spiderweb-scroll-mdRotten Eggs

by Sophie
van Llewyn

There is something about my husband, as he sits hunched over the kitchen counter. An obscuring of light which makes me stop and taste the air. I hold my breath and tell my steps to hush themselves, float beside him and look over his shoulder. He’s picking spider eggs? Under a microscope, with a tweezers, he rolls white pearly balls from baking soda and swaps them against my birth control pills. Wrath swells in me, it spills, sweeps the kitchen like a tide. My husband’s head is knocked on the marble surface of the counter. I pick up the tweezers, fallen on the floor, and only then check if he’s still breathing. This is not the last you’ll hear of him.

Too late. Tonight, I feel it move and I can’t mistake it for what it isn’t any more. My poor womb tries to flee from it, swelling like a helium balloon around it, but there’s nowhere to hide. I have to wrench it out, or it will kill me before they do. I should have made away with the eggs while there was still time. How many times did I have to tell him that it is forbidden?

In the attic, I expel it using my mother’s old spell book and a pair of crochets. It comes out hanging on a hook and with an unmistakable reproachful expression. I’m hanging it over the window sill, holding it by three hairs, hoping that something would come and snatch it before it touches the ground. That’s how survived. I thought I was a bat until I was three. I still hang myself from the girders in the attic, head down when I need to think.

A spider descends from the moon on a silver thread and asks me if she can keep it. I shrug. There’s more of that reproachful look which reminds me so much of myself.

The spider was careless. Her covenant throws a baby shower. My husband goes up to the attic, looking for his tweezers, while she’s out. He finds the thing. They’re both cooing as if they’d known each other for ages. I waste no time. I must spread my wings and go forth. They’ll be coming for us soon. I’ve told him so. It was forbidden.

I wait for nightfall, suspended from a branch in the pine tree across the street. I watch. From leaves and twigs and golden threads, my husband has built a crib. The thing watches me, too. On second thoughts, I may just take it with me.

When I wake up, she’s gnawing at the branch we’re both sitting on. At home, my husband is wailing and calling for her. The spider, fully equipped with what seems to be a baby sling, lies gutted on the bedroom floor. She shrugs. That’s my girl.

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Sophie van Llewyn is the slave of a four-week-old baby. If her mistress is pleased and feels lenient, she takes a nap, so that Sophie may write.
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