Itch

When I was a little girl, maybe no more than five or six, I woke up in the morning with a spiderbite on one hip. Red and angry and wild, it flared to the size of my palm, disturbed by a youngster’s ill-fated attempts to obey the mandate of “Don’t touch it.”

Afraid I’d give myself some sort of skin-eating infection, my mother tried everything to get me to stop. She used calamine, benadryl, bandages, mittens, lotions, potions, punishments, bribes. No matter the admonishment, the reward for being good, the attempts at soothing, I would be found curled up, half-mad with itching, bitten fingernails scrabbling at once-pink skin turning a fierce red.

Finally, in frustration, she told me that the spider had probably lain eggs under my skin, and if I didn’t stop, they’d break open and spill hundreds of thousands of spiders, all over me, in me, through me.

You shouldn’t ever say things like that to an impressionable, overimaginative child.

It’s thirty years later and I can feel them squirming.

Thirty years, and I’ve got an itch to scratch.

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0 Responses to Itch

  1. Pat says:

    Why do parents say things like this to children?
    I can trace every hang-up I ever had to some throw away remark from my mother.
    For instance: I have migraine – had it from aged 9.
    My mother, bless her, told me that children don’t get headaches, so I couldn’t possibly have one. But I did have a headache, so I had to be weird at best, dying at worst.
    And even now a bad one leaves me believing it is that brain tumour finally coming to get me!

  2. Trent Lewin says:

    Gee, thanks a lot for my image. There’s a huge spider on my porch making webs.

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