Continuing with the Ernest Hemingway exercise…
I don’t really have a fear of spiders. Not to say that I have a desire to cuddle up next to them and read them bedtime stories but they don’t make me scream like a girl. In my household, I am usually the one that ends up killing the eight-legged intruder and flushing him down the toilet.
Several years back, my sister was in a near fatal car accident. After having too much to drink and an argument with her boyfriend, she plowed her Chevy GEO into a parked Volvo while traveling at 70mph. I was a college senior at a small university in Ohio and spent any break from my studies making the trip back to Connecticut to see my sister, whose rehab was spent residing in the same room as the famed Central Park Jogger.
I had just finished directing the first and only mainstage production in the history of the university, Pippin, and brought the video for her to watch. She watched the video, through vacant eyes and with minimal reaction. Afterward, we got her back into bed and my father, still a smoker, went out for a nicotine fix while I attempted to make conversation with my sister. Since she had a tracheotomy, she was unable to speak. She was, however, able to write and made jokes about hawking loogies through her tracheotomy tube at people that pissed her off. We laughed. Then she drew a picture of a spider.
She asked where our father was.
Another picture of a spider.
I asked her why she was drawing pictures of spiders. And she told me she was drawing them so that I would go away.
She kept writing that word until there was no more room on the paper, onto the walnut veneer of the hospital tray table.
I will never think of spiders in the same way.