Mark’s standing on the other side of the bed, and as he pulls his shirt up and over his head, a weird shadow plays against his skin, a shadow that may in fact be a tarantula-sized spider clinging to his side. Pretty sure it’s a shadow and not a spider, but do shadows snuggle like that? It looks darker and somehow denser than a regular shadow. Damn it, why is Mark turning the other way? Let me just try to lean and look casually before I raise the alarm, keeping in mind the memory of every shrieking arm-flailing leg-jolting spider-terror dance Mark has ever done. Most of those dances didn’t even involve a spider; the merest brush against a spider web is enough to turn him into a marionette puppet invisibly controlled by remote electric shock. OK, must stop smiling at that image, because if the shadowy hugging figure is indeed a giant spider, I am going to have no good explanation for why I found the moments before Mark’s venomed death so amusing. Of course, once bitten, Mark will be rapidly dead because no way am I heading over to his side of the bed to get the phone to call 911. That’s where the hulking bouncing spider is; no point in both of us meeting our spider-doom. Ugh . . . now that’s all I can imagine . . . Mark all electric-jolted with terror and poison and the huge spider standing all King-of-the-Mountainy on his chest, quivering and bouncing in gelatinous arachnid menace, staring at me with all of its many malevolent eyes. Hmmm. I would use my phone to call 911, but I have of course forgotten to charge it again. Great. Mark will be all body-paralyzed and screaming and spider-chomped and dying, but he will pause in the midst of his death to roll his eyes and lecture me once again about remembering to charge my phone. So fucking annoying. Like he never does anything stupid in an endless repetitive loop. Perhaps I will point that shit out . . . Look at you, Mark, all married to me day after day after day, but do I get all bitchy and rub your face in your continued looped idiocy? No, I do not. OK, that’s an awkward and unfortunate imagining of our last married words . . . perhaps instead a few tossed intimacies from the safety of my side of the bed and then some gentle hushing of his phone-charging reprimands . . . not much the paramedics could do anyway, right? No sense in frightening the children with sirens. I’ll just leave his body there where it fell beside the bed and let the spider cocoon him in silk as I sleep. Not like the spider’s going to be able to haul him off; it will have to do the business of liquefaction right here in our bedroom. OK, that should not be funny but it is a little bit funny to imagine. Am I smiling again? I think I might be smiling again. Ugh. Do shadows pulse? It looks like it’s pulsing. I should speak up. I should definitely speak up.
Oooh . . . maybe Mark will turn into Spiderman! He would like that. Remember how giddy he got in the library lobby when they resurfaced the tiles and they were all sticky because the coating hadn’t completely dried? Mark could not get enough of that floor gripping at his feet as he walked . . . back and forth across the floor until the librarians were staring at him with silent eyebrows raised . . . Mark’s feet ripping free with a big anti-suction sound with every step. Look! I’m like Spiderman! If they coated the walls and ceiling with this stuff, I could totally walk upside-down like Spiderman! He’s like a child, really. Look! I am sticking like I have spider feet! So embarrassing. How he is a gainfully employed and respected member of society, I will never understand. Where’s Mark? Oh, he’s just crouching up in the corner of the living-room ceiling . . . Yeah, he’s a wizard with two-sided tape. Let me just throw him this afghan; he likes to pretend it’s his web. After that, I’ll make him a smoothie . . . he’s on a liquid diet these days. Obviously.
Mark catches me staring at him, and he turns to pose, this way and that, “You like what you see?”
Oh thank god . . . it’s only a weird shadow.
But what could be casting that shadow? If that turns out to be man-boob shadow, we may never have sex again. Not that Mark has man-boobs. Or at least not last time I checked. What is casting that weird shadow?
Mark continues to pose, “You want some of this? I see you appreciating my midriff.”
Wait . . . did he just say . . .
I explode into laughter, “Your midriff?”
He makes a circular motion with his hand to indicate the glory that is his stomach, “This area right here . . . my midriff. Sexy, no?”
“Oh my god, babe. Midriff is such a girly word. Men do not refer to their midriffs.”
“My midriff begs to differ.”
I snort and choke, “I am going to die of giggling.”
Mark climbs into bed and pulls the covers down for me to join him, “You are ridiculous.”
Still giggling, I pounce.
They so do.