These are the moments that age me.
The night started out as any other Haiti night: humid and pleasantly warm. Heavy rain drummed on the roof and porch of the lovely old house where I stay in Gros Morne. I had just emerged from the toilet cubicle and, without bothering to turn on the light, walked through the dark corridor to my bedroom. Another volunteer then walked into the same corridor, flipped on the light switch, and lurched backwards, yelling, “Tarantula!” Screams echoed off the walls.
There it was: a hunched, angular mass with impossibly hairy legs scuttling along the tile floor – exactly where I’d been walking a few seconds earlier. The monster was larger than my hand and considerably scarier. Our panicky shouts brought cavalry to the rescue. Hardier residents thwacked the dense black intruder with brooms and doused it with chemical spray. I cowered at a safe distance, afraid to look directly at the battle, but more afraid of not knowing which way the besieged tarantula might run.
Suddenly there was silence. Dust hung in the heavy air. The bravest among us scooped the corpse into a dustpan and tossed it into the garden but my drama wasn't over quite yet. Somewhere I’d read that tarantulas travel in pairs. Who knows if it’s true? Perhaps it’s an urban legend but just to be sure I spent several tense hours perched on the side of my bed, eyes scanning the floor til long past midnight...
Yes, such are the moments that age me. (I warned you not to look.)