The Widow

Desert Rose

It’s a lovely day in my garden, and I am as happy as a woman can be. For you see, today I acquired a plant I have wanted from the first time I saw it. ‘Adenium Arabicum’, whose common name is Desert Rose. It’s a beautiful plant, a living piece of flowing sculpture. with a smooth thick bulbous trunk and waxy veined green leaves. And when it blooms, it’s a brilliant miracle. Now, nothing to do but find the perfect pot and plant it, love it, and watch it grow. I start digging around through my store of empty pots, searching for the perfect one. There- that’s it! I pull the pot from the shelf.


AAAAAAGH!!!! There she is. Looking at me with her wicked eyes, taking in the situation. My scream gets her moving, and I put the infested pot on the ground. Racing to the tool shed, I go in search of what I need. She mustn’t escape! I grab the contraption and run back to the pot. She’s still there, but now I am taking in everything around her. Nine silken sac pouches. Dear God, how long has she been here? I shudder as I prime the sprayer. I point it at the pot and she is now moving at a confident slow pace towards the top of the pot. I say to myself, maybe she senses her impending doom and that of her children. I pull the trigger and….nothing!! It’s not working, the damn sprayer is not working. Damn,damn,damn!!!!

Think Linda, Think.

Panicked, I open the sprayer, and pour the entire contents into the pot. She is trying to get away, but the insecticide overtakes her. My joy from this morning has withered, much like she is doing now. The re-potting will have to wait until my heart slows. Walking into the house, I collapse into my favorite chair.

©2019 Linda Lee Lyberg

Wikimedia Commons

Author’s Note: I have a deathly fear of spiders. So much so, that I can’t even step on them to kill them. I don’t like to kill anything, but spiders freak me out.

Poet’s United: Telling Tales with Magaly Guerrero- Phobias and Fears

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37 Comments on “The Widow

  1. And a black widow to boot. Ack! I remember a night iwas checking on my seven year old grandson, who was reading in bed. There was a fat red spider ON HIS NECK! I crossed the room and slapped it off him. He was horrified and had to sleep in a different room after that. It freaked him out for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The transition from blissful to frantic did a fantastic job at showing just how real this panic is. I can see the narrator running back and forth, looking for the perfect defensive weapon, failing and trying again… until finally, safe! Even if she’s still shaking in her gardening boots.

    A bit on spiders and fear… While teaching Marine Corps Combat Training, in North Carolina, we always had to teach our students about spiders (and snakes and such). There was always someone with mild fear of spiders. But one day, there was a student whose phobia was so extreme, that when I show my squad one of the creatures… the young man froze. I had never seen that actually happen to a person. We say that someone froze, but we mean that they were shocked for a bit. Not this kid. He couldn’t moved. We shook him. We tried talking to him. In the end, we called the Corpsman. After that, I have never taken a phobia lightly, especially when they involve living things as the source of fear.

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  3. *shudder* While I’m slapping at all the phantom crawlies, let me say that this was the perfect shift from excitement to horror. I don’t think I would have been able to handle the situation as clear-headedly. 🙂

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  4. My goodness, I am so sorry to hear of your fear of spiders, Linda. I had absolutely no idea 😦 but can relate to how it can lead to feeling unsettled.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh dear, perhaps you had better not read my story, then! I do understand the fear, though in my case it came to a different conclusion.

    I have to add that although I don’t usually kill spiders, I certainly wouldn’t let a venomous one live in my space. When my Mum was still alive but elderly, I saw a white-tail spider (VERY nasty!) emerging from a pile of her washing. I stomped on it fast, with not a moment of guilt.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ugh, was it really a black widow? I don’t think we have them here. At least I hope not. I do not have a fear of spiders but I hate to kill them. I remember one time I sprayed window cleaner on one just to spray something. It left a bad stain on my wall. Sigh. Fears are fears, and not to be taken lightly though.

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    • Thank you Mary. It was definitely a black widow. They are very distinctive. This is the second one I have seen in person. Once seen, you will always recognize them.

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  7. Ugh, we’ve seen our share of black widow spiders here in New Mexico. I’m not a fan of spiders but I respect them and don’t kill them. But I do let my husband kill the black widows. I’m too terrified. I like how you wrote this piece – the love of the roses vs the terror of the widow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so kindly. Normally my husband kills the widows too. He was at work so I had to do something. I certainly didn’t enjoy it.

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  8. Oh dear. I don’t want to see even the thinnest of the thin spiders in my life. But spider happens everywhere and I simply vacuum clean them. Love the transition from tranquility to a sudden horrifying experience. Well told.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I like the blissful build-up in the first paragraph, Linda, and the description of your ‘Desert Rose’. I expected something to be in the pot, thought maybe slugs or snails. I love the way you describe the spider without naming her in the second paragraph: the wicked eyes don’t give much away but the nine silken sac pouches and the confident slow pace are good clues. I don’t use insecticide and was shocked by the spider’s withering. I like spiders – but then, as Bjorn said, we don’t have poisonous spiders like the ones in your part of the world. .

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Your friend looks similar to the Red Back Spider in Australia which you certainly don’t want to meet however it is quite happy squatting with you. It is best not to try to kill it as it puts up a fight and often wins!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The mood can change in an instant once a black widow spider is in the picture. I can relate to the reaction Linda. You wrote this so true to the moment. Wonderful prose!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh, I understand the fear. I usually let spiders go on their merry way, if not poisonous or carrying a tribe about to be birthed. Happy can certainly dissolve in a flash or your case a spider surprise.

    Liked by 1 person

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