In Which My Darkest Fears Are Played Upon

What Spider?

Kyle has been practicing for April Fool’s Day all week.

“Daddy,” he told me on Tuesday, “there’s a spider on your head!”

“Daddy,” he said on Wednesday, “there’s a spider on your head!”

“Daddy,” he informed me yesterday, “there’s a spider on your head!”

Every day, a spider on my head.

This morning I come downstairs and he’s playing in the living room. I’m expecting him to tell me I have a spider on my head.

He looks at me and says…nothing.

So now I’m wondering if his April Fool’s joke is to not tell me about the spider on my head. Did he just forget? Was the lead-in—a week of premature attempts to get me to freak out about nonexistent arachnids—actually a cunning setup? Is my five-year-old son playing mind games with me?

Surely not.

The trouble is, the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced there’s a spider on my head. I feel a faint tickling; the sensation of eight little legs scrabbling through my hair. It’s there…and then it’s gone…and then it’s there again. Something just brushed against my temple. I feel a definite presence on my forehead, just beneath the hairline.

I can’t check. Understand that if my hand so much as touches my hair or I look at a mirror, he wins. But as I sit here, there are phantom arachnids—please let them be figments of my overactive imagination—roaming over my scalp. And I wonder if maybe he hasn’t already won.