At the jagged edge of a long, exhausting day — long and exhausting not because I’d tackled too much, but because I’d accomplished hardly anything at all — I was in the shower. I had been firmly stationed in the shower for too many minutes, but I am always showering for too many minutes lately. Our home is perpetually cold. The worst chill is in the bathroom, except at the epicenter of the steam. If I step one inch out of the faucet’s way, if I bare a spot of my skin to dry air, my hands freeze up again. And so I avoid it. For as long as possible, I stay where the small, contained space means cozy warmth.
I washed my face with soap for the second time, even though I am not someone who washes her face. I blinked, rubbed my eyes. I noticed a tiny spider belaying her way down from the ceiling on invisible thread, and I drew back a bit, condensing myself even tighter into the water, to make way for her, though I wondered where she thought she was going. She jolted downward in sloppy spurts, like she was drunk, down, down, rocking sideways, and then smashed into the shower stream and gushed towards the tile. I watched the tiny current tug her into the drain, and she was gone.
Earlier that week, I’d spotted a similarly tender little spider in my car. I was parked down the block from the house, perched in the driver’s seat with my feet folded under me, for a therapy session via Zoom on my phone. (The car is a sunbaked natural sauna; it is its own small, safe, and warm spot.) I was talking to my therapist about creativity — about how I know I need creative play to lift me from all that’s dark and heavy, about how I am desperate for wonder and delight and connection, for vital lightness. The spider came out from behind my rearview mirror and crawled across the sun visor towards the window, making herself seen. I followed her with my eyes, and then looked back at my phone screen and lost her. Perhaps she’s still in there somewhere, weaving a web under the seat.