Author’s note: It took me a while to share this horror show ’cause I didn’t wanna believe it had actually happened. #neverforget
Stretching after a nice nature-y run last week, I stopped and felt something. On my leg.
No, wait. Keep your popcorn up. It gets worse. I look down and see this pinpoint sized barely-visible reddish-brown dot skating across my sweaty dermis like Nancy effing Kerrigan. But it gets even worse than that. You know how when you feel one thing on you? And then you feel a trillion things on you? And they usually are all figments of your crazy arachnaphobic imagination?
(pause to break into tears)
But ain’t nobody wanna tell me it’s not my fault and hold me in their arms. Because my arms, shins, and basically everywhere that wasn’t covered by clothes was instead covered in these micro creatures that I’m starting to feel again just typing this (you feel ‘em too?) After screaming and going into the kind of panic that makes the whole world narrow into a telescopic tunnel vision view, my only directive suddenly became to burn myself alive for the sake of humanity. Was I infested? Did I have mites in my bed and linen? My towels? My carpet?
My face holes! I bet they’re in my face holes!
I would go on to spend the rest of my night tirelessly washing everything I owned, vacuuming and repainting the walls with layers of bleach. But not before the kind of emergency contagion cleaning they do when there’s been a breach in the ebola lab.
After setting my shower to magma mode and breaking out the Brillo pad and Lysol, I hopped under the molten waterfall, and had that same aha moment that always happens in the sensory deprivation of a shower. Except this one was the burnishing of my memory by banishing my cognitive dissonance. Ah, yes. I had felt something hit my arm mid trot. Not a leaf. Definitely not a branch. Something… sentient. And when I couldn’t see it, I told myself the age-old jogger’s lie: “It was nothing. I’m sure of it.” Mmmyes. Nothing. Definitely not a spider full of egg-babies. And I let myself believe it. How could my brain betray me?
Denial isn’t a river in Egypt.
It’s a river of baby spider carcasses cascading from my body.
While I scour the flesh from my bones like Freck up top there.