Short Stories for Short People #1: The Spider Knew Her

The spider knew her. Oh, the spider knew her well.

He wasn’t like other spiders. He had always been in the odd situation of needing to cohabitate with other spiders, due to his little problem. Spiders are, by nature, loners. Have you ever seen a pack of spiders? If you have, it was certainly an arrangement built out of necessity and not any kind of true companionship. Truthfully, he would have preferred to be alone. But there was the matter of his little problem.

He couldn’t make webs. Not like a normal spider.

Hours upon hours were spent trying to make the silk that he would weave into the web – but it never came. Such a struggle to try to do what other spiders did so easily. He’d mimic their actions, do just as they did… and yet no silk. No webs. Nothing. How did they do it? He’d inquire, but there would be no reply, the other spider always too busy humming along, placing their delicate strands together. He’d watch as the web took shape… and then would stay with them for as long as he could. He always deferred to the spider who had crafted it, of course. He’d come along after meals for the scraps of those dumb enough to wander across their path. But it was always a precarious arrangement. Inevitably there was a disagreement and he’d have to scamper off to somewhere else. Sometimes he’d come across a web recently abandoned and use it for his own, though usually it was left because the location was crummy.

His favorite thing was the sight of dew hanging on to the web. It looked like magic with everything so delicately suspended, the world above reflected below. But even as he loved it, it also pained him to see.

His relationship with webs was complicated. But she changed that.

She was human; a terrible beast that dealt in shrieking and thrashing and certain death unless you were quick. Which he was. He generally avoided humans, as his situation was precarious enough. But one day she was in the grass and he was in the grass. She dangled her fingers and ran them through her hair as she sunned herself on the lawn. The hair fell from her fingers and drifted in the wind before falling on the ground near the spider. He wasn’t quite sure what to make of the strands. They were dark. Thin but not thin. But they were strands. He took the hair and dragged it along to a near by bush. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do with it other than try… Try anything.

He worked and weaved and pulled and stretched. It took awhile, and he had to start over a couple times, and he was very tired and very hungry. But he worked and worked, returning to her often to collect more of her auburn strands.

Soon he had a web. It wasn’t very large, but it was a place to rest. A place to call home.

He gazed up at her from the web. She was wholly unaware. She had changed things for him. The hair would give him a chance. A chance to form his own webs, to be independent, and to live as he had always dreamed.

The spider repaid her the best he could. He fended off the other bugs. Even the mosquitoes learned to leave her be. She would go to the yard, and lay down with her towel and her book and sun herself and he would join her. Collecting the strands, stretching out, and resting among the droplets of dew clinging to his web.

The spider knew her, though she would never know him.