1. I had two experiences when I was sixteen that are the cause of my arachnophobia,
a terrible and uncontrollable fear of spiders.
2. The first experience was the time
when my best friend received a bite from a black widow spider.
3. I did not see the spider but visited
my friend in the hospital, where he suffered through a week of nausea and dizziness because of the poison.
4. I saw the bandage on his hand
and the puffy swelling when the bandage was removed.
5. Most of all, I saw the ugly red
scab on his hand and the yellow pus that continued oozing from under the scab for several weeks.
6. But my more dramatic experience
with spiders happened one evening when another friend and I were driving around in his car.
7. We were listening to the radio
when we discovered that nature was calling.
8. We stopped the car at the side of the road, walked into the woods a few
feet, and watered the leaves.
9. As I got back into the car, I
sensed, rather than felt or saw, a presence on my left hand.
10. I looked down at my hand, but
I could not see anything because it was so dark.
11. My friend then entered the car,
putting on the dashboard light, and I almost passed out with horror.
12. Almost completely covering my
fingers was a monstrous brown spider, with white stripes running down each of the seemingly endless number of long, furry
13. I imagined my entire hand soon
disappearing as the behemoth relentlessly devoured it.
14. At the same time I cried out
Arghh! and flicked my hand violently back and forth to shake off the spider.
15. For a long, horrible second it
clung stickily, as if intertwined for good among the fingers of my hand.
16. Then it flew off my hand and into the dark bushes nearby.
17. I sat in the car for an hour
afterward, shaking and sweating and constantly rubbing the fingers of my hand to reassure myself that the spider was no longer
18. After my two experiences, I suspect
that my fear of spiders will be with me until I die.