Mentor Hornworm

 

Ditching a dreary work as usual, when I was having a smoke as usual at the usual place out of the office, I found a hornworm on the wooden bench surrounding the shrubbery beside the stand ashtray, heading for the bench’s rim slowly and slowly at incredibly low speed about 5 centimeters per minute. He is not so large, but a wonderful hornworm with a splendid horn on the butt.

 

A man who was about to sit on the bench looked a bit surprised with him and left there in a hasty manner. With being afraid a bit if someone would sit on him without noticing, I threw a cigarette end in the ashtray and left the place.

 

About an hour later, escaping from a stultifying work again, when I came to the same place to have a smoke, the hornworm had come down to the tile-floored-terrace around the bench’s feet, he’s still advancing slowly at terrifically low speed. Still worrying a bit about whether someone would trample him, I stubbed out the cigarettes on the edge of the ashtray and left the place.

 

After about two hours more, as I dragged my mind and body torn up by work, when I came to smoke, I found the hornworm had been going away slowly and slowly on the point about 8 meters apart from the earlier place, straight towards the dead end of the terrace. That was a large terrace encrusted with tiles, with no tree, grass and soil in his direction. This must dry him up to die or feed crows with him. On the other hand, to get him back in the shrubbery where he likely had been earlier might kill him with insecticide sprinkled in large quantities.

I thought for a while, confirmed that no one was looking at me, walked close to him, picked him up in my handkerchief and tossed him who’s struggling onto a leave in the area where weeds growing thicker. He was restive for a while, but he disappeared soon. “You will survive strongly too” said I, feeling like I did something a little bit good, smoked two cigarettes with a sternly handsome look on my face, left the place behind.

 

After an hour more, I came to the place to smoke and looked into the weeds, but I couldn’t see him any more. “You’ve found your last home haven’t you ? Good luck.” said I with a little relieved, tried to light a cigarette, lifted my eyes intentionally, I was shocked to have found him proceeding on the exactly same place as before, at the same slowest pace, but still straight in the same direction as before.

 

I couldn’t believe it so that could do nothing but just looking at him with forgetting to even light the cigarette, he unexpectedly stopped moving, raised his upper body with a jerk, turned around slowly towards me, and said to me like this in a low voice.

 

“It’s in vain to try becoming a good person not in your usual way. After all what you do is all full of wrong things. You change the destiny of others ? Thing has limits to be laughable.”

 

After having said so, he looked forward again, slowly and slowly, as if being guided by something strong instinct, began to go straight on the terrace where the golden sunset was approaching.

 

In my palm, only his unexpectedly powerful elasticity that I felt when he struggled in the handkerchief remained.

 

I wonder where the mentor is now and what he is doing.

 

 

味気ない仕事をサボり、いつものようにいつもの屋外テラスの喫煙所でタバコを吸ってると、吸殻入れの側の、植え込みを円く囲む木製のベンチの上に、一匹のいも虫君がいて、分速5センチ位のおそろしくのろい速度で、ゆっくり、ゆっくり、ベンチのへりに向かって進んでいるのに気づいた。少し小振りで、でもお尻に立派な角のある、立派ないも虫君だ。

 

ベンチに座ろうとした人が、ちょっと驚いた顔でいも虫君を見て、そそくさと立ち去る。私は、気づかずに誰かが座ってつぶしてしまわないか、ちょっと心配しながら、吸い終わったタバコを吸殻入れに投げ込んで、その場を去った。

 

一時間ほどして、砂を噛むような仕事を逃れ、タバコを吸いに同じ場所に来てみると、さっきのいも虫君が、ベンチの足元のタイル張りのところまで降りていて、やはり恐ろしくのろい速度で、ゆっくり、ゆっくり、進んでいた。私は、やはり誰かが踏んづけてしまわないか、ちょっと心配しながら、吸い終わったタバコを、吸殻入れのへりでもみ消して、その場を去った。

 

更に二時間ほどして、仕事でぼろぼろになった心と体をひきずるように、タバコを吸いに来てみると、さっきのいも虫君が、さっきの場所から8メートルくらい先を、ゆっくり、ゆっくり、行き止まりに向かってまっすぐ遠ざかっていた。あたりは一面タイル張りの広いテラスで、彼の行く手には木も草も土も無い。このままでは、干からびて死ぬか、カラスの餌になるのがオチだ。かと言って、元いたであろう植え込みの中に戻しても、山のように撒布された殺虫剤で死ぬかもしれない。

 

私はしばらく考えて、人が見ていないのを確認し、彼に歩み寄って、ハンカチで彼をひょいとつまみ上げ、暴れる彼を、もっと奥の生い茂った植え込みの葉っぱ目掛けて、ぽんと投げ落とした。彼はしばらく暴れていたが、すぐに姿が見えなくなった。私は、「お前も強く生き抜くんだぞ」と言いながら、ちょっとだけいい事をしたような気がして、苦みばしった顔でタバコを二本吸い、その場を後にした。

 

さらに一時間後、タバコを吸いに来て、植え込みの中を覗いてみたが、彼の姿は見当たらない。終の住処を見つけたか、頑張れよ、と、少しほっとしながら、タバコに火をつけようとして、ふと視線を上げると、なんとあのいも虫君が、さっきとまったく同じ場所を、ゆっくり、ゆっくり、でもまっすぐに、さっきと同じ方角へ進んでいるではないか。

 

信じられない思いで、タバコに火をつけるのも忘れ、呆然と彼を見ていると、彼は不意に動きを止め、ぐぐっと上半身をもたげ、ゆっくりとこちらを振り向いて、私に向かって、低い声でこう言った。

 

「急にいい人になろうったって、駄目さ。どうせお前のやる事なす事、全部間違いだらけなのさ。他人の運命を変えようなんて、おこがましいにも程がある」

 

そう言うと彼は、再び前を向き、ゆっくり、ゆっくり、何か強い本能に導かれるかのように、金色の夕闇が迫るテラスの上を、まっすぐ進み始めた。

 

私の手のひらに、ハンカチの中で暴れていた彼の、思いがけなく力強い、弾力だけが残った。

 

先生は今、どこで何をしているのだろう。

Follow me!

Leave a Reply