For some reason, spiders love to build webs right over the automatic door sensor in our garage.
The first time it happened, Noah and I had just pulled in after a long trip. It was late. I just wanted to go to bed. I hit the garage door to close it. It did one of those little three-inch-close, halt, grind-back-up moves. I tried it again. And again. Same thing. Something was blocking the sensors. I went and checked. Nothing seemed to be blocking the damned thing. I stood like an idiot for another five minutes trying to get it to close, groaning and grunting at the timing. Multiple trips to adjust and unblock the sensor produced no results. Then, finally, I looked close at the sensor and noticed that there was a thick white web filling the hole where the laser beam shoots out.
I grabbed a screwdriver and war-cried death to whatever spider was ruining my entire life. Noah stood entranced above me, watching the ordeal. And that’s when it happened. I poked a hole into the thick tiny web. A tiny little spider, no bigger than half my pinky fingernail, jumped out of the hole, straight at my face. I shrieked out some cross between what I think was an f-bomb, mixed with a girlie scream, mixed with a manly “whoa.” I swatted at it, knocked it to the ground, and executed it with the end of the screwdriver. There was no fair trial.
This caused Noah to fill with dread that the spider wasn’t actually dead or that there might be more of them. Dread for Noah included crying, dancing a jig, and grunting an even manlier “whoa” than I had, all at the same time.
Daddy assured him that he got the spider, and he got him good. The garage door closed. Everything seemed fine. And, since it was late, I got Noah right to bed. “Dad, I’m worried there might be spiders in here,” he said as he climbed into his covers. Again I assured him that things were safe. It was late. We were both tired and exhausted. He went right to sleep. I went right to sleep in my own room. And then it happened.
About two hours later, I woke to the sound of my child crying in his bedroom. Nay. I woke up to the sound of my child panicked and crying in his bedroom. “Daddy!” Daddy!”
Now, it takes a lot to wake my child up. He may be the deepest sleeper in the history of deep sleepers. He started sleeping through the night at two weeks old, and I think only once, in a pool of his own vomit, has he woken up in the night since then. So trust me that whatever this was, it was jolting enough for me to run buck naked (with socks, of course) into his room, and flip on his light before I even knew that I was awake.
“What is it buddy?”
My usually brown-skinned little boy was white and bloodless as he sat straight up in his bed, his blanket clutched in his hands. His eyes were bulged open and he wasn’t looking at me. He was looking straight ahead into the void.
He was bawling those uncontrollable fear-filled sobs we all know so well. He pointed. He screamed. He was still, at least mostly, asleep.