I was stumbling home, oversized suitcase in tow on a night so heavily laden with fog that near-microscopic droplets of water had gathered on my glasses as I passed through the video game-like atmosphere. I pulled my suitcase up the two steps to the mini-sidewalk that led to my building’s front door when something caught my eye.
Green and yellow. Long and straight, with edges curled under, and stems sticking out from one end. A leaf, I thought, even as my foot swerved to avoid it.
I stopped pulling my bag. Had I really seen two stems on the end of the leaf?
I shifted so my shadow wouldn’t block the light from the front door and squatted down. Two stems, indeed. Two antenna, in fact.
I had never seen such a thing before. Curious, squatting on the damp walkway in front of my building, I watched it inch along.
“Are you okay?” asked a concerned couple as they came home.
I smiled. “Yeah. I just noticed this thing on the ground – it remind me of the giant snail I saw in Macau, but it doesn’t have a shell.” Only in retrospect can I fathom how strange I must have seemed.
“It looks like a slug,” said the man.
My response, wherein I was articulating the idea that perhaps I should move it before it gets stepped on, was overridden by the woman’s shriek of terror – at the slug itself, or at the idea of moving it, I’m not sure.
The couple left as I sat there thinking. I could leave it and let nature take its course. But then, if I knowingly leave it in a walkway, am I as good as killing it myself? Am I killing it intentionally, even?
I blocked the path as children came racing down the walkway. I frowned as the slug experienced a near-miss with a shoe.
If it was a cute creature, most people would feel compelled to help it. When it’s a slug, sensible women scream and run away.
I pulled the convention pass off my neck and scooped up the slug. I deposited it in the nearby grass. A child help the doors open for me as I pulled my luggage in the main door. What goes around comes around, perhaps.