Too Many Legs

I’ve never fared well against creatures with six or more legs, they’ve often proved troublesome.

As a skinny eight year old wearing shorts, sitting on the steps in our back garden eating a apple. I watched as a wasp drawn by the sweet smell of the apple, flew in an elliptical orbit around the apple and away again. It made a few passes, decreasing its radius, I knew it was going to land.

The edge of its flight path took it between my knees and my eight-year old brain decided to stop him from landing on the apple by slamming my knees together and squashing him. The wasp stung me two or three times before dying and unsurprisingly, I cried.

Ten years old, playing outside our house and I fell on the grass putting my hand firmly down on top of a bee as I landed. Although a skinny girl, the weight of a ten-year old was enough to squash the poor thing but not before he retaliated and stung the side of my thumb. My thumb swelled to twice its normal size. We spent hours in the Emergency Department, much to the irritation of my little brother. It meant we couldn’t go to see The Empire Strikes Back.

Years later, there I was facing the wall, my emotions swinging between indignation and anger to mortified embarrassment, as my husband Pedro donned his ten-times magnification hobbying glasses and examined the site of my latest injury.

‘If you see two puncture wounds, it’s a spider bite.’ I said.
‘Whoa babe!’ Pedro said. ‘I don’t need magnifying glasses! Two definite puncture wounds.’

Was his tone tinted with glee? No. Not at my suffering anyway, but that I had presented him with my full moon, in order to confirm that I had a spider bite on my cheek!

‘The little….’
‘He must have felt trapped.’ Pedro said coating the wound with antihistamine.
‘Or maybe it couldn’t cope. Imagine being that close to such a gorgeous bottom and seeing it with eight eyes.’

I love my husband.

We’d spent the weekend clearing a corner of old coats, hats and dog leads prior to painting and must have disturbed the spider. I recall leaning forward to paint the corner of the wall and Pedro joked that my trousers were giving him a ‘cracking view’ of my backside. The spider must have fallen into the ravine and finding himself trapped, decided to fight his way to freedom. Later when I removed the paint smeared trousers, releasing the spider, he dropped down onto my leg and bit the inside of my knee for good measure before scuttling off to the nearest dark corner.

My daughter thought I was exaggerating about the pain and size of the bite until she saw it.

‘WOW!’ She exclaimed. ‘That’s huge!’
‘I know.’ I replied. ‘It really hurts.’
‘But the poor spider. He must have been terrified and reacted the only way he knew how.’
‘Poor spider?’ I said. ‘My ass!’

by Bex Gooding

From: Friday Flash Fiction

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