• Terry Groves

B.R.A.T.S. Spider on the Sidewalk

Updated: Apr 23, 2019


In Winnipeg in the early 60s, we lived on Leicester Square in the Air Force PMQs. My parents were adamant that we had to learn to swim, and I have to say, I didn't mind that direction. The first time I went to the swimming pool, my two older brothers were already quite proficient and I wanted to be in there with them.


Getting to the pool for lessons, or to attend the open swim, required us to walk there. I suppose it was only about a mile but, to my short legs, it was a long way. I don't recall ever getting a drive there although it likely happened, but had we driven all the time, we would have missed the spider on the sidewalk.


On the long walk to the pool, I was almost always accompanied by at least one of my brothers, we came across a trail of blood. Actually, my brothers had already discovered it and were really excited to bring it to my attention.


"You're not going to believe this." Mark said.


"Some kid," the ever present 'some kid', "had a bloody nose." Rob exclaimed


"See here?" Mark points to a blood spot, really just a dark mark on the sidewalk.


Since I was only four or five, a trail of blood, coupled with my brother's excitement, had me perplexed. I couldn't stop staring at the blood spots.


"Here." Rob said, we called him Robin in those days, "Right here. See that?" He pointed a finger with rapid thrusts of his arm. "See that thing right there?"


I looked at a black hump in one of the blood spots but didn't know what to say because I didn't know what it was.


"That's a spider."


I took a step back because I have no love of spiders. Then I realized it was dead and there is a fascination around dead things. I stepped forward and we all crouched down to get a look at the hapless spider.


It was really just a black hump in a dark stain, hardly recognizable as anything but I was intrigued. I don't recall how long we pondered that tiny corpse but soon enough we continued our journey to the pool.


On the trip home we stopped for a little more pondering. On every trip back to the pool, I always watched for that dead spider. It seems like even after the following winter, I could still see remnants of the spider but surely by that time it only existed in my mind.


Fifty years later during a nostalgic visit to the haunts of my childhood, I got out o my car to walk that infamous sidewalk, that concrete path of arachnid ghosts and, I swear to God, my child's eye could still see that dark stain with a small black blob in the middle.


Such is the power of my imagination. Did that spider, as it traipsed into the path of that random blood drip realize the legacy that its passing would pass on? I have forgotten the names and faces of friends I hung out with for years but I remember that tiny spider.



The author with all his brothers
Me (center back) with all my brothers

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