True Love

“Honey, will you grab me a paper towel?”, he called down the stairs while keeping his eyes locked on the spider.  He hoped he’d kept his voice light and casual enough to keep her from guessing why he needed the paper towel.  Or at least casual enough that she could pretend not to know.

The spider was continuing to work on its web, seemingly without care or thought of the large, to it, man standing within reach.  He twitched a bit each time the spider changed direction – he didn’t love spiders himself, he just knew that he needed to handle this one before his wife caught a glimpse of it.  He could hear her footsteps coming up the stairs and he carefully backed down a couple so he could intercept her and the paper towel before she had a chance to see the spider for herself.  He wanted to be able to sleep in his bed that night, and there was little hope of that happening if she saw the spider this close to bed time.

She turned the corner on the staircase and almost bumped into him. “Gah! I thought you were all the way upstairs!”  She had been distracted by something on her phone so wasn’t fully watching where she was going.  They’d lived in this house together for so long, and she’d grown up here, so there was no need to use up their attention on something so trivial as stairs.

He smiled sweetly before tilting his head and saying, “I wanted to save you some steps.”  She put her phone-hand on her hip as she offered up the paper towel. “You needed this?  Perhaps to clean that saccharine off your face?” The smile she gave showed that her sass was just for fun.

He took the paper towel, kissed her forehead, and said, “Thanks.  Wait – did someone just knock at the door?”

He hadn’t heard anything, of course.  He just needed her to head back downstairs right away so he could deal with the spider without an audience.  She turned around on the spot and started back down the stairs, grumbling.  He waited a moment before going back up the stairs.  It occurred to him that, since he’d taken his eyes off the spider, there was a chance it would have escaped.  Since she hadn’t seen it that could be ok.  Once she saw a bug or a spider it had to be killed or evicted.  If neither was an option, she would remove herself.  This time he was safe to do whatever he wanted in terms of the spider, and he wasn’t sure which way to go.

“Ok, Mr. Spider, time is up.  As he got closer, the spider seemed to finally have realized that there was danger attached to the man.  Back and forth the spider scurried, finishing the masterpiece that was its web.

He moved the paper towel over the spider, his body tensing in anticipation of the moment when he would squish the spider.  As the paper towel landed on the spider, squeezing the last bit of life out of it, he let a quiet “huzzah!”

He crumpled the paper towel into a tight ball and walked over to the bathroom to get rid of the evidence of his actions.  After he threw the paper towel in the garbage, the spider and web inside it, he looked at his reflection in the mirror.  He looked his age and that was ok.  He’d earned every day of it and found his age markers to be comforting.  He turned off the light, gave one last thought to the spider, and headed down the stairs to find the love of his life who would be as calm as could be thanks to that paper towel delivery.

**All 30-minute musing posts are fiction**

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