I’m having these constant dreams where a tarantula keeps crawling from her vagina while we’re in the act of fucking. With big, thick legs, and a million tiny hairs that stand on end, they tickle my tongue unexpectedly as it glides across her sex. There has to be some meaning to it- probably something to do with a fear of women. I don’t fear women, I don’t think so, anyway, but I do fear losing my sense of identity in another relationship where I’m expected to play by the rules. Whatever it is, at the same time every night, I wake with shortened breath just at the point where it crawls inside my mouth. Leaping out of bed, sweat pours from me to the extent where it feels like I’ve taken a shower without drying off afterwards. Unable to sleep again, in part because of the horrors still flickering in my mind, and also because the bedsheets are soaking wet, I go downstairs and have a cigarette in the kitchen. Stood there in the dark, there are no sounds save for my breathing patterns. It’s unsettling, but as soon as I have something to drink, it fades away. Insomnia. Amnesia. Counting each and every one of her pubic hairs from memory, the taste of her body is almost overwhelming. It’s like pancakes washed down with cherryade or those old chewy bars they gave away with copies of the Beano. Sweet and delicious, but somehow not quite natural. Maybe that’s where the tarantula comes in. Maybe my subconscious is trying to warn me about her because my defences aren’t up to the job. I’m too suspicious for my own good, but as a failed painter/ would be writer, I’ve learned never to take anything for granted. This is the cycle I’m stuck in, and as frustrating as it is, part of me never wants it to stop, because conflict is what I crave most.