The very ordinary tale of Willy the spider

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Willy was a very common spider: brown, with long legs and lighter dots on his back. He used to live with his family above the vending machines of the pier “San Zaccaria B”; from there, he could see everyday fleets of people moving under him: colours, voices, and sounds left him speechless. One foggy night, though, a finger was pointed to them, and Willy realized spiders scare people. That night, he lost his entire family, killed by the human that decided they could not stay there. Willy could remember how everything seemed blurred and enormous that night, and then him running between a forest of legs, fighting for his life, causing screams of fear and disgust. He could also remember arriving, somehow, on the small island he used to see far away, which the men driving the boat leaving from the pier called San Servolo. Probably, he too arrived there with a vaporetto, but he has no memory of it: all he knew is that he suddenly was building his net on the top of a pinkish building in the middle of the island, grieving, just wanting to find someone to call family again.

From his position, he could once again see the people passing under him: this time, they were not solid ranks of tourists, but young people who alternated studying to heating food in microwaves. He liked watching them living their life, acting as the family he had lost and he was missing greatly. He started to recognize their faces, the sound of their voices, the emotions in their eyes when they looked up at him. Some were scared just like the one that killed his brothers, and, when they passed, Willy felt his heart sinking. But most of them were friendly and even started to give him nicknames. After a while, he started to think he had finally found his new family: he had a cute house between the jamb of the door and the scraped plaster of the wall, and someone caring for him.

But then, they arrived, one sunny morning: unknown faces, men with a fluorescent dress that disturbed his eyes, carrying strange machines that made trees falling to the ground with gave thuds. Willy felt the danger. He crumbled up in a shaded corner of his new home, trying to be as little and invisible as possible. But the men saw him. It was like a flashback: a finger pointed to him, a long, woody stick destroying his net, the sense of falling, and feet trying to squash him to the ground. He ran, grasping the ground with his eight legs to be faster. He climbed the wall, his brownish colour evident on the pink wall, but the men seemed to have lost interest for him; they were taking down his net, together with his hope of actually finding a new family in the group of guys that lived in the island. He felt numb, in danger, and incredibly alone. He found shelter on a windowsill; inside, he could see one of the young guys, but one of those that were scared by him. He had seen enough to understand that fear was the driving force of the destructive power humans carried: they killed to destroy fear and feel invincible. A sense of cold awareness came down to him: he had made the wrong decision, in choosing that specific windowsill. The cold deepened. It was with no emotion that he looked at the shoe the guy in the room threw at him: everything just went black.

by Silvia Ruggeri

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