After an 8 hour drive in the pouring rain, we finally pull into the parking lot of our home for the next three days. It’s a 2-level motel. To the right, there are a group of people standing outside having a heated argument through a heavy cloud of cigarette smoke. To the left, a puddle the size of a small lake; this separates the front desk and the rest of the motel.
I look over at Bram, who doesn’t seem to notice any of this through his excitement to just be out of the car. “Coming in?” he asks with his usual cheeky grin. For a moment, I’m torn between going into the dimly lit office and waiting impatiently in line to check in or having a smoke outside and potentially attracting attention from the angry motel residents.
“Nah. I’ll take my chances with the locals.” I respond with a slight head tilt to the right. As he walks away, I spark my own cigarette and think…
I wonder how deep that puddle is and how long would it take for my shoes to dry if I walked through it.
This isn’t where I thought I would be at 34, the parking lot of a seedy motel at 11pm, smoking. Why am I smoking again?
Did I take my pills today?
Just as the thoughts started gaining momentum and my body began to feel heavy and sink inward…
“Hey babe. Ready to check out the room? Did you take your pills today?” he pipes up behind me. Soft concern in his words, like he knows exactly where I was headed.
I don’t know. I can never remember.
“Yup!” I respond to both questions “Let’s see what $60 a night gets you.”
The answer to that question is: Spiders.
There was a large colony (you heard me) of spiders living and working in the upper right corner of the door to our room. They also lined the spaces between the balcony railing. I send a silent prayer to Arachne, close my eyes and dart into the room.
Safe for now.
The room is quaint, but devoid of air flow. I drop my bag, quickly fiddle with the ancient looking air conditioner until it shudders to life, and then start undressing on my way to the bathroom.
Flick. The light goes on. “Oh for fucks sake” I mutter “There are no towels.” I begin to put my clothes back on and flop onto the bed next to Bram. “No towels, babe.” I respond to his questioning face. He gives an appropriate reply, stands up and starts toward the door. He’ll be back with towels.
As the door clicks shut behind him, I shut my eyes and sigh.
I smell. I feel sticky. I’m exhausted and hungry. Why are there no towels?
I don’t want to be here. I swear there were no spiders when I was in Bulgaria. Sheffield, yes, but not Bulgaria. I want to go where the spiders don’t go. I want to be where the people are… what’s that song?
Why does Bic have such a monopoly on lighters?
Are there bedbugs in this motel? Isn’t this where bedbugs COME from?
Did I take my pills today?
Click. The door opens and Bram triumphantly holds up a solitary towel. “The front desk couldn’t get us towels until tomorrow.” He explains in length, but I don’t hear it. I wait patiently for him to finish his story about how he expertly procured the one sad towel from another guest, just for me, so I could shower tonight before bed.
I respond appropriately at all the right points, thank him, and swiftly snatch the towel, proceed to the bathroom calling behind me “Can you please check the bed for bedbugs? It’s important.”
Flick. The light goes on.
Screech. The shower comes to life and I step in. Out of the corner of my eye I see a spider hanging out on the windowsill and make a mental note of its location.
17 spiders and counting.
Originally published at medium.com