On all fours and meticulously inspecting my sheen white tiled bathroom floor for inevitable specks of dirt - (I’m suddenly finding non-carpeted floors high maintenance to the nth degree) - I had caught movement in my periphery. The offender was brown, a dark brown- a hazelnut brown.
I’m allergic to hazelnuts.
The fiend was a spider. A small spider with an enlarged midsection not unlike mine. I’m constantly bloated in my recovery from a year of restrictive eating habits. The spider also had spindly extremities. So skinny were they that the limbs seemed longer than they actually are. This was also not unlike my veiny arms and legs. I once had voluminous thighs reminiscent of my Latina side and solid arms that evoked those of my bangle-decorated Indian ancestral matriarchs. Now my limbs are considerably deflated and give off the appearance of being lengthier than they actually are.
That spider was mocking me.
That spider was me anthropomorphized.
I was shocked by the sighting.
My parents had built this house from nothing- we went brick by brick, hinge by hinge, knob by knob to erect this customized house. It was brand spanking new.
It was in a league all of its own.
This house is not a Tudor nor is it a colonial. This house is a post-modern millennial.
I suppose arachnids are natural to the suburban habitat we moved to. Our neighbor has a mini animal farm in his backyard after all.
I quickly did the deed I hated to do and flung the balled up paper towel in the receptacle as soon as I had checked to make sure my spirit animal was caught.
I had been caught too.
I am caught in this anorexic limbo. I sometimes forget what my face is supposed to look like. I sometimes forget that it’s possible to feel the burn of a strenuous cardio workout. I sometimes forget that I had used to enjoy sitting for over two and a half hours watching a Hindi film in the theater without having to expend energy and burn calories so I can work up an appetite.
The next day I had also forgotten all about the incident between me and the magically appeared spider. And then I remembered for the sake of small talk. That spider-appearance was one of the more exciting things to have happened to me during my days that are consumed by sending out resumes and cover letters, applying to magazines, and washing dishes and planning and cooking up protein, carb, and fat-proportioned meals.
I told my mother about the spider.
For some reason I expected to hear something along the lines of the lack of cleanliness despite the fact that everyone knew my unofficial domestic duty was to constantly ensure that dirt was absent and to notify anyone who would listen when dirt was present.
“You know seeing a spider is good luck,” my mother said. “That’s what grandma always said,” she continued, referring to her own mom.
Suddenly I replayed the event in my head and the spider now seemed to take on a new hue.
I was Charlotte, that fictional character in the classic children’s novel that is mandated by so many a classroom curriculum. It was kind of random. Perhaps the spider was good luck. It’s a new year and I need luck on my side.
Old wives’ tale aside, logically, spiders weave webs. Webs are sticky, gelatinous spider-discharge. It functions to catch all that come in its vicinity. Hence the phrase, “caught in a web of lies.” How then could a web-yielding spider be fortuitous? How could it be a sign of being freed from my anorexia?
I don’t know what to think about 2016, except that I will be turning 26, am still unmarried, still not yet engaged, still underweight, still - at a standstill.
It’s just the beginning and as of yesterday, I have 6 months until I’m officially past my mid-twenties. One thing is for sure, my spidy senses are tingling and I’m itching to move on. Here’s to weaving my own web.