Cycling through the rain on my way home, I noticed a little snail in the middle of the road. When I picked her up, I noticed that her shell was broken. She had been hit and was in really bad shape. I put her in the palm of my hand and carried her home. I decided to make a small terrarium for her – with soil, moss and dead leaves from the forest nearby. I used a sea shell as a water basin and added a little paper parasol so she could hide under it. When I went to bed, I brought her with me and made room for her little sanctuary on the nightstand. Our lives synchronised for this moment in time.
The first two days she only slept, but on the third she started mending her broken house. It was fascinating to witness how she repaired the cracks, glueing it back together piece by piece. How delighted I was to see that she was on her way to recovery! I went to the market and got her some foods: Portobello mushroom and some lettuce. She didn’t like the shroom, but happily munched on the green leaves.
The next morning I didn’t see her anywhere. I panicked, as I hadn’t put a lid on the terrarium and feared that she had ventured into the vast unknown of my apartment. I searched for slimy trails on the floor, but there weren’t any leads. I searched the terrarium again and found her underneath the parasol, hanging from the ceiling.
Slowly she started to explore her surroundings, climbing over the edge of the container, her tentacles extended with curiosity. Later she returned to her favourite spot: curled up under the dry leaf. I added a lavender plant next to the shelter, for when she’d be well enough to be released in the garden. But she never made it that far.
Occasionally she still tried to rebuild her home, but it seemed a tremendous task that left her exhausted. She started sleeping more and more, and I no longer found teeth marks on the Romaine. I got worried, and read more books about snail care. Keep the sickbay humid, they said. But it was to no avail. She barely woke anymore and started shrinking. When she died, we buried her under the lavender vine. Our hearts broken.