I am just a little snail. I have no one to talk to, so I will write down my story alone. I have a shell to live in and protect me from those who will hurt me. My shell is strong and hard and fitted exactly right to me. There are so many evil beings, if I am not eaten I will surely be maimed carelessly by the monsters outside. That's why I have never left my shell. For I am just a little snail and I have only it to talk to.
Yesterday, I saw two snails out of their shells. How naive, putting their lives in danger for a few moments of dance and a game of tag. I have never danced or played tag, but I am sure I would not be much good at them. Besides, the risk is much too great to leave my shell. For I am just a little snail.
Fortunately, I have learned to accept my disposition. Although every once in a while, I see a snail out of its shell running and laughing with the others smiling and touching; my heart heats with envy and aches to run free, to feel the cool breeze softly run across my bare back, to roll my toughened belly in the sand, to feel the warmth of another snail's hand in mine. But I have never left my shell, for my life depends on it. I think that perhaps I would not be much good at these things, and that perhaps, they would not be much good to me, for they are just dreams and the risk is too great to see if they might be real. Besides my shell is so strong and safe, and I am just a little snail.
Even if I were to come out -- only for a second -- who would be there to hold my hand? I am certain the fear would break me -- if I were alone without my shell. My shell is so strong and safe, there is no reason to leave it. That kind of fun is not for me. I have my dreams. Dreams aren't meant to come true. That's all I know -- the security of my shell, my dreams, and the fear of being out of my shell. Often I forget all about leaving my shell, so I know no fear at all.
Well that's my story. I know it is short, but I have no one to talk to, so I seldom think at all. For I am just a little snail.
The sand! The golden sand! The millions of sun-tanned crystals! Look at me! I am bathing in the earth, I've never felt the texture of the sand, I've never heard the wind whisper across my bare back, and buzz in my ears. Everything is so bright, the colors are so rich, the sand is so very gold! The sea is so loud, so blue, so deep, so much like the wind. Why have I never left my shell before?
Laying unclothed, unsheltered, and un-afraid, my hands are far from my eyes, far from my ears, but not so far from the stars. The sun is white and the sky engulfs me. I can't see the stars, but I can feel them in my hands. They are as warm as the sand. The ocean sees me on its shore, every once in a while he extends himself and touches me, waving his cool waters across my reviving body, welcoming me as if I've come back from the dead. I never knew the oceans would be happy to meet me. I never knew.
Why have I never left my shell? Never mind what people say -- there is no ocean in a shell. There are no sounds, only echoes. There is no light, only shadows. There is no sweetness, only aftertaste, only dust, only hardness. The world is much too beautiful to fit inside a shell. I never knew I would fall in love with the world. I never knew it would be happy to meet me. I never thought.
I never thought that there could be so much on the outside. It was so safe inside. I had no reason to leave, because I never knew. I never knew worth. Yet, it was so very safe inside my shell. And I knew no fear. And it is getting dark. The clouds have masked the sun. The sand is cooling to gray. I can hear the ocean creeping under the darkening sky, stalking me.
I am naked! I am alone! My God! The creatures I can't see! I am bare! I am shivering! MY SHELL! MY SHELL!
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:
"Very touching. I think this book is the best book ever to me." Carissa, 5th-grader.
"I really do relate to the snail and that story kind of helped me see what I'm going through in a different light." Alice, College Student
"Amusing and Poetic" Maria, 40-something
"For every character in the book -- you know somebody just like that." Rene, Chef
Copyright © Ross Anthony Last Modified: Thursday, 24-Oct-2013 22:00:10 PDT