Have you ever had that feeling that something you dislike has touched you without you knowing? I mean, for example, a spider is crawling on your arm. Then you do those jerky movements that look like a parent’s bad dance at a wedding. You know those times, don’t you?
I just did.
The recent high winds and the neighbours cats have caused severe damage to one of the fence panels in my garden (well, this one more than the rest) and it looked like the Costa Concordia as it listed away from the other upright panels. Other neighbours, houses away from mine, have stopped me in the street and mentioned that they saw it falling over it, so I knew it was time to remove it.
Hatted and gloved against the weather I went forth into the garden.
The rotting wood fell easily away from the attached posts. I thought then this was going to be easier than I had imagined and wondered why I had delayed removing this eyesore for so long. As I leant forwards to lift some of the broken pieces of wood I felt something touch my back.
It was a light touch, and it instantly unnerved me because I was wearing several layers of clothing.
I dropped the broken panels to the ground and jumped backwards. That’s when the dancing started. My arms were making strange geometrical shapes with my body as I struggled to release the foreign object from near my skin. I could feel it moving down my back. It was all I could do not to scream out.
As I jerked frantically I felt something move lower down my back I flung off the gardening gloves and reached for it. With disgust I threw a small dark object to the ground. It was a spider! I knew it was, wasn’t it? I peered at the ground but the pebbles disguised it, but I was right, wasn’t I? I felt my skin crawl as I continued to fan my clothing away from my body to let any other creepy crawlies loose.
What I did next surprised me.
I shook my clothes one more time then retrieved the gloves and continued to clear the broken wood away from the edges of the garden. Once they were in a neat pile I walked swiftly to the kitchen door.
Then, it started again; that creepy feeling that something unbidden was touching me. This time I didn’t feel anything new I saw a spider (yes, a real one) on the doorstep. I flicked it off, back into the garden, and as I touched it it curled up into a ball. That was it! I was convinced that what had touched me earlier was really a spider. I lost all reserve and flew through the door.
I ascended the steps rather quickly and in moments I was in the bathroom and stripping off my clothes. As I did so I shook each item – away from me – to see what was in there. I checked my back in the mirror and, thankfully, nothing was there. As I turned my clothing back inside out something fell to the floor. I jumped back convinced it was a spider. It lay there in a dark ball, not moving.
I didn’t want to move first but I had to move before it did, so I backed up, all the time keeping my eyes on that spot, and reached for some toilet tissue. As I approached it again I tried to identify it. Was it really just a dried up berry or was it a disguised spider. With my exposed skin tightening in fear I enclosed the ball with the tissue. It did not move. I gingerly picked it up and found out that it was a berry.
Now, that should have calmed all my fears, yet it didn’t.
I was still using my hand to brush invisible spiders from my back. My imagination had created a colony of them crawling all over me and the evidence of the berry as it lay in the tissue did not convince me that there hadn’t already been at least one of them crawling on me.
You know those times, don’t you?
Oh, it’s just me then ...