Feeling fresh after my trip to the States, hair blown out, suitcase filled with Whole Foods vitamins, new books and Christmas decorations, I let my guard down when I reached the barrio from the airport. I threw my bags down, forgetting to check for errant scorpions or anything else with legs. Within a few hours, the ladies of the barrio had convened on my neighbor Denise’s stoop for my welcome home shindig. Relaxed and glowing after a few glasses of wine, Lisa and I were laughing about something when I felt my thigh muscles flex like an Olympic champion as I leaped from the stoop, screaming to high heaven. I’ll never forget that gigantic tarantula under Lisa’s chair, heading my way faster than I knew eight legs could carry you. All I know is that Denise was hysterically laughing at me — from the chair she’d jumped onto — and there was a guy who’d been on Skype with Denise who was guffawing with amazing force. Then there was brave Lisa getting up in the face of this hairy spider, who was now hopping up and down to my absolute horror, to take this tarantula photo.
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