoon while Gar was having a nap and I was attempting to make one of Anthony’s favourite meals – salmon mornay – a massive, hairy black spider suddenly caught the corner of my eye. It was on the kitchen ceiling and seemed to be looking at me quizzically. I stopped stirring the unthickening white sauce, took the pan off the Aga and backed away to the pantry where the fly spray was kept.

It took a lot of fly spray to kill it but eventually it dropped to the floor and curled up in the corner. I was pretty sure it was dead but I didn’t want to touch it, or squish it so I just left it there for Anthony to deal with when he came in from milking the cows.

Like clockwork at 5pm Anthony came in and immediately grabbed a spoon to taste the mornay, proclaiming it nearly as good as his mother’s. I pointed to the spider’s corpse and rather proudly told him about my little adventure but instead of congratulating me he looked aghast.

“That’s Edith,” he said solemnly, “You’ve killed Edith! Edith’s a pet! Didn’t Mum tell you? Oh, Jules!”

“What?” I said, blushing crimson. “What? Oh I’m so sorry. No, nobody told me!”

“She only comes out once in awhile, completely harmless I can’t believe this. You’ll have to tell Mum,” he said, “I can’t.”

I fetched him a beer and shakily gave it to him as he sat down at the kitchen table. He looked devastated and I remembered how much of an animal lover he was and how we had had philosophical arguments about why, if there were a God, humans were privileged over animals. He could never shoot a sick calf and had even raised a steer from birth after its mother died, which he had named ‘Reject’. I felt sick.

“Anthony I am so sorry,” I said over and over again, nearly in tears.

There was a long pause as Anthony looked over at the spider, his face expressionless. I waited nervously for whatever was going to happen next. Then, abruptly, he exploded into loud laughter. Tears of shocked relief filled my eyes.

Immediately Anthony jumped up, remorseful. I thought he was about to say, “You should have seen your face, Jules.” But he didn’t.

Instead, he gave me a gigantic hug through another burst of laughter.

4 responses to “Chapter 46: The spider [1979]

  1. Who I am says:

    i know it is more funny now than then but to make you cry… he sure had you going on that spider!!! I don’t like any spiders. I have trouble with them all Fall. I live close to woods and pond so I think that draws them to my porch to get warm for the winter. I also have black snakes but each Fall, I place moth balls to get them to leave and it works

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