My mouth is dry unlike the weather – rain hammers onto my hood – flows off – there’s a waterfall in front of my face as I fast walk from where I’ve been. Angling my head to avoid the water brings brown strings of flesh scattered across the cement to my attention: worms, too many to count, all on their way like me.
I cross the street out of respect but this is a city with landscaping, soil everywhere, on this side some writhe but most are still, from the right angle the worms are laid out like the agility training course from my year as a college hockey player. 40 grand to fail to memorize the coach’s instructions; athletes thrive through reaction, rhythm, a feel for the game that as a thinker I could recognize but never truly emulate.
The shadows are thick enough to remove accountability from my steps, still I move to the street – walk until headlights beep – back on the sidewalk I try to focus on the rain but it’s just a drizzle now – I know the way home by heart – no distractions –
Why do I care so much about these worms? My steps cut them in half – aren’t they supposed to grow back when split? Maybe I’m helping but the truth is further away than this puddle in my path – I hop over onto a concrete island in a raindrop canal – three people with somewhere to be splash past me – one of them gloated about a five-hundred-dollar check coming on the first and the other two listened like it was their Sunday.
The voices are gone but the effects of their presence are forever – all the worms in the direction they’d come are paste – they’d walked across every inch of the sidewalk for no reason and would continue to do so – the ones I’d missed on the way in didn’t stand a chance.
What is it about rain that makes worms commit suicide? They don’t eat cement.