I know the spider can’t be greatful to me. Gratefulness is a human emotion, as far as I can tell. I wouldn’t want gratitude. I want the spider to be a spider.
She tickled me. That was how I noticed her, me sipping coffee in the mall, she crawling through the forest of the tiny blond hairs on my arm. I watched her for a bit, making her way, an awkward lean to her spinnerling gait. She was missing a front leg.
I don’t like pity. Pity implies power. Condescension. Her cousins could kill me. She? She was too much like me when I was injured, limping along, but still present in her moment. I’d known successful spiders less a leg, so I carried her from the table in the mall food court to the door, and let her drop on her rappelling silk to the white railing, where she steadied herself as I pulled my anchoring arm away.
She was smaller than a freckle. I felt like her equal in the face of the universe, and really, there isn’t much difference between the two of us. So much shared DNA on this planet. We are both about the same size in comparison to a star.
After? I feel grateful. I am a human, after all, and it was a moment shared.