The first time we killed spiders together we thought we were alone. We were riding the 11 bus from downtown to the valley. I sat at the front of the bus in benches meant for older people or those with canes and legs in plaster. My surroundings were lost as I starred transfixed on a small spider making its way from under the bench just a few inches to the outside of my left shoe. Maybe transfixed is a poor word: I was alone with that spider. I pushed my weight into my heel, lifted my toe, and pivoted my shoe so that a treaded ceiling loomed over those 8 spindly legs. The muscles around my ankle twitched as I waited a second before slapping my toes down. Each of my toes was a tuning fork struck by the crunch they felt below them. A crunch that blossomed and rose into a moment where all was definitive and I sat perfectly alone. A crunch that I realized was echoed about 3 feet away from me, where on the opposite bench I became aware of a pair of Hunter boots. One toe pointed straight ahead, the other askew, matching the angle of my marauding foot. Above the boot line peaked accents of bright argyle socks all belonging to a woman whose face had thoughts like mine, a face revealing a moment thought perfectly alone. We locked eyes and both slowly lifter our shoe to reveal to each other the small world that we shared with no one.
This is how I met Whitney.
On our first date we went to a restaurant that occupied a basement of an older brick building. We drifted through most of the dinner, swimming along in the eddies of waiters walking by, and the swells of a maitre d' fiddling with the lighting. It was a background to a small moment, a prologue to the beginning of some story, until the moment where Whitney's eyes fell to the wall spotting a small spider following the masonry lines and my eyes cast downward to what looked like a black bean erratically crossing the floor. The sound of her hand on the wall and my foot on the floor almost sounded like a small symphony; rising tones and a violin trying to create innuendo. But if you could pause the moment and zoom in to those sound waves erupting like so many kids running towards summer, you'd see that they never mixed and dissolved, only touched and moved on. One was the conjugal visit to the other.
We killed spiders often. Over drinks. In the park. As we laid in bed listening to the neighbors tree tap the side of the house.
The last time I saw Whitney was on the front porch of a house we rented for a weekend in order to get out of the city. My hands were limp at my side and I was out of words. She pressed her cheek onto her shoulder, her body trying to be small and warm at the same time. Her eyes swallowed up the deck; dark clouds with too much time. She slowly turned and walked towards the stairs. Her exit was swift, except for the one quick step she took out of tempo.
The sound was small and brutal.