For the last five days, Kal has been struggling to save a brown spider in her bathroom. Kal didn’t want to kill him. Mo would have killed him.
On some mornings, spiderman clung to the white wall, way above her head, over the mirror, like a symmetrical unfilled rangoli on Diwali morning—all legs out, each one perfectly prone on the white as if one leg whispered to the other, psst, out at sixteenth inch, buddy, and hold, coz Indian beauty’s comin’ in again. On some evenings, spiderman hung on edge, where wall met doorframe, three legs on frame, five on wall; on such days he looked like the real Spiderman, Tobey Macguire, dangling at the edge of the Flatiron building. This morning, however, he was on the floor sometimes with two legs stuck out in a Miley Cyrus routine, and at other times, curled up into a ball pretending to be a pigeon pea.
Fifteen minutes ago, Kal tore open a large white window envelope that had arrived in the mail with papers meant for recycling. She left it open by spiderman. He waited outside the white paper tunnel looking at thebathroom world from his globe. She waited. He waited. Her tea was turning cold but she waited. He waited. She waited. Then, in the flash of a second, when he wasn’t looking through his balled mess, Kal pushed the flap of the envelope under his pea bottom and he rolled in.
Out in the yard she held the envelope against the sun. She, a brown woman on the outer rim of her youth, glad to have saved him, and he, a brown spider on the outer rim of an envelope, giddy and faint over his next reality. Then she shook him out, every part of him, all of his peeing self, on the paving stones by the lawn. She ran back in.
When Kal looked back, he was gone. And on the face of the envelope which she glanced at for the very first time, the words "Liberty Mutual Insurance."