Tarantula Hawk | Miranda Brown

Eventually, you get used to the truth. Or you won’t. Maybe it will float about you like a slow parade or linger over your head like a perpetual cartoon raincloud. Some things are hard to understand. Some things are hard to hold onto. When you know the truth, you go for the opposite.

There’s a wasp called the tarantula hawk. It makes babies by paralyzing tarantulas and laying its eggs in their bodies. When the larvae hatch, they devour the still-living spider from the inside out.

Let me tell you how fucked up this really is.

It all started when I realized that my mother was a tarantula hawk that forgot to lay her eggs in a goddamned spider. Yeah. Really. My motherwasp wanted something to love. Something that would love her and be good and nice and happy. So she let me, her little larvaebaby, grow inside of her until I burst through her guts, ate my way out, ripped her right in two. Not really, obviously. She’s still a whole woman. Kind of.

I think when I came out of her, I took all of her happiness out with me. She tells me it’s been gone awhile, but I wonder. When I watched her paralyze herself on the couch with a 12-pack of beer; when I heard her cry and say “I hate my life” as she took her pills; when I felt her sad fill up an entire 3-story house. I wonder.

When I was 5 or 10, or maybe 8, I watched her sob harder than ever before. I looked at my father. He sat quietly like he was made of stone. My brother silently picked at his wrapping paper under a cloying Douglas fir. I hid in my bedroom under the blankets in what felt like the corner of the Earth. I wanted to be far away from the smell of beer and pine needles and hot tears. I couldn’t believe that someone could be so sad on Christmas morning.

I wonder if anyone else knows the feeling of their own skin being too tight on their body. I wanted to peel it off. I wanted to gnaw away the flesh that I knew was hers too.

I am my mother’s daughter.