I pulled into the driveway with the groceries and sat staring out the window.  I am 61 going on 62.  When I was 30, I could not imagine what it would be like to be 40. 

I am still as old and tired as I ever was.  What is the reason to go on?

Still I put my feet under me and get out of the car, leaning on the door and seat so as not to put too much weight on the left knee.  To get out of the car I have to really stand up.  It’s one of those small cars, low to the ground.  I feel the usual pains in my side, not serious, just there like old familiar companions.

The evening is cloudy and darkling like the edges of my soul.  The snow is melting and has lost its white purity, the flecks of mud and dirt showing everywhere.

I take the groceries into the house a few bags at a time, and a cough surges up reminding me I have lungs.

The groceries are put away, the meal eaten, the dishes cleaned.  What else is there?  I feel a heavy thick cloud descend on me and lie down.

I am on the bed, looking up at the ceiling light and see a small dark speck on the glass cover.  The speck is growing imperceptibly larger.

It is a spider descending, lowering itself on its thread like an action hero from the movies.  It is entirely quiet and there is no breeze to blow it off its course.

The spider is getting larger and I have this urge to move but feel the heaviness in all my limbs.  I cannot move.

I cannot seem to move my head either, or close my eyes and see the details of the furry, eight legged beast as it comes closer. 

I think, it’s just an ordinary spider, nothing to fear, and yet, I keep trying to move my face out of its way but my neck is affected by the heavy molasses lassitude that permeates my body and my head seems to weigh as much as iron.  It will not move.

I manage to turn it slightly to the side but I can see the spider now coming almost to a distance of arms length and I want to swing my hands together and squash it but my arms are like the rest of me and do not respond. 

I call out.   Just kill it!  Just kill it!  Just stop it from landing on my face!

I am full of panic.  I tell myself it’s just a spider, nothing to fear, it’s just part of nature, just part of the natural course of things.  And yet I can almost feel its furry little feet on my brow, where it will scurry down my cheek and (my god no!) crawl underneath my collar and under my shirt.

Just kill it!  Just kill it!  And I feel a touch upon my cheek and open up my heavy lids and see my wife who says, “why are you calling out in your sleep?”

Sleep?  I see her take the glasses off my face and place them on the table at the end of the couch on which I am lying.

How did I get here?  I close my eyes and dream of a conversation with my wife as I lie sweating on the couch.

Later, I get up and go downstairs to find her watching TV.

Did you speak to me just now?  Did we have a conversation?

She is staring at the TV screen, and casually turns her face to me, that familiar face, and smiles.

You were crying out, moaning and groaning. 

But did you speak to me?

She looks at the TV and smiles, enigmatic as a cat who has just swallowed a spider.