There’s a spider living at the library. I know of only one, but it probably has many other relatives I’m not aware of. He – or she – I’m not adequately familiar with spider anatomy to tell the difference – started a web by dropping a long thread from the light fixture in the landing of the stairwell. He dangled to 5 or 6 feet above the floor – the right height so that most adults would experience ‘spider-in-face’, but I descended the stairs preceded by three savvy little girls.
“There’s a spider here,” one whispered to me conspiratorialy.
“Eek,” the other two responded, right on cue.
It was just after Hallowe’en, and I wondered if the staff had forgotten to take down the decorations. For a couple of weeks, a huge black spider had inhabited the desk in the Children’s and Teens Department. It had scared even the staff. “Eek”, she had screamed, as its eyes rolled and blinked, and it started vibrating across the smooth desk. That one had been more than 8 inches tall and a foot across.
On the landing, I saw nothing except painted walls and posters of upcoming events. “Where?” I asked, wishing I’d brought my reading glasses.
“There!” one said, and the other two responded “Eek!”
She indicated a spot a foot above her head, and a foot away – apparently a safe distance from a marauding spider.
Indeed, there it hung, a tiny gray spider, smaller than a pea, right in front of my face.
“They say that if you kill a spider,” I said, grabbing the invisible thread tethering the spider to the overhead light…
“Eek!” they screamed.
“…it’ll rain,” I finished, talking to the dead air, the sound of three pairs of rain boots echoing down the hallway toward the girls washroom.
So there we stood, the spider and I, on the landing, he swaying gently in the turbulent air left by the departing girls. Dangling on the end of his leash, I carried him to a safe place where I let him go. I’m not telling you where, because if you step on him, it’ll rain.