I’m not overly fond of spiders.
In fact, they freak me the fuck out.
I wouldn’t say I shriek and run away like a stereotypical arachnophobe, but I do flinch and maybe panic a bit…which is not all that different, I suppose.
There is one type of spider I’m not all that scared of, and that is the daddy long-legs. They have thin, spindly legs and the smallest of bodies. Their webs are wispy and frail, occasionally looking like hair more than webbing.
They’ve been a part of my life for a long time, for as long as I can remember. They heavily populated the garage and were sometimes seen indoors. My dad once picked one up and showed it to me and my sister. He said they were helpful in keeping other, more dangerous spiders away. So even though my mom might shriek and demand the death of every daddy long-legs she can find, they always had a hall pass in my book. As long as they kept the ever-threatening presence of those “other, more dangerous spiders” away, I was totally cool with them.
About a year ago, I noticed there was a daddy long-legs taking up residence in a corner near where my bookshelves are. While it initially jump-scared me by popping out when I was reaching for a book, I decided to leave it alone. I dubbed it Hardcore Henry and just took extra care when selecting books from that shelf.
Henry and I began a steady relationship from that day forward. I said, “Good morning, Henry,” every time I passed by that spot, and he’d sit in his web, chilling. I even introduced him to my boyfriend, who should by now be accustomed to my penchant for naming things.
However, I made the mistake of introducing Henry to my mother.
I mentioned that I had a daddy long-legs I was keeping around, and she freaked out. I didn’t tell her Henry’s exact location, but she knew he was around my bookshelf.
One day, she found Henry when I wasn’t in the house. She yelled aloud as soon as she saw him, and my boyfriend, who happened to be nearby, told her, “That’s Henry. Amanda is keeping him.”
The next day, when I passed by the bookshelf, Henry wasn’t there.
I’ll admit, I was saddened at the thought that my bookshelf companion was gone to the big web in the sky, but I didn’t hold it against my mom. I, too, am afraid of spiders and will not hesitate to squish them if they even think of getting too close.
But Henry was different.
He was a cool spider.
A couple of weeks ago, I was walking by that bookshelf again, when I noticed some webbing was there. I took a closer look, and what should I find but another daddy long-legs.
I am calling him Hardcore Henry II.
And this time, I’ll just keep his presence between him, me, and the rest of you guys reading this.