Monday, July 11, 2011

Spiders – Oh My!

I remember third grade well. Hanging upside down from the playground monkey bars, walking to and from school every day, planting two-thousand Christmas trees by hand at the farm on the weekends, then the move and the stress that came along with it.

However, fourth grade holds only one memory for me. A memory I try hard to forget, but all these years later still hold onto. The mere typing of these words brings the dreaded creepy crawlies pricking up my arms and legs.

One crisp morning during the fall, my father came to wake me up. I was groggy and not entirely ready to start my day, but obeyed him so he wouldn’t tickle me out of bed. With a grunt I sat on the edge of my twin-sized mattress, checked my shoes for scorpions, put said shoes on so any mischievous scorpions hiding in the brown carpet didn’t sting me, then mumbled and grumbled my way to the bathroom.

Right away I knew something was off, but couldn’t figure out what. Exhaustion is to be expected, but I felt somewhat sick. Shaking the feeling off, I continued my morning rituals. While brushing my teeth I realized my right leg felt a tad itchy, so I reached down to scratch it.

Probably a tic bite or something. That’s what I thought, but what I felt scared the Wonder Woman panties right off me.

“Mom,” I called at the top of my lungs. My upper-thigh was hot, itchy and red. Swelling about the size of a baseball consumed my scrawny leg; once I noticed the hideous new body part, overreaction and a touch of hypochondria told me I was going to die.

My parents couldn’t get to me fast enough.

“Mommy,” I screamed again for fear the first echoing wave of panic hadn’t met her ears.

The floor rumbled from the weight of my parents running through the trailer. If I screamed it usually involved creatures, but if I screamed twice it usually involved . . . well there was no usual for this.

Mom arrived first, pink rollers falling out of her hair, sweating, make-up smeared on her face. “What is it?”

By this time I was crying and hysterical. All I could do was point at my leg, which I swear had grown in size in the time it took for help to arrive.

I’m sure she saw my leg, but I couldn’t see her face to gauge her expression on how bad it was. All she said was, “Oh. Don’t touch it. Ken, take a look at this.”

Dad walked in, and in his usual way, touched the-thing-that-was-going-to-kill-me too hard, bringing the tears to rushing river mode. “Looks like a spider bite,” he said, receiving a smack from me to get his fingers off it.

A quick debate took place, then a trip to the doctor confirmed the bite. I received an injection of steroids and antibiotics, a black pen to mark the growth progress—hey, it really was growing—and a recommendation for ice-treatments. Doctor said some mumbo-jumbo to Mom and sent us on our way.

You’d think this would have gotten me out of school for the day, right? Nope. Mom and Dad were struggling to make ends meet; they had to go to work, so I had to go to school.

Midway through the day my leg hurt so bad walking became near impossible. There was no one to call, no way to get home, I was stuck. Miserable. Still believing I was going to die, I spent most of the afternoon in the nurse’s office. I cannot remember what her name was, what she looked like or really what she did other than provide a plastic bag full of ice.

The end of the day bell rang. Nurse Whatsername helped me to the bus and there I sat, feeling so insanely sorry for myself, holding the bag of ice to my bite. Of course when the other kids boarded the bus, I became interesting. Everyone vied for a chance to see my leg. Oohs and aahs came from the spectators, further fueling my hypochondria.

One kid offered me his colored pencil and helped me tie the bag with it so I didn’t have to keep holding the cold ice. The gesture was sweet, really, but about a block from home he wanted his pencil back and I couldn’t give it to him fast enough. He yanked on the bag, and I screamed. Shrill and ear piercing.

My older brother knocked the kid back in his seat, helped me get the pencil—which was now holding the bag on so tight it squeezed and made the bite throb—out, handed it back to the kid, then when the bus arrived at our stop, Kris scooped me up and carried me home.

He still harasses me about that day. How he had to carry me to the house. How I was always finding ways to get in trouble. How I was a pain in the ass. BUT really I won that day. My big brother proved how much he loved me, and he proved it in front of a bunch of our peers. Awesome!

The bite took a couple weeks to heal. There are no permanent scars, but I now live in fear of the little eight-legged creatures. And while there may not be any other memories from that year, I can imagine nothing better than learning about how much you’re loved in such an unusual way.


  1. Hey Krystal -

    Lol. I wonder if you're as freaked out by spiders as I am. For some reason, anything small and possessing more than 4-legs really freaks me out. I'm not a spider fan at all.

    I like very much how your story has a wonderful transition near the end. Your suffering was well-paid for with the heroics of an older brother. AND, public peer group witnesses too. That's a nice way to finish and great writing. :)

  2. Uhh, spiders die cruel and unusual deaths if I find them in my house. Payback's a ....

    My big brother is my hero. As I progress in my history, you'll learn we had a rough moments, too. ;-)

    Glad you enjoyed my story and thank you so much for the writing compliment. Means a lot.

  3. I admire your willingness to kill them. Fabulous. I can't stand anything that has more than 2 legs. The monthly visit by the bug man is my savior.

  4. Great post, loved the line Wonder Woman panties line, made me laugh out loud! And the hero Kris again - u could turn that guy into a superhero, all you'd need is a good costume!

    Was planning on doing a post re childhood memories later in the week - think this one, would be very hard to beat!

  5. Sirra, you should check out Tubes In The Walls if you ever decide to build a house. We have them. If we have pests, a company comes out, inserts poison into a valve outside, said poison flows to many parts of house and kills pests without chemicals needing to be sprayed indoors. Lovely!

  6. It made me laugh out loud, too--and I wrote it. ;-)

    Maybe Kris is a super hero in one of my books. Okay, well he's not . . . yet at least. The more I write about him though, the more I contemplate it.

    Do your childhood memory; don't let this hold you back!

  7. Nice little story about the savagery of spiders lol. I too am terrified of the little beasts but sadly in my house I had no hero as my dad and sister teased me with them. Sad to say I still have some pretty scarring memories. On the positive side I'm now 39 with my own kids and it's my 11yr old daughter that rescues 3 screaming nuts everytime a spider arrives to savage us. As we all chant kill it she takes it outside and set it free. What a little blessing she is.

  8. Tattoodeviant, now that's funny. We had to give our 4 yo a lesson about what bugs are safe to pick up and what bugs weren't. She, too, will set them free while the rest of us squish em. Thank you for commenting.

  9. At one point in young adult life I was fresh out of bed and began a cleaning spree. My mind was still groggy with sleep and I bent down to pick up a piece of string or lint from the floor. I believed I had a firm grasp on it however it lit out of my hand and floated back to the floor. I thought this very odd behavior for a piece of string but I reached down and picked it up again and began to walk toward a trash can. The string promptly floated out of my hand again and lit upon the floor, however, this time it began to move and move fast. It was a Hobo spider. My shrill, girl like scream filled the house when I realized the horror I had just put myself into. My young son watched me with terrific awe at the complete nonchalantness at which I handled a Hobo spider. I was his hero right up until he heard the blood curdling, girlish wail that came out of me. Needless to say my complete dissatisfaction with anything creepy and crawly is known far and wide.

    ;) great post Krystal!


  10. Eww, you touched it!?! I would have had to seek therapy after that! Well maybe not, but close. Shuddering just thinking about touching one.

  11. Wow. I don't hate spiders (and in fact, I've developed a relationship with them because it's way fun to pick them up and toss them on my mom, who is dreadfully afraid and insists I'm after her life insurance money) but if I had an experience like that in my back pocket, I do believe I'd avoid them. OUCH.

  12. Okay, I'm in shock. You, Sarah Ballance--screamer at all things snake or mouse related--are not afraid of spiders? Everyday is another surprise with you. ;-)

    And you shouldn't toss spiders at people. So mean. LOL.

  13. " My big brother proved how much he loved me" he is a great brother to have Krystal. I am so freaked out by spiders but I stooped killing them as my fabulous hubby to be is against it. Instead he catches them and throws them out. But in Ireland - we don't have poisonous spiders.

  14. He is a great brother, he'd be even better if he read my blog! I harass him all the time for it.

  15. Anonymous7/11/2011

    I want to know more about the scorpians?! Oh yeah, I guess they have scorpians in Texas. Ok, I'm not going to show my feminine side and say how TERRIFYING that story was but...I guess I just did. Oh, and I like the way the mother's make-up was smeared on her face :-)

  16. Don't worry. I'll have a post for the scorpions later. And snakes. And chiggars. And tics. OH GOD. I could not live in Texas again.

  17. I hate spiders because my big brother used to torture me with them, that and other bugs.

  18. I cannot believe all these mean people tossing spiders at innocent, scared victims. Grr!

  19. Loving the 'Wonder Woman panties'!

  20. :-) I used to adore that show.

  21. Anonymous11/28/2012

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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