I don’t like spiders, or that’s what I thought. I don’t like their fat bulbous bodies, and those long black hairy legs. I know they scuttle around under the furniture, ready to dart out across the floor when I’m carrying a delicately balanced tray. Then there are the thin legged ones with pinhead bodies who hide in the corners of my bedroom ceiling, waiting to drop silently down while I’m asleep. So I definitely don’t like spiders.
But then I met Boris. Boris was the spider who lived just outside my study window. He had a huge web, strung between the porch gutter, a small bush, and an edging brick, and he sat in the middle, just waiting. He had a fat tear-drop body, thick stripy legs, and so much patience. Some mornings the web was adorned with dew drops, glinting in the autumn sun, other mornings it was studded with tiny imprisoned flies. One gusty night, the wind tore through, leaving a hole like an inverted heart. I watched fascinated while Boris scurried round and round, pulling a silken thread from his abdomen, and gluing it to the remaining strands of his web. He kept at it, until the hole was repaired, and then he went back to his waiting game.
This morning when I looked out, he was gone. Threads, like strands of steel, still straddle gutter to bush to brick, but the web itself is in tatters, and there is no spider. I hate to admit it, but I’m quite missing him already. So I can’t really say I don’t like spiders any more. If they’re ‘outside spiders’ they’re safe, but woe betide any that dash across my floor or drop from the ceiling.