I’d just taken off my glasses when I spotted a strange black, spindly looking speck on the middle of my bed. In one swift, automatic motion, like one of those robotic arms at GM checking a tail light, I squinted and leaned down for a closer look.
I remember that fateful day in grade six when I first discovered I needed glasses. My friend and I were running for the bus. “What number is it?” he hollered over his shoulder. I couldn’t tell him. I knew from the look he gave me after he’d turned to check for himself, that from that moment on the only 20/20s I’d be seeing would be quiz scores. Hey, we nerds have had to compensate somehow. It’s no coincidence grades and glasses go together. You wouldn’t believe how high my marks were the year I got braces!
As my nose came closer and closer to the comforter, I thought of how many times I’ve come face to face with that eternal question… dust? Or spider? I must say though, despite all those jerk-back-and-scream moments, there’s a certain amount of empathy those of us with four eyes can’t help but feel for those poor souls cursed with eight. But, sometimes that’s not enough to protect them when the situation becomes a clear case of ‘it’ or ‘me’.
I was over at a high school boyfriend’s house in grade eleven. Even though his parents were home (nothin’ to worry about Mom), it somehow fell to me to deal with the teeny arachnid lurking over their second floor landing. I vacuumed it up with the duster extension while my boyfriend cringed behind me. I decided to have a little fun with him (not that kind Mom).
“See,” I said, swinging the nozzle round to within inches of his face, “it’s right here!”
With a wild shriek, he flung himself backwards down the stairs.
Thankfully, the stairs were carpeted. Even more thankfully, he somehow caught hold of the railing – while upside down! – half a second before his head slammed into the ground. Still, to this day, it’s as close as I’ve ever come to killing a man.
The speck on my bed turned out to be a tiny mess of thread. I flicked it into the corner, where it now lies in wait to freak me out another day. Though luckily, now I have backup.