With Halloween upon us, tell us about a time in your life when you were scared. Shaking, screaching, frozen, trembling, crying, sick-to-your-stomach, whatever scared. Maybe you were a child, maybe you were an adult, maybe it was a nightmare, maybe it was a job interview. Whatever. You've been scared before. Tell us!
I've always been afraid of bugs. I blame it on my evil brother, David. Many times when I was between the ages of 8 and 12, he'd stick crickets and june bugs down my shirt. I'd try and try to get them out, all the while feeling their sticky, scritchy-scratchy legs against my skin. But they always had those nasty little barbs on their legs which dug into the lace of my bra and the cotton of my t-shirt, and the only way to escape the scritchiness was to rip my shirt off and go running down the garden rows, flailing my arms in the air in both fear AND fury. He laughed his head off one spring day when I walked into a curtain of tiny green tree worms in the forest. Of course, I freaked out and went running out into the tall prairie grass, flapping my arms around, slapping my head to try to get the worms out of my hair. He didn't help me; he just roared. He'd throw spiders at me, he'd lie and tell me a spider was on my back, he'd capture Daddy Long-Legs by their spindly legs and chase me with them. He'd break their legs off and put them in my hair or down my shirt. I hated David during those years.
I was 17 in the summer of 1986 when I came, literally, face to face with my fear. We were camping in the Ozarks of Arkansas, on the shores of Bull Shoals Lake. Our rustic cabin was dusty and dark and full of spider webs. Mom swept it out, but even so, I was always careful to check between the sheets for spiders before climbing into bed at night.
One night, while the rain gently pounded the tin roof, I fell into an easy slumber. I began hearing my name far, far away. "Stacy," it whispered. "Staaaccccy. Sssssttttaaaaaaaaacyyyyy." It kept whispering, in a sweet, welcoming voice, slowly bringing me out of dreamland until I was aware again that I was in the cabin. My head was nestled comfortably in the billows of my down pillow. I was lying on my right cheek. I slowly opened my eyes, and there, sitting at the tip of my nose, was a blurry blob of.... LEGS!!! A daddy long-legs spider! SITTING ON MY PILLOW, at the tip of my nose!! In the very moment I saw it, my eyes bugged out of my head and my brother fell into gales of wicked laughter. I became hysterical, leaping in one bound out of my bed and across the room, crying and carrying on and threatening to maim him and MEANING EVERY WORD of it. Mom was furious with me for making such a racket. Meanwhile, as always happened with David, he flashed his stupid little grin at Mom and didn't get in trouble at all.
I coudn't sleep well after that. I didn't trust David. I didn't trust Mom to hold him accountable. And I surely didn't trust the spiders that were lurking in every shadow. I hated that vacation. To this day, spiders scare me. I know that a Daddy Long Legs can't bite me. I don't care. I'm scared to even stomp a spider. It's a silly fear, I realize that. It's irrational. I can't help it. When I was senior in high school, just 2 months after the Pillow Incident, I was bitten by a brown recluse. I never saw the spider, but during first period , my arm began to ache, and there was red streak climbing up my arm. The school nurse wouldn't let me drive myself to the hospital. Mom had to come and get me and take me to the emergency room, where they extracted the poison and told me what had bitten me. I still have the scar, which is about the size of a match head on the inside of my arm. Knowing that a spider had crawled on me and bitten me and I didn't even know it gave me the creeps. But I gotta say... waking up with a spider at the tip of my nose takes the cake. That's the most frightened I've ever been. And what's sad? I still get mad at David when I think about it. (And he'd probably still laugh, punk that he is.)