The light was fading as I lay on my bed, working on my computer. I looked up, preparing to turn on my light, when I caught a bit of movement out of the corner of my eye, in the shadows on the floor. I hopped out of bed, avoiding that area of the room, flipped on the light, and turned around with dread niggling in my heart.
And I confronted my worst nightmare.
Y’all, there were a lot of fear-filled moments when I lived in South Africa. In a country with a high crime rate and a tendency to treat women as inferior, there were moments when I was afraid. Whether it was the crazy-fast-kombi-driver who thought he was driving safely, the bat in my room at 2am, the drunk man following me home, or the creepy guys in the taxi ranks…there were lots of moments when I felt fear. And yet, nothing had my heart racing like this.
As I turned around, I saw a tarantula scurrying across my floor. Even worse, he had clearly been hiding UNDER my bed.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been borderline arachnophobic. I would have nightmares if I even saw a photo of a spider, and I had a panic attack in the high school cafeteria when a kid brought his pet tarantula to school. When I joined the Peace Corps, this was literally the one thing I had severe reservations about, and I was thoroughly happy I wasn’t sent to Latin America, where big spiders are common.
So you can imagine the pure terror I felt.
And yet, I couldn’t just ignore the problem. So I grabbed my broom and umbrella, and unsuccessfully tried to kill the tarantula while jumping up on my bed whenever it came close. (Yes, I’m serious).
Eventually my host mom sensed something was wrong (maybe from the bangs or screams coming from my room), and she came up and killed it quickly with the broom. She might’ve laughed at me a bit, but it was a nice bonding experience.
Minus the tarantula.
Of course, now spiders really don’t bother me. Unless they’re on my face. Then that’s not cool.
Slowly we’re creeping to the finish line! In case you missed it, I’m participating in #write31days, where I publish a post each day of the month through October. I’m following Kate in doing a month-long five minute free write for 31 Days challenge, so I’m writing for about 5 minutes each day. Check out the other awesome writers who are doing the same here.
My topic? 31 Days of Moments in Africa.
Top photo credit: http://www.scienceinafrica.com/