I don’t like spiders. Like many people who feel that way, I have an unspoken agreement with the eight-legged critters: they can have all the great outdoors, but the instant they set one hairy foot in my house, war is declared.
So a few years back, when a spider took up residence in one corner of my bedroom window, normally I would have gotten rid of it. (Well, okay, I wouldn’t have gotten rid of it. Ron would have gotten rid of it for me. But the end result would have been the same.) However, for reasons I’m neither able to articulate nor fathom, I decided to leave the arachnid where it was and see if we could co-habit.
I named it Aragog.
The name did not make it any cuter.
For several months, I watched Aragog, whom I had arbitrarily decided was a him, grow in size. I can’t say I liked it – the bigger he got the clearer I could see the things about spiders that creep me out in the first place, and each new appearance of cocooned prey in the web was too Circle-of-Lifey for my comfort – but I did experience a kind of horrified fascination by the whole thing.
That must be why, come November, when Aragog moved from the window, he still wasn’t evicted.
I figure he moved because the glass was getting too cold for comfort. He built a new web around a wall bracket, which about halved the distance between him and my bed. This was … not ideal. But, while I wouldn’t say I’d grown attached to him, exactly, I’d gotten used to checking on him every day, and decided to continue the experiment.
It didn’t take long for him to start pushing the envelope even further, though. Maybe a week later, as I lay in bed reading one night, I glanced up at the bracket to see that Aragog wasn’t there. After some frantic searching, I noticed him on the ceiling. And he was moving.
He was, in fact, traversing the ceiling following an exact outline of my bed.
I popped out of bed to tell Ron, who had been getting regular updates about Aragog’s and my relationship for some time, what was going on. He asked what I was going to do, and to this day, I am very proud of myself for not asking if I could bunk with him for the night. Instead, I decided to do the brave thing and sleep in my own room, even given the chance that Aragog was building a web to drop on me while I slept.
I, somewhat to my surprise, survived the night unwebbed. Although when I woke up, the very first thing I did was to locate Aragog, who was still hanging out on the ceiling above my bed.
“Maybe we can make this work,” I thought as I propped myself up on some pillows and grabbed my book. “It’s not like I use the ceiling anyway. Aragog can have the entire top inch of the room without it affecting me.”
Pleased with our compromise, I lost myself in my book. Until I caught a bit of movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head and came face-to-face with Aragog, who had descended from his inch of territory and was hanging in midair at eye level.
Ron was still in bed when I burst into his room, naked and wild-eyed, and declared, “Aragog has got to go!“
He grinned, took off his headphones, and asked, “Getting a little too friendly, is he?” And then, my hero, he climbed out of bed, went into my room, grabbed Aragog by the strand of webbing from which he hung, and flushed him.
Normally when Ron performs this kind of service for me, I ask him to put the spider outside rather than killing it, but I was so freaked out that this time I forgot. Shortly after, I told him that I felt bad about that, as Aragog and I had spent so much time together, it didn’t seem right to kill him.
At which point Ron said a spider could quite likely survive being flushed.
I know he was just trying to help. But ever since that day, I’ve been waiting apprehensively for Aragog’s Revenge.