It's so hard to get pregnant at our age that you get superstitious. But I hate spiders. I always get bit. I don't react particularly strongly, but I always have a bite somewhere, and they aren't the most pleasant things. So I'm inclined to dispatch a spider when I find one. But I was superstitious, so I left these alone.
We'd just found out that the IVF had worked, and that we had two little guys in the works. We'd found out earlier than normal because there'd been a little scare. Nothing major, and we'd left the hospital with hugs and beaming nurses. The ultrasound had shown two heartbeats. And I'd known from right then that they were two guys. Don't know how, but I did. In fact: when they'd put the little cell blobs in, they'd shown me them on the video, and I'd gotten a good impression right then: one sturdy and big, the other weak and small. But they'd both taken. And now we'd gotten confirmation: two heartbeats. Normal heartbeats.
Good. And they were probably there for some time, but on this day, I noticed a pair of spider egg balloons in a window on our stairway landing. Between the window and the screen. With a smallish spider tending to them. I couldn't do anything about it. It seemed too much of an omen.
I watched that spider tend to those two egg balloons for several months. As the weather grew colder, I started to wonder when the baby spiders would be born. When would I be able to get in there and close the storm window?
There were several more little scares with the pregnancy, each time resolving without much incident other than a night in the ER and an instillation of a knee jerk panic reaction to my wife saying she had to go to the restroom.
* * *
We went for our first non-emergency ultrasound, and found out that they were two boys. And I relaxed. We thought up names. And I decided it was safe to close the storm window.
I was very careful, eeking open the window just enough, and gently sliding down the storm. The egg balloons were intact. But the mother spider left. Never came back.
Three days later I got a call at work and had to drive my wife to the hospital, and a week later they were both dead. It was a brutal week to end a brutal six months to end a brutal six years. I had a few hours with them at the end, and they were wonderful. We had a perfect time. Except for the dying part.
Now, a year and a half later, I'm deciding that it's time to clean out the spider webs and the shriveled egg balloons. And tell my wife. I took some pictures, because I do, and I'm writing this. And when it's good, I'll get in there with a vacuum and some window cleaner. And move on.
… I wrote this about two years ago now, and I still haven't opened the window.
Thanks for reading,