I stand in the empty space, throwing my arms wide. The carpet is light tan, the walls off-white, with that recently painted smell. New apartment. Empty. Fresh start. I feel great. I spin once, twice, three times, like I did as a girl.
The sun slants in through the windows, throwing squares of light on the carpet. I don’t want to bring my stuff in yet. Maybe I never want to bring my stuff in. I walk over to the sunlit square and lay down in it, placid as a cat. The carpet smells like it’s just been shampooed.
Someone went to all that trouble so they could rent this place to me. I close my eyes, inhale, then open them. There’s a spider dangling from a web in the brassy, rust-pocked chandelier directly above me.
Not so cool. I keep my eyes on it as I reach down my leg for my boot. Unlacing the thing blind is less easy than I expected. Is that spider moving? Is it coming for me?
The boot slides off with a schlump. Heavy. Good. I heft it over my shoulder, squint up at the lamp and fling my shoe overhead. It knocks the light hard, shattering three of the six bulbs and setting the whole thing swinging. Splinters of glass rain down on me. The boot’s return to earth narrowly misses my head. That wasn’t very bright. Good thing no one saw. The web and the spider are impossible to locate on the swaying chandelier. I turn my head, cheek pressed against the carpet. I reach for my boot. The spider scuttles up the eyelets insouciantly, at home in the web of lacings.
I withdraw my hand. This thing and I cannot live together. I have another boot.
Anna Schwind was born in New Orleans. Accordingly, she spends most of her time wondering why everywhere else isn’t as humid and struggling to keep her gills lubricated. The rest of the time, she writes. Her non-fiction splurts can be found at http://anna.slithytoves.org.