Mom’s have an ear for cries. We can tell tired from hurt from sad by the pitch–the peaks and dips in wails or whimpers of the voices we know. I wonder, then, why my husband hasn’t yet learned the meanings of my pitch. I have an urgent summons. It’s reserved for bloodshed of one kind or another. So, too, do I have one that’s curious. Where are you? it asks, wordlessly. I use that one mostly when I’m bored and in need of company. And then, I have this other one. It’s steady, but escalating at the same time. I use it in one situation and one only: bug emergency.
I was just about to close the blinds of my bedroom window last night when I saw it. A ginormous spider. It somehow got through the screen and was stuck between the screen and the window. Baby, I yelled, in my bug emergency voice.
What? He said. I can’t tell if he knows the voice and chooses to play dumb or if it will be another eight years before he finally recognizes so obvious a distress call.
I need you. It’s a ginormous spider.
He came and duly inspected. It’s on the outside, he concluded.
Yes, but it’s inside the screen.
I thought the appropriate next step might be to inspect the window, to check for possible openings, but my husband had a different idea. I watched as he literally opened the window, effectively laying out the red carpet for Mr. Creepy Crawly.
What are you doing? Why would you do that? I asked, standing atop a chair far enough away but close enough to witness.
I see it. I’ve got it.
He might have seen it but by no means did he get it. In fact, he spent the next thirty minutes or so moving furniture, inspecting every nook, cranny and crevice in our room. When the search turned nothing up, he casually put things back in order, thinking all was well. I had other ideas.
I carried my stuff to the couch. No way no how was I sleeping within inches of what I reasonably concluded was a brown recluse that had taken refuge somewhere near my headboard, dead set on injecting its poisonous, flesh-eating saliva into my veins while I slept.
Here’s where my husband’s knight in shining armor reflex kicks in. He brought out the big gun: his maglite. From the safety of the living room couch I saw the beam of light darting hither and thither. I heard the shuffling of furniture, the creak of our bed as he moved it out from the wall. And then, finally, I heard what I’d been waiting for all along: the tone of success in his voice.
I have an ear for that, too.
I made him show me the body. Once before–in a similar standoff–he tricked me, trying to pass off an old, dusty spider corpse as the one in question. Ever since then, I’ve been especially wary.
Judging by my survival through the night, I trust that the body he produced last night was not a counterfeit. So, too, do I premise that he won’t make the mistake of rolling out the red carpet for another spider anytime soon.
That move cost him an hour of sleep last night.