I see Big House Spider on Sunday morning, running away from the laundry basket. Furtive is the word that jumps in my mind.
I forget about it, because there is Baby, breakfast, Dog, Fat Beagle, more breakfast, an incident with Cat and a load of washing. And washing up, and don’t touch information- Rayburn hot, Fat Beagle’s bottom unclean: important stuff. Eventually, Baby, both Dogs, two Grandparents, a pocketful of poo bags and a pram hood balancing plastic pots for blackberry collecting, are out in the lanes. Fat Beagle trundles on a thick lead, Dog whips in and out of badger tracks, Baby sings to the sway of the leaves. Mr regrets short trousers. Nettles bustle in the base of the hedges.
It might rain, it might not. We might fill the pots, we might not. Maybe the child will cry, the hounds will misbehave. One step at a time, we stroll, spying out fruiting stems, under the heavy grey sky. The pot lids are pressed on. Through translucent Tupperware, baubles of blackberries bulge; I play with words, stow the tubs under the pram, take off my raincoat. Get home and I feel like yawning, like stretching. Rest refreshed Baby feels like climbing stairs.
Big House Spider, in the corner of the top step, faces inwards. His legs are hunched.
I forget about it, and I don’t really know the gender of the arachnid.
The way to work is convoluted; there has been a crash on the Bude road. We must pick our way down farm lanes, solemn, hoping folk are not so badly injured, not so badly traumatised. On return, we drive past the wreckage: one car, one motorbike; at the road edge, a swept sad rise of glass, metal and mud. The detritus of how lives can change.
At home, food is prepared. The table is cleared, I light candles; after eating, we are going to watch a film. I need to change out of my work clothes now. Big House Spider is still in situ. I wonder if he is ill. I wonder if he has just stopped functioning.
Pudding is the last of the blackberry and apple crumble; there is cream left over, and custard.
Mr, Boy, me and both dogs settle for viewing. Dog takes an erratic dash, under the table, round a chair, sticks her face under the bookcase. Big House Spider appears on the wall, hiding in a shadow. Furtive, with a hint of exhilaration.