Spider

Victor notices the spider’s web swaying gently in the space between the rearview mirror and the body of the car. It is the eighth time in a month that he has encountered the same surprise, but it is the first time that Lucia notices it. An unimportant detail for her, who passes her hand without hesitation and removes the spider’s web at once.

– Don’t tell me, there’s a spider living in the car.

– Yes, there is. I think so at least.

– You think so?

– Yes, I think so. I remember one day I was driving back to the apartment when I saw a spider walking along the edge of the window. I slowed down to help it, so it wouldn’t fall out. It went through a gap in the door and I never saw it again, then these spider webs started appearing.

– You have to fill the inside of the car with insecticide and that’s it, it’s over.

Victor smiles without saying another word and gets into the car, Lucia does the same. The car leaves.

– Where did you say we were going? she asks.

– I didn’t say where we were going.

Victor keeps his gaze on the horizon that stretches vast and imperishable in front of his eyes. A couple walks down the left side of the street. Victor looks at them and sighs, he wonders if all couples are like Lucia and him, deep down he hopes this is not the case.

– Well, so, are you going to tell me or do I have to guess? Lucía continues.

– You know, spiders are not insects.

– So?

– You know that, right?

– Okay, spiders are not insects. Where are we going?

– You would think that an insecticide is designed to kill insects, but no… it’s just poison. It’s for killing and nothing else.

– Victor, I hate it when you do that, are you going to answer the question?

– No, I’m not.

The red light of the traffic light forces Victor to stop at an uncomfortable point in the conversation, experience indicates that refusing to answer a question can involve more time spent in circular conversations. Before Lucia can get another word in edgewise, he hurries to turn on the radio.

“Breaking news; the search for little Pedro, who disappeared almost a month ago in the outskirts of the city, will end tonight, when police officers conclude their efforts to find him.”

“The young boy’s mother wasted no time in giving statements about the disappointment caused by this decision.”

– “He is my son, I need to find him, do you understand me? I can’t continue my life if I don’t know what happened to him”.

– Dude, can I clean your windshield?

A homeless man approaches Victor’s window, waving his hands at the windshield marked by a series of dust and dirt smudges. The truth is that it’s been days since Victor has washed the car, made the bed, and a thousand other tasks that are still pending in his mind.

– Okay my friend, thank you.

– Don’t say yes, Victor, don’t you know? He’s going to spend the money on alcohol and drugs.

Lucia intervenes in the conversation with her classic angry tone that makes Victor’s stomach boil. The homeless man also listens to Lucia’s words, although he prefers not to react, perhaps because the promise of a few coins is enough to silence the voice of his pride.

– He is like you then. Victor responds after the initial seconds of discomfort.

– What did you say?

Victor bursts out laughing and the homeless man follows soon after. Thirty seconds remain until the light changes at the traffic light, enough time to make a new friend. The homeless man’s arm passes swiftly across the surface of the windshield, in a short time the glass returns to immaculate transparency.

– It is impeccable, here and thanks for the help.

Victor hands the coins to the homeless man.

– Thank you sir and God bless you.

– “God bless me…”

The phrase echoes in Victor’s mind as the green light returns to the traffic light. The car leaves once again, the sun’s rays escape from the side of a building and go to rest on the tops of the leafy trees that stand over the concrete walls of the metropolitan park, Victor smiles.

– Are you still laughing? Are you okay with ridiculing me in front of strangers?

Victor does not answer, he is not sure of his answer, the first thing that comes to his mind is to answer that yes, it is okay to ridicule Lucia in front of strangers. But at the same time, he realizes about the anger that slowly takes over his conscience, he prefers to keep silent. The light in the skies is lost between two large bodies of gray clouds, the day is tinged with pale blues and greens, with staggered grays. Victor steps on the accelerator as if trying to escape the growing melancholy that surpasses even rage, which at least demands some kind of affective bonding, that he felt before and that now is diluted among imaginary tears.

– Lucia listen, I’m not sure about this, but I think all the sentences you’ve said since we left the apartment have been questions.

– What does that have to do with it?

– I’m not sure.

– Can you slow down?

– Yes, but I don’t want to.

Another hint of anger escapes unconsciously and leads Victor to press the accelerator harder, even before he looks ahead, towards the next traffic light that is already yellow. The space left is not enough to stop, Victor continues the race and passes the next intersection accompanied by the incipient red light, together with the trumpeting of the horn of other vehicles.

– I want to go back to the house Victor, I don’t want to be here anymore.

– You are always here.

– Do you want to tell me something?

The sound of the police beacon interrupts the conversation, the flashing reddish beam pierces the interior of Victor’s vehicle, who prefers to stop at the side of the street before trying any alternative escape.

– What I really want is to escape the conversation.

Victor looks back in the rearview mirror, expecting to see the policeman, but in reality he stares at the traces of the spider’s web in the space between the mirror and the body of the car. He wonders about the spider, will it be sad after losing its precious web? The policeman also arrives at his side.

– Good afternoon, sir. Your driver’s license, please.

Victor takes the wallet and checks inside for the driver’s license. In the process he tries not to fix his attention on the mocking face that Lucia is surely making. He doesn’t succeed.

– God has blessed me…

– I beg your pardon? The policeman replies.

– Yes? Ah, no nothing. I was talking to myself. Here’s the license.

– Do you know how fast you were going?

– What are you asking me for? I guess you know. You’d better tell me how fast I was going.

– But I want to know if you know how fast you were going.

– I see, you’re not sure. Well look, I think I was going right at 60 miles per hour. Now, I recently saw a sign that said the maximum speed was infact 60 miles per hour. So I guess we’re good, right?

– The policeman takes a step back and scratches his head, it takes him a while to process the information, when he’s done he returns to the window.

– I guess so, all ok with the license. Have a nice day, sir.

The policeman returns the license to Victor and walks back to the police car, leaving the scene shortly after. Victor breathes a sigh of relief, turns the key to start the engine and prepares to resume driving.

– I don’t understand, what happened? – Lucia asks with an air of annoyance.

– Nothing, nothing happened.

– But you went through the intersection with a red light, you committed an infraction.

– Strange, I don’t feel like I committed anything.

The next song on the radio ends and the urgent news announcement returns.

“Breaking news, a stunning turnaround in the case of little Peter, as we had commented earlier, the police were about to call off the search for the boy, but now it has been confirmed that little Peter has been found by talent scouts in Hollywood, he has signed a million dollar contract to star in a new movie franchise. We have his shocking statements.”

– “Hello everyone, I’m fine. I’m here to fulfill my dream. To all of you who are looking for me I say, forget me, because we’re not going to see each other again.”

– What a nasty little boy. And so many people had been worried about him.

Lucia grumbles in front of the radio and then changes the dial, stops at another station.

“And God said to Moses; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” ….

– What is that? Victor asks.

– That is the bible, dumbass. You’ve never heard it before?

– No, it’s not that, it’s something else. It’s something that’s talking about what happens.

– What are you talking about?

– It knows what is going to happen.

– Cut it out Victor! I’ve had enough of you. You wouldn’t tell me where we’re going, you’re laughing at me and now you’re talking weird. What the fuck is wrong with you?

Victor is paralyzed, he keeps his eyes on the street but prefers not to make any false moves, he assumes that his life depends on it.

– Are you going to answer me?

– The spider… Victor answers almost without moving his lips.

– What spider?

– The spider is in my head…

The spider walks hurriedly over Victor’s head, moving from one side to the other without deciding which way to go, planted in the infinite center of a circle. Unexpectedly, the spider takes the lower path and now advances on Victor’s neck, who instinctively moves to protect his life, letting go of the steering wheel and losing control of the car. A new intersection is coming up and this time Victor does not even manage to see it, nor does he manage to press the brake pedal before receiving the impact on the right side. The car spins three or four times in the air before stopping in the middle of the street, Victor opens his eyes and finds the asphalt next to the window, the car is lying on its left side.

– Lucia… Lucia, are you okay? I’m sorry, I didn’t see…

Lucia is not inside the car. The sunlight shines through the gaps in the thick clouds and partially illuminates the long and little-traveled street, some people approach from a distance and murmur words that cannot be understood. Victor looks at the window frame of the windshield, the spider walks along the edge and goes back through the gap into the interior.

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