The morning after getting back from Koh Lanta, I sat on the toilet, bleary eyed and slouched on the seat. I was tired and squinty, but I could perceive the tiniest flicker of motion dancing on the edge of my perspective. I knew what the movement was before I even looked up, but kept my head firmly down, gazing at my knees with a ferocious intensity while the hairs on my neck reached toward the ceiling with nervous electricity. I wasn’t alone in this room.
The bathroom transformed in that instant from a safe, quiet room where I had absolute privacy and silence to sit, to a cage. Clamped shut with a ramshackle corrugated iron door, the opening sound of which would shake anything out of the walls. Now an enormous spider the size of a fucking dinner plate was clinging to the wall by the exit, herding me in. It was a wolf spider, I recognized the brown colour and, slim hairy legs. I paused for a moment, I knew that this is not a poisonous species, but felt the sense of fear nonetheless. After a split second’s pause I leapt up, “Fuuuuuaaaaacckk!!!” I yelled, ramming the door open, hauling my pants up and and rushing past the massive arachnid in one single movement, hurling myself at the wall in my rush to get out. I turned around and looked back to see the animal down on the ground next to the door. I think it was grinning. This fear is not grounded in anything, even in the moment I noticed it, I knew it wasn’t poisonous, but I was still afraid of it. This is still surprising to me, I’m afraid of cockroaches and big spiders, even though they aren’t dangerous, mostly. Snakes don’t bother me at all, and I like other insects, but these cockroaches and big spiders scare the living shit out of me, so it was helpful that I saw this leggy thing while I was already on the toilet.