Spiders crawled everywhere. In my hair, on my arms, across my mouth. Tiny, baby spiders. I screamed, ran to the school restroom without permission. In the mirror I could see them, running everywhere. I washed my arms and hands, shook my hair over and over and over, trying to get them out, tore my blouse, frantically brushing them off my body. Still they crawled. I ran to the teacher and begged to call my mother. She said, “No, just go back to the restroom and get them off the best you can. Lunch is almost over.” I started crying, trying hard not to become hysterical. Baby spiders skittered everywhere across my arms, my belly, even my face. I would think I had most of them off me and more appeared.
Sixth grade had not been too bad, at least not compared to the other years. Often if I could convince the teacher, I stayed in at lunch to read because I did not want to swing and get sick or play softball. As I quietly read, two boys, whose names I cannot recall, ran into the classroom with a bag that houses baby spiders, broke it open, and dumped it on my head. They ran back outside, laughing, leaving the bag of baby spiders on my desk. Lunch ended, I sat at my desk, tried to be good and do my work. Plop, another baby spider on the desk. The day drug on, endless.
Still years later, spiders cause goose bumps on my skin. But I am getting braver. Recently, I rescued a brown and black tarantula, using a long stick to lift her away from the road to safety. When tarantulas appear on my patio, I brush them off with the broom. I kill black widows even though I feel I shouldn’t. I spray them from a distance. Bullies from my childhood will not control me.
When I first posted this, apparently some people thought it was a joke, e.g. untrue. This definitely happened to me; it is true, sadly. However, it no longer affects my life very much, except perhaps for the fact that I could not bring myself to allow my grandson to keep a pet tarantula in my house.