Last night I dreamt of a large spider, who lived in the corner of the school where I work. No one else seemed to notice.. but I knew she was there, with her cephalothorax and the bulb of her abdomen shining black. If I were to lean in closer, I could have seen my image reflected in the glassy surface of her body: transfixed by fear and fascination, frozen just long enough to fall prey to her poison.
Instead I turn away, to search for a boy who has disappeared inside of himself without a sound, like a tree that has fallen alone in the forest. I find him in front of a computer, his face glowing with the pale light of the monitor, watching children’s videos on the internet.. He never gets all the way through, he gets stuck somewhere in between; replaying the same sequence over and over until the sights and sounds of that one moment become a central part of his psyche. He carries these fragments with him throughout his day, citing them like incantations, like some strange magic he conjures to shield himself from the world outside.
I try to warn a co-worker about the spider, concerned that the children will lean in too close. “But they have already fallen in,” he replies. And I cannot disagree.
I return to the corner and the spider is gone. Only now can I see the nest that her body had been concealing: A massive swarm of baby spiders, awakened by the absence of their mother’s warm underbelly. They move as a single unit, bound together by silk, crawling quickly over, under and around one another. Some of them branch off from the mass and scurry to the outer edges of the web when shaken by the wind or some other force of nature, but it is not long before they instinctively return to the heart of the nest.
The walls of the building then disappear, and the room turns into a forest of fallen trees. The spiders seem to make no sound.. but if you were to lean in closer, you could have heard the whisper of their bodies moving through space as they struggled to stay together.